March 19, 2004

Root causes of terrorism

There is a thought-provoking essay over at Steven DenBeste's website on the root causes of terrorism and: bq. Would Al Qaeda have been shut down sooner / more thoroughly if Iraq hadn't drawn our attention and resources? bq. The question Vinod is facing is an example of one which buries a false assumption, such that any direct answer to the question grants the assumption. In this case, the assumption is, "The goal of this war is to eliminate al Qaeda." bq. That's wrong. That's part of what we're trying to do, but it is not the primary goal. The real goal is to eliminate the true source of the danger which faces us, the root cause, as it were. al Qaeda arose out of that true source, but is not the actual source. Since al Qaeda represents an imminent threat, it must be dealt with. But if we only deal with al Qaeda, then something else will emerge to take its place and more of us will die in terrorist attacks. bq. I described our true objectives in this war and the real strategy we're following, as well as how the invasion of Iraq was an essential part of executing that strategy, here. bq. The real root cause is Arab failure, Arab shame at that failure, and Arab anger lashing out at us because our success makes their failure starkly clear. Steven then points to a recent essay by Thomas Sowell: bq. There are only 18 computers per thousand persons in the Arab world, compared to 78 per thousand persons worldwide. Fewer than 400 industrial patents were issued to people in the Arab countries during the last two decades of the 20th century, while 15,000 industrial patents were issued to South Koreans alone. bq. Human beings do not always take reversals of fortune gracefully. Still less can those who were once on top quietly accept seeing others leaving them far behind economically, intellectually, and militarily. bq. Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the "infidels" of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise. Worse yet, what the whole world sees with their own eyes tells them that the Middle East has made few contributions to human advancement in our times. bq. Even Middle Eastern oil was largely discovered and processed by people from the West. After oil, the Middle East's most prominent export has been terrorism. Please read the entire article and follow the links before blowing this off as right-wing rhetoric. Steven lists fact after fact and although the facts are not pleasant to anyone who sympathizes with the Middle-Eastern culture, they are none the less facts and that does not lessen their impact on the cultures involved. It is possible to resolve this issue but not through diplomatic channels - a fundamental change of cultures is needed. We are seeing the wonderful success rate of this in Iraq and Afghanistan even though the rebuilding processes there are only a few years old. Five years from now, those places will be heaven on earth compared to what the rest of that area is like. Posted by DaveH at March 19, 2004 11:40 AM