You might find this shocking but I must say I have a lot of time for a lot of ‘terrorists’.
Nelson Mandela, after all, was a ‘terrorist’ (and by the way was responsible for the deaths of many civilians). The reason I have time for a lot of them is that many of them, like Mandela, are effectively freedom fighters.
I have time for people who in certain circumstances commit violent acts for a just cause, in order to secure a better state of affairs. (I’m sure there’s a lesson here that even the most shocking statements once explained make for mostly benign, and unfortunately anti-climactic, reading)
On the other hand I have no patience for those that commit acts of violence for no rational reason – all the more so because there is no way to placate someone with an irrationally held belief!
Those that have a rational cause for violence can be reasoned with, those that have no rational cause for violence, well… can only really be killed. It’s that simple, no matter what the politically correct liberal part of your brain might be gelatinously quivering.
Basically there is rational and irrational violence and we need to distinguish between the two to deal properly with terrorism.
When it comes to Islamic terrorism I do not believe it is purely motivated by irrational religious fundamentalism. I don’t believe they attack us simply because they ‘hate our freedom’.
You’d probably agree that when people fight, they usually fight for something – something real and something tangible. In my opinion we must always approach enemies with this presumption in mind, as it forces us to attempt to realise their reasons for violence, instead of automatically branding them as irrational psychotic monsters – an error made all too often.
While it is true that Islamic terrorism is motivated in part by an irrational Islamic fundamentalism, like any mythical narrative it is most potent and successful when it is able to point out actual manifestations consistent with its story of the West oppressing or harming Muslims and Islam.
Any fiction is made infinitely more real where a few tangible manifestations of the said fiction can be pointed out. For example when you were a child the stories of Santa Claus became very much more believable when you woke up in the morning to only the crumbs on the plate and the empty glass that once contained milk.
For Islamic Fundamentalism things like the Wests consistent support for Israel is the milk and cookies of their otherwise irrational narrative.
The West needs to look at the milk and cookies in order to fully strip the fundamentalist narrative of any legitimacy. In other words if Islamic terrorists have rational concerns and grievances they are fighting for, I believe the West needs to determine what they are and address such grievances to the best of our ability.
I think that’s fair, I think it’s our moral obligation and I think it’s a practical necessity if we want to avoid being the targets of terrorism. And here’s another shocker: when someone attacks us in reaction to our harmful actions which we refuse to stop, I believe such an attack on us is justified. (Now both the politically correct liberal part of your brain and the part responsible for self-preservation might be gelatinously quivering!)
But for those who fight for no rational reason that the West could even begin to address, no tangible goal, I have no sympathy whatsoever. For example, for those that fight for a global kalifate or the extermination or conversion of all non-Muslims I have no sympathy.
What do we do with people who kill for no sensible rational reason? We kill them harder and faster than they kill us.
What do we do with people who kill us for a sensible rational reason? We have a moral obligation to address their concerns where they are legitimate or justifiably become the targets of their violence.
Harsh, very harsh, but fair.