This brief blog entry takes you through a series of negotiations over time between peacemakers and terrorists:
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of a line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker introduces himself. The terrorist kills him.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker asks, "why did you kill my friend?" The terrorist kills him and rapes his wife.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker says, "Stop that!" The terrorist kills him, rapes his daughter and kills his wife.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker says, "I'll pay you $1000 if you stop attacking us." The terrorist agrees to the deal, takes the $1000, and kills him.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker appeals to the United Nations. The United Nations says the peacemaker is at fault. The terrorist kills him.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker now has a gun, and threatens to use it. Other peacemakers start chanting the old 60's whine, "Can't we all just get along?" The peacemaker hesitates. The terrorist kills him.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker tries to convince his peacemaker friends that the terrorists aren't going to respond to negotiations, but they insist that if he kills the terrorist it'll just make the other terrorists mad. The peacemaker reluctantly agrees to try negotiating again. The terrorist kills him., his entire family, and his neighbor's family.
A heated debate now ensues between the peacemakers who want to be nice to the terrorists and the peacemakers who believe that there can never be peace until the terrorists are all dead. While they are debating, the terrorists kill 15 more peacemakers.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker asks himself, "Which is more important: being liked by everyone, or protecting my family?" The terrorist pulls a knife to kill the peacemaker, but the peacemaker pulls a gun and kills the terrorist first. The United Nations condemns the peacemaker's use of unproportional force. Many of his peacemaker friends turn against him.
A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker apologizes for what his friend did to the other terrorist. The terrorist kills him, his entire family and his neighbors, and threatens to destroy the city as soon as they develop a bigger weapon.
A peacemaker refuses to meet at the line because every time a peacemaker goes to the line the terrorist kills him. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line and fires rockets into the peacemaker's town. The United Nations condemns the way the peacemaker provoked the terrorist by refusing to come to the line and meet with him.
Generations pass and not much changes until one day when the son of a peacemaker decides that the old strategy simply won't work. He walks up to the left side of the line a little early. As the terrorist approaches the right side of the line the peacemaker shoots him. Another terrorist approaches to replace the first, and the peacemaker shoots him too. This scene plays out several more times. Then a terrorist approaches carrying a white flag, but he also has weapons. The peacemaker shoots him. A terrorist next approaches with a ceasefire resolution from the U.N. The peacemaker shoots him also. A large group of terrorists approach and the peacemaker shoots them all and drops a nuclear bomb on the city they came from. The peacemaker continues killing the terrorists until the terrorists are all dead.
There is finally peace on earth and the United Nations takes the credit.
(No peacemakers or terrorists were harmed during the writing of this blog.)
I caught on right before the 60s whine that this stuff has all already happened, except for the nuke and peace on earth.ReplyDelete
We can keep on dreaming about the latter...
These things make me so angry. The idea that you can just kill all the terrorists "until they're all dead" is completely asinine and is probably the cause of more death than any idea since "domino theory." Terrorism is an immoral tactic, not an innate characteristic of certain people you can just eliminate.ReplyDelete
I wish people would just think about it.
Replace the terrorist in the stupid example above with a thief.
"Peacemaker asks the thief not to steal, thief steals anyway. Etc. Finally, the peacemaker's son comes along and continues killing thieves until no more thieves exist."
The solution, as Kerry said more than two years ago, is to treat terrorism more like an international law enforcement problem than a war. One cannot wage war on an abstraction!
We (the U.S.) has strengthened terrorism with our useless war in Iraq and Israel has strengthened it a thousand times with its short-sighted swat-a-fly-with-a-sledgehammer approach.
The solution, as Kerry said more than two years ago, is to treat terrorism more like an international law enforcement problem than a war.ReplyDelete
*snort* because that's worked SO well so far.
You absolutely cannot equate a terrorist with a thief. Statistically there is a sliver of improbability of a person being the target of a thief at any given time.
So, let's talk about the probability of a terrorist, ONCE AGAIN, approaching the 'peacemakers' who are too afraid of world opinion to stop being professional victims.
Thus the reason this scenario was written, IMO.
Are you saying that more people are victims of terror than of theft? That's obviously false. Obviously, being a victim of terror is much worse, but I don't understand what you're talking about.
JA, your example also doesn't work, because we don't kill thieves to stop them, we put them in jail. And in societies where the punishment for theft is more severe there will be less theft because there is greater fear of the consequences.ReplyDelete
I know that we can't nuke the whole Middle East (the fallout might spread with the winds, after all :-P), but when it is made clear that terrorism doesn't pay, it DOES tend to slow down. Then when we let up because we're trying to be nice guys and we're trying to curry favor in world opinion, the terrorists see that we are weak and take full advantage of it.
