T Nation

Creating Terrorists

Since 9-11, we have gotten a steady stream of criticism stating that the West’s actions 'create more terrorists.

We have:

  1. Relations with unsavory ME regimes creates terrorists
  2. The war in Afghanistan creates terrorists
  3. The war in Iraq creates terrorists
  4. Abu Ghraib creates terrorists
  5. Guantanamo Bay creates terrorists
  6. Cartoons depicting Muhammed created terrorists
  7. Racial profiling creates terrorists
  8. Support for Israel creates terrorists
  9. The Pope referencing Islam’s historical tactics in a scholarly venue creates terrorists
  10. Naming Iraq and Iran part of an ‘Axis of Evil’ created terrorists

I am sure I am missing plenty.

That said we also know that - according to the jihadists themselves - that showing weakness and refusing to fight them emboldens their cause and has helped them recruit more terrorists. This they freely admit - witness OBL’s “weak horse” commentary, etc.

Islamist terrorists are our enemy. But when we act aggressively - we create more terrorists. But when we act non-aggressively - we create more terrorists.

So I ask - is there any action that doesn’t create more terrorists?

of course there will be more terrorists. Its a war, that doesn’t mean it is not worth fighting.

We can make the argument that during WWII we only had a handful of Japs blow up Pearl Harbor. But the second we declared war on them we had to fight a lot more.

Just because we create more enemies during this war doesn’t mean we should stop.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Since 9-11, we have gotten a steady stream of criticism stating that the West’s actions 'create more terrorists.

We have:

  1. Relations with unsavory ME regimes creates terrorists
  2. The war in Afghanistan creates terrorists
  3. The war in Iraq creates terrorists
  4. Abu Ghraib creates terrorists
  5. Guantanamo Bay creates terrorists
  6. Cartoons depicting Muhammed created terrorists
  7. Racial profiling creates terrorists
  8. Support for Israel creates terrorists
  9. The Pope referencing Islam’s historical tactics in a scholarly venue creates terrorists
  10. Naming Iraq and Iran part of an ‘Axis of Evil’ created terrorists

I am sure I am missing plenty.

That said we also know that - according to the jihadists themselves - that showing weakness and refusing to fight them emboldens their cause and has helped them recruit more terrorists. This they freely admit - witness OBL’s “weak horse” commentary, etc.

Islamist terrorists are our enemy. But when we act aggressively - we create more terrorists. But when we act non-aggressively - we create more terrorists.

So I ask - is there any action that doesn’t create more terrorists?[/quote]

Yep - hugs, flowers, food, and asking for forgiveness.

Thunder, I think it is a valid question, but I’d also say that there is no reason not to expand our thinking to include actions other than visible military force.

However, to backtrack, I’d say that going into Afghanistan probably was much more understood to be necessary in the Middle East than going into Iraq.

I’m not sure what some other people or groups may mean to imply, but I’m not implying that military action should not be taken, but I’d say that there are times and places that it is more appropriate, or significantly, seen to be more appropriate, than others.

The issues you raise point to the fact that we have been pushed down a road, with great speed mind you, by some of the recent military actions.

This means we need to look ahead when considering what action to take and try to assess the costs of various types of action with respect to what situations are likely to develop.

Again, this doesn’t mean that action can’t or shouldn’t be taken, but it means that some serious thought and consideration needs to be put into how to do it with a minimum of escalation in hatred, where possible.

Given that the intelligence on Iraq was flawed, at best, or cherry picked, at worst, I think it becomes easy to see why some question the wisdom of going into Iraq given the current escalation of recruitment and regional unity with respect to an anti-western viewpoint.

In an attempt to head off some of the most obvious politically spun criticism, again, I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t aggressively pursue terrorists or governments that foster terrorism.

To get back to the concept of expanding our viewpoint, I’d say that there are many things that we are not doing which don’t involve military conflict that might help to reduce the aggressive anti-western hatred being fed to inhabitants of the region via rampant propaganda.

These things, these non-military actions, may not be as macho, or as visible, but if they are effective, and probably less expensive in terms of monetary cost and lives lost, then I think it is irresponsible not to seriously and aggressively consider and attempt such alternatives.

Frankly, I’m not seeing these initiatives… but if they are out there, feel free to enlighten me, I’d be happier for it. If they aren’t out there and aren’t happening, then your leaders have let you down severely.

[quote]knewsom wrote:
Yep - hugs, flowers, food, and asking for forgiveness.[/quote]

Ta da, and that’s all folks…

I suppose we should add bending over and grabbing your ankles to this list.

