Our ways vs Our kind

I wish this article (which goes well with the discussion Micah and I are having) was more informative about terrorists motivations, but it is an interesting and quick read about the two camps seeking to explain the motivation of terrorists. Here’s the gist:

For some experts, the attacks – whether in London or Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – are aimed at the West for what it is doing: in other words for its policies, like the war in Iraq. Others insist that the perpetrators are more at odds with the ideals of the West and “who we are.”

For the latter group, this is a war of civilizations or ideologies that the West has no choice but to fight aggressively, because anything else would entail appeasement and imply a retreat from identity and principles.

This is a difficult and often touchy debate. Personally, I just find it hard to believe that our policies only cause Muslims to blow themselves up in some type of violent protest. There’s something truly sick about these people, and the what-we-do explanation is hugely deficient in explaining it.

UPDATE: It occurred to me today that I’m not being thoroughly consistent in my position because there is one American policy that I would admit does incite a gross amount of hatred against us in the Muslim world: our support of Israel. So, a more honest statement of my position is that Al Qaeda and their ilk hate us for who are are as infidels and, to make it worse, infidels who support Israel. And to be even more honest I would have to say that there are times when what we do incites hatred. For example, it wouldn’t surprise me if a man who had his family blown to smithereens by one of our errant bombs would want to pretty much kill as many of us as possible. However, I contend there must be something greater and more sinister that motivates the thousands of Islamofascists who want to destroy our country and the entire culture of the West.

3 thoughts on “Our ways vs Our kind

  1. I’ve been pondering this since the change in U.S. rhetoric over the last week from “the war on terrorism” to “the struggle against violent extremism”. This seems to have matched Tony Blair’s declaration that we need to end the ideology. If we go this route, I think we would have to acknolwedge not only Muslim extremists, but violent extremism in all of its forms such as those Timothy McVey adhered to. Are we ready to do this? Should we? Is it going to impinge on freedom of expression / religion if we go about closing extremist religious schools or white militia camps? I don’t like either of these groups, and I don’t like what they do. Am I ready to legally ban an ideology? I don’t have answers or a firm position on it, but I’d thought I’d throw it out there.

  2. I doubt the government is letting a lot of murderous white militias go about their business with no repercussions. It’s not just about extremism, which is common enough around the world, but actual violence. You can measure violence; you can only disagree with ideology.

  3. Yes, however, Tony Blair is threatening to deport people simply for adhering to “extremist ideoligies.” While this sort of reprecussion simply for holding ideals has not yet come to our doorstep, can it be too far off? Since 9/11, since our country (at the insistance of our government and media) has been swept up in this anti-terrorism, “you could be next,” “what would you do in the event of a terrorist attack” scare, we have seen people arrested for infractions as simple as shooting up pictures of the president, kids making dry ice bombs for fun (I’ve made dozens-they are fun), people being denied admission to our country or arrested simply on the grounds of ethnicity or religion, etc, etc. How far are we going to go to “ensure” that our “freedoms” remain intact?

    I read an interesting opinion the other day regarding this issue. One quote stood out (and I’m not sure I fully agree with it, but I can see where it is coming from, and certainly am in partial agreement with it):

    “Giving up freedoms for security is a little like choosing to be beheaded rather than to die by natural causes.”

    And as Ben Franklin said:

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    These are words to seriously ponder…

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