Chana - Thanks, but I didn't write it.ReplyDelete
JA - And therein lies the problem. Terrorism is NOT a "law enforcement" problem that we can arrest people for and that's it. Terrorism is something that needs to be stopped *before* it happens. Nephtuli's JAJC post yesterday ties into this idea: Terrorism needs to be utterly defeated, by making it a war that the terrorists no longer wish to fight (and in which those around them turn on them).
Are there costs? Absolutely. But it must be done.
You missed Chana's point: We are all targets of terror, while we are not all targets of theft. You sound like the oblivious peacemaker from the piece - but your approach has never, and will never, work.
Scraps - excellent comment.
"...and the United Nations takes the credit".ReplyDelete
At which point everyone decides to dissolve the UN, and there is finally peace on earth.
I love a happy ending.
BOTH - LOLOLOLReplyDelete
"Terrorism is an immoral tactic, not an innate characteristic of certain people you can just eliminate."ReplyDelete
JA - I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but your assumption is false. That is exactly the problem with terrorists; it isn't just an immoral act like a criminal - I see that everyday. Indeed they have an unwaivering belief that their acts are righteous. How are we supposed to eliminate that characteristic? It simply will never happen. I see that as the biggest problem we face fighting them is that we either can't accept or refuse to believe that any human being can be that evil. We rationalize "solutions" and blame everyone and everything for creating or exacerbating their terrorism. I don't believe that will ever succeed. In the end - hopefully only proverbially - I'd prefer to be the one remaining, along with my family, neighborhood, community, city, state, country and the rest of the world, all of whom desire life rather than death.
But before then, maybe we can schmooze over a beer or two.
I don't think you guys are understanding me. I'm just saying that (1) you can't just kill all the terrorists because there will always be more and (2) that the U.S.'s and Israel's actions have done more to create more terrorists than to fight terrorism.ReplyDelete
Just because you can't kill them all doesn't relieve us from the obligation to continue to rid evil from the world. And I strongly, but respectfully of course, disagree that anything we or Israel or anyone else does creates more of them. Just look at the vitriolic hate spewed forth from their imams about Jews, not Israel, but Jews and Christians and anyone else who dares to breath that won't bow down to them. Our very existence is enough motivation for them. The rest is just window dressing for them to use as an excuse.ReplyDelete
JA: 1) I don't think that's true. When fought properly - by making it clear that those who try and commit acts of terror or support acts of terror will be destroyed - it will slowly change the mindset away from terror. It will simply become "this just isn't worth it".ReplyDelete
2) Completely disagree. David's reasoning is excellent, but even more than that, say you're right: Therefore, what? We shouldn't fight terror because it creates more terrorists? We should lie down and give in? No - you fight it until it is defeated, however long that takes and whatever that takes. Otherwise, we may as well just let ourselves be slaughtered. A life under terror, or under the rule of those who use terror, is not a life.
Just because you can't kill them all doesn't relieve us from the obligation to continue to rid evil from the world.
Who said anything about relieving us from obligations?
Just look at the vitriolic hate spewed forth from their imams about Jews, not Israel, but Jews and Christians and anyone else who dares to breath that won't bow down to them. Our very existence is enough motivation for them.
You folks keep using this word "them." My whole point is this: "them" changes. Yes, a lot of Muslims are psychotically anti-semitic. Yes, the imams preach hatred. But that doesn't mean that nothing we do can cause more people to be swayed by their hatred. Suppose 25% of the average Lebanese family's children are sufficiently influenced by radical Islam in order to turn into full-out terrorists under "normal" circumstances. Now, what do you suppose happens to that number when a seemingly (to them) indiscriminate Israeli airstrike kills their parents? Obviously, it will go up.
1) I don't think that's true. When fought properly - by making it clear that those who try and commit acts of terror or support acts of terror will be destroyed - it will slowly change the mindset away from terror. It will simply become "this just isn't worth it".
I'm not saying we shouldn't fight terror! I'm saying we should do it in a smart way, not by indiscriminate bombing and warfare.
2) No - you fight it until it is defeated, however long that takes and whatever that takes.
Again, I'm not arguing we shouldn't fight terrorism. I'm arguing that the simplistic strategy of "killing them all" espoused in the asinine metaphor you quoted is completely counter-productive. It creates terrorists faster than it kills them.
I think we're agreeing more than not here.ReplyDelete
The point of the metaphor here is not what we should do - it's to mock what we shouldn't be doing, which is what we've been doing for 75 years now.
