FAQ Terrorism #4

4. The war on terrorism is killing young Americans and taking up a lot of our money and resources. The government is saying this could last for years. Is it possible to negotiate a settlement with terrorists that would keep America safe and allow us to end the fighting?

War is a nasty business and the American people are so dedicated to the ideals of human rights and democracy that it is sometimes difficult for us to believe that it is the best, or even the only, solution to a problem. Unfortunately, sometimes war is the only way for us to protect ourselves and dissuade our enemies, as we saw in both world wars. Islamist terrorists, however, are not like a normal enemy in war. They do not have a country or a government. They have no resources or economy to protect and they have no moderate faction urging reconciliation. Members of Islamist organizations have chosen to be there or have been so indoctrinated that they can imagine no other way of life. There is no line that they will not cross and nothing, beyond their religion, that is so valuable that it cannot be compromised to reach their goal. When an individual is willing to die for a cause, there is very little opportunity left for bargaining. A suicide fighter can only be deterred through physical restraint or through the establishment of an entirely different value system in which he is given something for which to live, something that transcends his immediate cause. This is a multi-generational process that must begin so that the practice of filling young minds with hate can end. It will require the stabilization of local economies, the establishment of good schools, and the incorporation of every individual into the social and political system. While it can decrease or eliminate the pool of potential terrorists in ten or twenty years, it is unlikely to change a suicide bomber's mind immediately. For this reason, armed conflict is sadly, but inescapably, necessary in the war on terrorism.

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