I’d like to see the US at least be honest when it cuts and runs out of Iraq. As it will, because the country has no backbone to win anymore. Anyways, when we pull out, I think we should all fly white flags that day.

Great post Thunder. It really is that simple isn’t it?

Too many people in this country are playing “blame the victim” for political reasons.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Great post Thunder. It really is that simple isn’t it?

Too many people in this country are playing “blame the victim” for political reasons.[/quote]

And that is kind of my point. We have reached a point where everything creates terrorists.

I am of a belief that we need to stop the nonsense that everything Islamists do is a reaction to something we did and start getting it into our collective heads that they do things as original evil with an agenda that is largely irrelevant to what we do.

Which fits in with where we are today - if everything creates terrorists, then really, nothing creates terrorists. They create themselves - as original actors - just fine.

That said, that doesn’t mean I endorse a clumsy policy that refuses to take into consideration that actions have consequences and there is a chance of some reactions.

But if what everyone says is true, there is no possible way to deal with the problem of our enemy - punching them in the face will create more of them, and so will trying to shake their hand. And, ignoring them is no choice either.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
knewsom wrote:
Yep - hugs, flowers, food, and asking for forgiveness.

Ta da, and that’s all folks…

I suppose we should add bending over and grabbing your ankles to this list.[/quote]

Actually, I’ve read that islamo-facists find that particularly insulting. …what ultra-conservative wouldn’t? :wink:

In all due seriousness, I think there has been a few successes in the GWOT, as pointed out to my by one of my best friends, a Seargent in the US Marine Corps: The only success he’s witnessed thus far has been his deployment to Djibouti, where he trained CTUs, went on security patrols, built schools and orphanages, and distributed clean fresh water, food, and supplies.

I think we seriously oughta try and finish the fighting we’ve begun, and focus on reconstruction. If we try hard enough, we might just win over their hearts and minds. Granted, we won’t win over all of them, but all we really need to do is make enough friends in this world to enable us to know just who our true enemies are, and WHERE they are.

I’m sure all you conservative right-wing hardcore christians out there will laugh at my silly notions of peace and goodwill, but perhaps you should look to the book you so often thump with such enthusiasm and see what 'ol JC said about how to treat your enemies.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
That said, that doesn’t mean I endorse a clumsy policy that refuses to take into consideration that actions have consequences and there is a chance of some reactions.

But if what everyone says is true, there is no possible way to deal with the problem of our enemy - punching them in the face will create more of them, and so will trying to shake their hand. And, ignoring them is no choice either.[/quote]

This is where I have to say it again, we need to punt. No, I don’t mean do nothing and I don’t mean nuke the place. We need to get creative and come up with things we can do that will improve the situation.

Nobody seems to take it seriously, perhaps because it’s me saying it, but the issue with propaganda being used so rampantly in the Middle East is one of the biggest problems.

If you remove the atmosphere of hatred, the heartfelt belief by most of the populace over there that the western world is the devil, then you will greatly reduce their ability to recruit.

We need to be doing things, other than or as well as, military actions, to change the state of affairs.

Of course, we’ll have to play whack-a-mole, probably for decades, and send the troops in when large groups of identifiable terrorists are found or when terrorist supporting regimes are identified, but that isn’t the winning stroke. It will keep the hatred simmering and boiling up and becoming visible from time to time.

The winning stroke will be an invisible non-military one. Or so I think.

There is a phrase out there that war is the result of a lack of imagination. I think the Bush administration does lack imagination, in that they think their hammer, their military might, is the only tool in the shed.

It is one hell of a tool, and it is extremely powerful, but it generally is difficult to build a peace if that is the only tool you are willing to use.

The might of the US, or the west, is not limited to military power. If we don’t erode it, we also have a lot of humanitarian credibility, a lot of international credibility, and a huge amount of human and financial capital of all types.

Being strong is only half the picture.

[quote]vroom wrote:
thunderbolt23 wrote:
That said, that doesn’t mean I endorse a clumsy policy that refuses to take into consideration that actions have consequences and there is a chance of some reactions.

But if what everyone says is true, there is no possible way to deal with the problem of our enemy - punching them in the face will create more of them, and so will trying to shake their hand. And, ignoring them is no choice either.

This is where I have to say it again, we need to punt. No, I don’t mean do nothing and I don’t mean nuke the place. We need to get creative and come up with things we can do that will improve the situation.

Nobody seems to take it seriously, perhaps because it’s me saying it, but the issue with propaganda being used so rampantly in the Middle East is one of the biggest problems.

