Saturday, July 16, 2016
Thoughts On Fighting Terrorism
Another tragedy has struck the world --this time in Nice, France. As celebrants were leaving a Bastille Day fireworks display, a maniac drove a large truck through the crowd, killing at least 84 people and injuring hundreds more.
While this was a terrorist act, it is not yet known if it had a political/religious origin -- but that is likely, whether directed or inspired by extremists. I think there are a few things the public, in this country and others, need to keep in mind.
1. This was NOT an attack by muslims on the non-muslim world. It was an attack by an extremist on civilization. We must remember that by far, most of the victims of the jihadi extremists are muslims, and more of these attacks happen in the muslim world than outside it. To react against muslims in general would be a serious mistake.
2. The defeat and extermination of the ISIS caliphate will not stop this kind of terrorism. That caliphate needs to be defeated (and that should be done by the countries most at risk from it -- the country in the Middle East), but the extremists were committing terrorist attacks before the caliphate existed and they will continue those attacks after the caliphate is eliminated.
3. Terrorism cannot be defeated through the use of military force. The military (and we have the best in the world) are very effective against other military forces, but they are not built to fight terrorism. Terrorism can be defeated, but it must be done by a combination of effective diplomacy, shared intelligence, and a vigorous law enforcement effort.
4. The long-term solution to terrorism is to create societies that offer all citizens equal rights, and economies that allow all citizens to make a decent living a provides equal opportunities for advancement. Terrorism is strongest among individuals with no rights and no future.
For now, we must stand with the nation of France and the victims in Nice -- and hope that our leaders (and other world leaders) are smart enough to fight terrorism in the appropriate way.