I agree. It certainly sounds like we for the most part on the same page. And I am certainly advocating the extermination of all Muslims. The "them" are the bin ladens, ahmadijad (ph), nasrallah, etc.ReplyDelete
Now, about that beer . . .
Sorry, I meant to say that I'm NOT advocating the extermination of Muslims. It's late.ReplyDelete
I think we're agreeing more than not here.ReplyDelete
I think so, too, at least in the abstract sense that neither of us is a pacifist who wants to surrender to terrorism.
The point of the metaphor here is not what we should do - it's to mock what we shouldn't be doing, which is what we've been doing for 75 years now.
And this is what I find so hateful. Sure it's technically mocking only extreme pacifists, but it seems that you and the others use this metaphor to mock those, like me, who don't necessarily support the strongest, crudest response possible. Moreover, the metaphor seems to suggest the very policy which has proven so tragic in fighting terror all over the world -- trying to kill "them" until "they" are dead. It perpetrates a grave misunderstanding of the situation and turns it into a simplistic, us-vs-them way of looking at things which will give us nothing but an endless cycle of ever-increasing violence.
I'd love a beer. :-) But, again, my point is about "The "them" are the bin ladens, ahmadijad (ph), nasrallah, etc."
I'm all for the capture or execution of bin Laden and Nasrallah. I'm all for doing everything ethical and legal to unseat/contain ahmadijad. But we can't just go around killing people indiscriminately, because it makes "them" bigger.
I think so, too, at least in the abstract sense that neither of us is a pacifist who wants to surrender to terrorism.ReplyDelete
...or wants to indiscrimiately kill anybody.
Sure it's technically mocking only extreme pacifists, but it seems that you and the others use this metaphor to mock those, like me, who don't necessarily support the strongest, crudest response possible.
Actually, I think you missed it. It's mocking the extreme pacifists, but it actually is mocking the people such as yourself even more. [Sorry.] It's not because you don't "support the strongest, cruelest response", it's because you (collective you - there's that lumping again) support the tactics mocked throughout the piece.
All along, those on the right have said "enough with the half-measures, just do it right!" That doesn't mean indiscriminate killing or just killing for the hell of it or whatever rhetoric some on the left like to paint it as. It means doing a thorough job, not stopping just because we're winning, not stopping because the UN or EU or whomever are complaining, not stopping because of fringe pacifist groups disguised as "human rights" groups, and not stopping because civilians get killed accidently.
The "them" is whoever is acting as or actively supporting terror. It's not an indiscriminate measure, it's a simple one - and that's how it should be. If a Palestinian aids Israel, he gets killed. The same should apply to terrorists, except we have a judicial system that we should use whenever possible to make sure we do it right.
All along, those on the right have said "enough with the half-measures, just do it right!"ReplyDelete
Here's the problem. There is no practical "full" measure. Technology has gotten to the point where anybody with a few hundred bucks and a high school chemistry book can kill 10-20 people without too much trouble. Even if Israel decided to exterminate every last Lebanese and Syrian Muslim, innocent or guilty, it wouldn't stop terrorism.
It's a very frustrating situation, but just because it's unsatisfying to take small measures doesn't make taking large measures with negative consequences any smarter. How many Israelis were killed by Hezbollah before they invaded Lebanon? How many after? How strong and decentralized was al-Qaida before we invaded Iraq? How about after?
Extreme measures play into the terrorists' hands as basic recruiting tools. Do you think bin Laden wasn't hoping we would overreact? Do you think Hezbollah wasn't trying to provoke a war? Let's be smart about this instead of giving them what they want.
Of course, it's impossible to completely stop terrorism. Every loner can do it. What we need to do is create disincentives, as much as possible, and to some extent that means 'punishing' those that support such people so they won't support them anymore and may even start handing them in. When Israel started destroying the homes of suicide bombers in Gaza, everyone complained: Meanwhile, a couple families turned in their own sons who were about to carry out attacks, stating simply that they didn't want to lose their homes.ReplyDelete
The objective is to make it harder and harder for a person to get any support to carry out an attack - financially, emotionally, assistance, everything. You have to make the Muslim world sick of having terrorists among them.
Israel screwed up in Lebanon. Firstly, no response is worse: It tells terrorists that you can get away with killing soldiers and kidnapping soldiers with no risks. That's simply stupid. Israel SHOULD have gone in, destroyed every last remaining rocket, killed as many members of Hezbollah as possible, and that's it. Will this create more terrorists? Maybe. But the more you destroy the infrastructure and those who are already a part of it, the harder it becomes to rebuild a network of terror. More importantly (and this is something I've wanted to write about for a while), it gives Lebanon a better chance to rebuild their own country. The weaker you make Hezbollah in the short-term, the stronger you make Lebanon's small shot at democracy. One of the keys in this 'war on terror' is to get the average citizen to choose democracy over terror.
