Sunday, December 28, 2008

Terrorists are Criminals, Not Soldiers

Terrorism is not new. It did not begin with the twin towers falling. It did not begin with the Oklahoma City bombing. It did not begin with car bombs in Israel. It did not begin with hangings and church fires in the south. But all of these things were terrible, violent, and reprehensible acts of terror.

Wouldn't it make sense, given humanity's long history of dealing with terror, to study the cases where terror, if not ended, at least subsided?

In 1963, members of the klu klux klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four little girls. This was not the first time the kkk had perpetrated acts of terror. They have over the years been responsible for many bombings, hangings, kidnappings and deaths.

If we are to use the logic provided to us by President Bush when he wanted to invade Afghanistan or by Israel when they respond to terrorist attacks by bombing, then we would have expected the United States to fly a bombing mission over Birmingham in 1963. We would have expected that, after they bombed the innocent civilians of Birmingham, they would have blamed the kkk for hiding amongst civilians

But we did not do that. We did not do that, because terrorists are not soldiers. We did not do that because it is the soldiers responsibility to protect civilians, not harm them. We did not do that because many people live in Birmingham who are not terrorists and the idea that they harbored terrorists by having the pure dumb luck of being a Birmingham resident is ridiculous.

What the United States did do, far too slowly and painfully, is investigate the crimes of the kkk. We sent undercover operatives to infiltrate their organizations. We paid off inside informants. We treated terrorists like the criminals they are. (I know many of them walked free for many years and I don't make light of that travesty, but my point is that the terror began to ease without a war against the entire town.)

Violence is always tragic. War is always tragic. But it is so much more tragic when it is painfully clear that it can never bring the security and peace that most people want. Even if you are not a pacifist, the cold hard fact remains that responding to terrorists with war is irrational and effective only in creating more enemies.

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3 comments:

Sakura said...

Thank you. You would think this would be obvious, sadly it appears not to be.

Clausewitzian said...

War, if we can use the word by its full meaning, is a necessity in this case. Do you honestly think that if the EU, US or anybody else for that matter would leave the Islamic radicals alone there would be peace? They would just say: "thank you for leaving us alone, we'll just keep diplomatic and commercial relations for the future." No, they will not stop.

Why? Because in their distorted view of Islam they war against anything that is not accepted by these extremist views. Their intentions are clear, and they have repeated this again and again, that they want to make every country in the world Islamic.

In the same time, Europe has over 8 million Muslims, and some of them, especially in the UK are keen to support terrorist actions. A recent report by the Civitas think-tank, entitled 'Music, Chess and other Sins' points out that in many Muslim schools in the UK, children are thought to hate everything that is Western - our European culture and everything. If our society is close to hell for them, why are they still here?

The KKK is just a group of illiterate rednecks that think that white is good, anybody that isn't white and is living in the UK is the enemy. They want to create a 'White America', that's their goal. They've killed innocent people and conducted terrorist attacks like the one you mentioned. In this matter they are not better than any radical Islamic group. However, they power has been continuously falling and the election of Obama clearly says that racism is a thing for the past.

Anyway, I say that the real terrorist we have to worry about the radical Muslims that think that all unbelievers have to be killed because God says so. Religion is far more persuasive than a political ideology.

Melanie said...

Clausewitzian,

You infer that there are only two options - war or letting terrorists have their way with us. The whole point of my article is that there is a third way. We need investigators, police, courts, and prisons to extract the terrorists from the masses of people with minimal violence.

You agree with me that the power of the KKK has fallen, but you don't ask yourself why or how. It was a criminal investigation and prosecutions that broke the back of the KKK. The same can (and should) be done with any terrorist organization.