One of my ongoing frustrations about the dialogue on the War on Terror is the assertion that when we (generally The West, particularly the United States) don't develop a perfect Course of Action that will appease the Islamic masses while we surgically cull the psychotically violent Islamist extremists, we radicalize the moderates and "create more terrorists." The two main branches of this theory are:
1. There is some type of moral equivalency between the actions of the United States, which takes measured, rational approaches to employing force, often limiting our actions and effectiveness and assuming greater risk for our troops in order to attenuate collateral damage, and the Islamists, who--as evidenced by Mumbai--prefer to take the Mad Dog Killer approach to their tactics.
2. While the Mad Dog Killers' actions are extreme, they are rational reactions to legitimate grievances over the policies of the United States, which has subjected the Islamic masses to all sorts of indignities (basically because, in short, we do stuff that they don't like).
Thus, the Mad Dog Killers of the Islamic Extremist set are justified in their passions and grievances, if not their actions, and it is incumbent upon the United States to address these grievances so that we don't continue to "make more terrorists" by radicalizing Muslims who would prefer to be moderates, but just can't overlook the indignities heaped upon them by the United States and therefore become terrorists.
Some big-brain thinkers, like Deepok Chopra think that we need to employ a Marshall Plan for Muslims in order to keep good Mohommadens from going bad, and that much of the Islamic terrorism the US has been subjected to over the years is the result of our not executing such a plan earlier.
My response to that? Fuck you.
Anyone who could be swayed to strap on a bomb and blow himself up at a school bus stop, or a market place, or a hospital is a fundamentally flawed sociopath. Ditto for those who finacially or materially support such people. Actually, the facilitators are even worse. Anyone who could be swayed to overtly target innocent non-combatants is not a moderate forced into terrorism out of desperation, he's a psycho who finally found an excuse. Can anyone imagine an American condoning the actions of a terrorist because, well, you know, he was responding to really egregious poliitcal policies?
Timothy McVeigh is reviled by every one of the disparate segments of US society, and rightfully so. Any apologist who tried to argue that he had legitimate grievances that need to be addressed by the US Government, that we, as a people bear some responsibility for his actions because of our failure to reform ourselves in order to allay the "root causes" that made him park that car bomb outside the Murrah Federal Building would be unanimously shouted out of the public square, and rightfully so.
The victims taken hostage in Mumbai were horrifically tortured before they were executed. No social, political, cultural, ethnic, or religious grievance justifies this. To all those Muslim "moderates" who faintly damn this type of atrocity with "yes, but..." there are no buts.
To all those who think that the US should change its evil ways in order to prevent otherwise moderate Muslims from turning to terrorism as a last-ditch effort to right a wrong, I've got a counter proposal: let's ramp up our OPTEMPO and get these fledgling terrorists radicalized now, in order to sooner get them on the target list.
*As an aside, I'm reasonably sure that, given his personal philosophy and fondness for the Bhagavad Gita, ol' Deepok, in a world where the US wasn't protecting his sorry ass, would find his head separated from his body by a rusty hacksaw blade wielded by a Muslim inspired by a host of "root causes." I note that Deepok hawks his New Age-ism from the US and not from, say, Karachi...or Mumbai.