People like to point to Iraq and note all the attacks and dead. Those are tragic, of course. But look at what's happening: People are decrying the "imminent civil war" that seems to be coming there. They're missing the message of this - the country of Iraq is split, with a strong majority who truly want to see the terrorists destroyed vs. a small group of terrorists [say, 1-2% of the country] who carry out despicable actions. Everyone is so focused on the deaths that they're ignoring the fact that Iraqis - when finally given the opportunity - are choosing democracy over terror.
When you *know* that your polling place has a 10% chance of being blown up that day, would you go? I doubt it. Most Iraqis went anyway.
Will we vanquish terrorists? No, there will always be some. We need to weaken those that are around as much as possible - not because this will help us 'rid the world of terrorism', but because we can't let ourselves be ruled by terror - whether in the form of Bin Laden, Nasrallah, or people like Saddam Hussein.
The weaker terror is, the stronger democracies can get. The stronger they get, the weaker support for terror gets; the weaker the dictators get; the stronger the cries for reform get; the stronger chance of democracy has in those countries. It's a long process, and we can't let the instantaneous media reporting of death stop us in the process.
But the more you destroy the infrastructure and those who are already a part of it, the harder it becomes to rebuild a network of terror.ReplyDelete
Networks of terror don't need infrastructure. On the contrary -- they thrive in countries without infrastructure. Destroying the infrastructure of the host country while increasing recruitment for the terrorist group is the worst possible action.
More importantly (and this is something I've wanted to write about for a while), it gives Lebanon a better chance to rebuild their own country.
There is no way Lebanon turns out more democratic because of this. Do you think more or fewer Lebanese support Hezbollah now that Israel has killed so many of their civilian friends and family members?
I can't believe that before Israel responded they hated Hezbollah and now they love them. Whether it is because of their internal propaganda over Jews, Christians, and other infidels or not, they normal civilians have never seemed to have so much love for us. Again, all the arguments you, JA, are making are premised on the fact that "extreme" measures are exacerbating terrorism is hollow. Did we provoke them before the 79 revolution? The Kobar Towers? The Marine Barracks? USS Cole, etc... In fact, we didn't respond for 20 years - all the while, they have grown, become stronger and more pervasive. This all happened way before 9/11. Actually, what did we do before 9/11? Nothing except appeasement and a hands off policy. One of the things that bin laden specifically pointed to was our fecklessness in Somalia for his belief that we would do nothing. Same thin with Hezbollah. I agree that our responses feeds into their scheme and to the extent it may stir up even more hatred for us, you're right. BUT, we certainly didn't create it. They did and they have managed to cultivate it without us feeding into it. So to that extent, I don't see the benefit of holding back for fear that we may upset them even more. How much angrier can they get after having already slammed planes into our buildings? What, they're going to use bigger bombs? If we agree just go away or "be nice" to them, they'll only nuke one of our cities instead of three? One way or the other, we'll have to fight them - whether we actually accomplish anything or not notwithstanding. I'd rather do it offensively rather than defensively. That, however, doesn't mean carpet bombing "all of them," but it does mean taking the golves off and using every tool we have to relentlessly pursue and kill terrorists before they try to kill us.ReplyDelete
Networks of terror don't need infrastructure. On the contrary -- they thrive in countries without infrastructure.ReplyDelete
You're mixing two different things: I'm talking about destroying the *terror* infrastructure, you're talking about the country's. And that's exactly my point: By weakening the terrorists, it allows the country to build up its own.
Destroying the infrastructure of the host country while increasing recruitment for the terrorist group is the worst possible action.
If you're referencing Iraq, there was no 'good' infrastructure in place. There are - even now - less deaths per year from terror than there were under Saddam, the difference being that now we actually hear about it. We had to dismantle his infrastructure and start building a completely new one. Considering it has been just a couple of years, we're doing an incredible job. Will it take time? Sure. Will terror thrive in the meantime? Yep. Should we have been better prepared? Yes. But it doesn't change what we need to do now, which is fight them harder than we are.
There is no way Lebanon turns out more democratic because of this.
It's not any less democratic - allowing a terror org to kidnap soldiers from a neighboring country when that org is a part of the govt is not the mark of a free country, but one under the control of the terrorists.
Do you think more or fewer Lebanese support Hezbollah now that Israel has killed so many of their civilian friends and family members?
Lebanese civilians? I'd guess they pretty much hate everyone at this point. The ones whose homes and bodies were used by Hezbollah are probably a hell of a lot madder at Hezbollah.