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.