Monday, August 01, 2005

Separate realities: the view of terrorists.

Why do terrorists do what they do? Here is one view:
It would continue because it is a sickness incubated within Arab/ Islamic culture, a toxic combination of repression, corruption, intolerance and fanaticism, fed by tyrannical regimes eager to deflect popular anger from themselves onto the American infidel. Until that political culture changes fundamentally, jihadism will thrive.
Paraphrased, terrorism is part of who they are. It has nothing to do with us in this view. They're lunatics who'd find a reason to do what they do regardless of the situation.

On the other hand, maybe they're ticked off about something. Someone studied suicide bombings and concluded that they're usually in response to a foreign occupier of another religion. How good a conclusion you can draw from only suicide bombings vs. the larger body of terrorist actions, I don't know.

To over oversimplify, this is a nature vs. nurture argument.

I suspect both are true to some extent. There are terrorists who'd just blow people up no matter what, and there are some who have a grievance, and they likely work together quite a bit, making it hard to tell them apart.

What's interesting to me about this is that in the "nature" view, what America does to other countries doesn't matter. Krauthammer says it this way:
But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that there are Muslims energized by Iraq--who were not energized by Western colonialism, American imperialism, Hollywood decadence, the Roosevelt-Saud alliance, the Afghan war, Zionism, feminism or other alleged outrages against Islam. They were living contentedly, tending their shoe shop in Riyadh, and all of a sudden they discovered the joys of jihad and the lure of heavenly posthumous sex awaiting them at the other end of a suicide bombing.
He seems to be saying, "if they weren't ticked about all those other things, they can't be ticked about Iraq." The other way I hear this is, "they already hated us before we went to Iraq." Either way, stomping around their stomping grounds can't be the cause of more terrorism.

Well, I don't buy it. I'm not holding America responsible for the acts of terrorists by any means, but I think a rise in terrorism was a predictable response to invading Iraq. Invading Iraq was like leaving an expensive car in a bad neighborhood with the windows down and the keys in the ignition. The thieves who steal it are guilty as sin, but they're not random.

If there are terrorists who are "inspired" by America's actions, I think it's worth avoiding that inspiration just to make it easier to deal with the ones inspired by their chemical imbalance.
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