If you remove the atmosphere of hatred, the heartfelt belief by most of the populace over there that the western world is the devil, then you will greatly reduce their ability to recruit.

We need to be doing things, other than or as well as, military actions, to change the state of affairs.

Of course, we’ll have to play whack-a-mole, probably for decades, and send the troops in when large groups of identifiable terrorists are found or when terrorist supporting regimes are identified, but that isn’t the winning stroke. It will keep the hatred simmering and boiling up and becoming visible from time to time.

The winning stroke will be an invisible non-military one. Or so I think.

There is a phrase out there that war is the result of a lack of imagination. I think the Bush administration does lack imagination, in that they think their hammer, their military might, is the only tool in the shed.

It is one hell of a tool, and it is extremely powerful, but it generally is difficult to build a peace if that is the only tool you are willing to use.

The might of the US, or the west, is not limited to military power. If we don’t erode it, we also have a lot of humanitarian credibility, a lot of international credibility, and a huge amount of human and financial capital of all types.

Being strong is only half the picture.[/quote]

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Vroom.

[quote]knewsom wrote:
vroom wrote:
thunderbolt23 wrote:
That said, that doesn’t mean I endorse a clumsy policy that refuses to take into consideration that actions have consequences and there is a chance of some reactions.

But if what everyone says is true, there is no possible way to deal with the problem of our enemy - punching them in the face will create more of them, and so will trying to shake their hand. And, ignoring them is no choice either.

This is where I have to say it again, we need to punt. No, I don’t mean do nothing and I don’t mean nuke the place. We need to get creative and come up with things we can do that will improve the situation.

Nobody seems to take it seriously, perhaps because it’s me saying it, but the issue with propaganda being used so rampantly in the Middle East is one of the biggest problems.

If you remove the atmosphere of hatred, the heartfelt belief by most of the populace over there that the western world is the devil, then you will greatly reduce their ability to recruit.

We need to be doing things, other than or as well as, military actions, to change the state of affairs.

Of course, we’ll have to play whack-a-mole, probably for decades, and send the troops in when large groups of identifiable terrorists are found or when terrorist supporting regimes are identified, but that isn’t the winning stroke. It will keep the hatred simmering and boiling up and becoming visible from time to time.

The winning stroke will be an invisible non-military one. Or so I think.

There is a phrase out there that war is the result of a lack of imagination. I think the Bush administration does lack imagination, in that they think their hammer, their military might, is the only tool in the shed.

It is one hell of a tool, and it is extremely powerful, but it generally is difficult to build a peace if that is the only tool you are willing to use.

The might of the US, or the west, is not limited to military power. If we don’t erode it, we also have a lot of humanitarian credibility, a lot of international credibility, and a huge amount of human and financial capital of all types.

Being strong is only half the picture.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Vroom.[/quote]

Great, he pounded a nail in, but I see no other solution there either. My boss says come to me with any gripe, AS LONG AS, you have an idea for a solution.

So our military might was unimaginative and not exactly perfect. You say it is a big tool, but not the only. Name others, now here’s the key, that weren’t tried. Sanctions since 1990. Yep, tried them. UN intervention and checks. Yep, tried them.

I don’t necessarily agree with Iraq at this point, but give me something more than ‘it’s a good tool, but not the only one.’

Nah, let them have at each other. Just let them know, before we leave, that if any attacks originate from groups within their country, we’ll start leveling cities. Unless, they cooperate fully with our law enforcement agencies in finding and killing the bastards.

In short, if they won’t do a reasonable job to police themselves, of anti-US terrorists, we drop the hammer. And, there will be no reconstruction efforts. Will it attract more extremists? Probably. Let them try to counterattack. We’ll drop a bigger hammer. Rinse and repeat.

They can all hate us, for all I care, as long as that shit stays in their borders. My fellow citizens will always come first, not theirs.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060927/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraqi_opinion

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
Great, he pounded a nail in, but I see no other solution there either. My boss says come to me with any gripe, AS LONG AS, you have an idea for a solution.

So our military might was unimaginative and not exactly perfect. You say it is a big tool, but not the only. Name others, now here’s the key, that weren’t tried. Sanctions since 1990. Yep, tried them. UN intervention and checks. Yep, tried them.
[/quote]

I’ve actually been trying recently. I alluded to those efforts, but I’ll get a bit more specific and restate.

One idea, to counter the rampant propaganda we have to replace the message. This might mean invisibly funding less strident Islamic individuals to run media outlets, perhaps migrating to more moderate stances as public will allows.

