Archive for July 1st, 2007


Does Terrorism Have A “Root Cause”?

July 1, 2007

Well, I get back from vacation to see the news this week coming out of the UK, and I felt compelled to put a post up after spotting this thread on LGF:  UK Jihad Doctors

Many of the LGFers pointed out that this kinda shoots a hole in Edward’s plan to fight terrorism (from his website):

As president, Edwards will put America on an offensive footing against those who would harm us. First, Edwards will strengthen our military to better address the threat posed by terrorist groups to the United States. Second, he recognizes what our military commanders have made clear military action is only one of the tools we have to stop terrorism; we have to supplant the lure of violent extremism with the hope of education, opportunity, and prosperity.

After all, if the jihadis in the UK were well paid doctors, so what else would it take to “supplant the lure of violent extremism” in this case?  Many people will also point out that Mohamed Atta (the purported leader of the 9/11 hijackers) was well educated.  Bin Laden himself was prosperous.  What would it take?

Bush, on the other side of the aisle, has long used the talking point that our presence in Iraq is justified as a means for fighting terrorism because the spreading of freedom and liberty will defeat the “hateful ideology”.  It’s a line that actually isn’t too far divorced from Edwards’ (although his doesn’t involve invading countries), as long as you assume that ‘freedom’ provides hope of education, opportunity, and prosperity.

But if there is an emerging problem in the UK (as evidenced by the past weeks events and those of a year ago), and the main perpetrators were already living in a free nation, how can one assume that bringing democracy to Middle Eastern countries like Iraq will ‘defeat’ this ideology?

One thing seems to be certain.  We’ve received plenty of empty rhetoric from our politicians about terrorism.  I haven’t really stumbled across any that make much sense on this issue. 

So what is the root problem?  If you ask many of the LGFers, they’d say that most of the politicians and the media are ignoring the big elephant in the room: Islam.  Of course, the big monkey wrench in that theory has long been the incident involving Tim McVeigh, which still ranks as the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the history of the US.  McVeigh was not Muslim.  In fact, many acts of terrorism over the years and all over the world have had nothing to do with Islam.

So what is it?  What causes it?  What or who should we be afraid of?  And how do you stop them?  Can you stop them?  Can the threat ever be eliminated? Could it be that the ‘root cause’ of terrorism is more complex? Or, is there a ‘root cause’ at all, beyond hate, anger, and a passion for vengeance?

Sorry if this post appears to be more of a rant than making any specific point.  I guess if this post does have a point, it is that everyone thinks they understand terrorism, while I think that the debate hasn’t really even begun on it even while we’re supposedly fighting a ‘war’ against it. The politics of the day are focused on who is ‘tough’ and ‘weak’ on terrorism, and I’m still not sure exactly what that means.