That is, or should be, an invisible action that doesn’t make anyone feel punished. Even sanctions and the like are just another type of hammer that piss people off because the west is blamed for any hardship.

Is it a perfect idea, no, but it’s a freaking idea. I won’t claim to have all the answers, but I’m willing to throw my ideas out for public ridicule.

On that note, I created a thread about Iraq, and discussed a thought concerning the ability to involve the Iraqi citizens in a grassroots effort to develop security at the community level.

The idea would be to include or involve people in securing their country, individually, helping them learn cooperation, civic involvement and perhaps buying in to an initiative that leads them towards working against insurgents.

Plenty of ridicule on that one.

Another idea would be to create thousands of madrassa that were geared towards churning out moderate Islamic children instead of little Jihadist robots ready to go kill. You don’t have to get everyone, but if you get enough people, then they talk amongst their peers in their community and have an influence on opinion and action.

So, again, are these ideas perfect? No, of course not. Are they worth trying? Maybe. Spend a few billions dollars and zero lives, what have you got to lose, compared to current military efforts? Money is cheap to us, so let’s use it.

While you may or may not like or agree with any of my own ideas, let’s be clear, I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t use military might! However, given the amount of time since 9/11, I am upset that we aren’t hearing about ANY creative initiatives to bring about peace in the long run.

Right now, we are assuming that if we kill enough people, everyone that is left will somehow end up loving us because the radicals are all dead. This is the unimaginative thinking that we are being led with, which doesn’t think ahead to the next generation of people growing up in the midst of it.

Leaders need vision, or foresight, and the wisdom to choose courses that minimize negatives, not to simply rush into things like a bull in a china shop and start smashing shit. Where the fuck are the good ideas that billions of taxpayer dollars should be able to fund and come up with?

The answer had better be something other than there aren’t any…

I wasn’t implying that there weren’t possible solutions. I like some of your ideas, but application is another aspect.

At this point a lot of things are worth a try. The obvious one being the transfer of power and the security back to the Iraqi people and begin some type of pullout.

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
I wasn’t implying that there weren’t possible solutions. I like some of your ideas, but application is another aspect.

At this point a lot of things are worth a try. The obvious one being the transfer of power and the security back to the Iraqi people and begin some type of pullout.

[/quote]

Doing subtle things to encourage moderatism and democracy could help, yet they could also backfire and be seen as us meddling, if they’re not subtle enough.

Bombarding them with our own brand of propaganda obviously isn’t going to work either.

…what I believe WILL WORK is to kill them with kindness. Build schools, repair their utilities, bring them jobs, stability, and wealth. Do as much outreach as possible. Eventually we’ll win them over.

…but it’ll take patience.

Build the C. Montgomery Burns Slant Oil Well and take all of “their” oil without seting foot in their country.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Build the C. Montgomery Burns Slant Oil Well and take all of “their” oil without seting foot in their country.

[/quote]

I thought Kuwait owned that patent?

[quote]knewsom wrote:
sasquatch wrote:
I wasn’t implying that there weren’t possible solutions. I like some of your ideas, but application is another aspect.

At this point a lot of things are worth a try. The obvious one being the transfer of power and the security back to the Iraqi people and begin some type of pullout.

Doing subtle things to encourage moderatism and democracy could help, yet they could also backfire and be seen as us meddling, if they’re not subtle enough.

Bombarding them with our own brand of propaganda obviously isn’t going to work either.

…what I believe WILL WORK is to kill them with kindness. Build schools, repair their utilities, bring them jobs, stability, and wealth. Do as much outreach as possible. Eventually we’ll win them over.

…but it’ll take patience.[/quote]

Knewsom,

I think there is a time and place for mercy and kindness but that needs to be earned by the opposition…not given to them. They haven’t earned it and shouldn’t expect it because it will have no value.

We need to set the expectation for civil behavior which may include reconstruction, job creation and trade. We also need to set the penalty and then follow thru on both. It’s basic carrot and stick but the stick has to be a knock out shot and the carrot offered when the required action is completed.

Killing with kindness would work in US or Western Europe. In most parts of the Middle East it will be percieved as weakness and challeneged not accepted.

The other variable is religous. It’s a whole other thread but at this stage the terrorists will be created no matter what we do. A rise in religous fevor and birth rates will see too that no matter what.

It will pass but will take a generation to do so. The current generation is lost. The trick is to make sure the innocent do not suffer and die, including our innocents, and as many of the terrorists as possible do.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

So I ask - is there any action that doesn’t create more terrorists?[/quote]

yeah. kill them all.