What to do about Terror 

What to do about Terror

More and more, pundits and bloggers are lining up on the questions of what caused the bombings in the UK, and what to do about them.

Lefties, and isolationist Pat Buchanan (in today's Toronto Star: registration), ahve discovered the work of Robert Pape. "Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think...." The secular Marxist Tamil Tigers may have originated the suicide bombing using a vest, and the Palestinians who took it up had little to do with Islamic fundamentalism. The most consistent theme with groups using this tactic is to cause a democracy to withdraw its forces from a specific territory. That doesn't mean it is always easy or right to withdraw; some Palestinians obviously want the Israelis to "withdraw" from all of Israel. But to a remarkable extent, where withdrawal has occurred, suicide bombings have ceased or almost ceased: for example, U.S. and French troops withdrawing from Lebanon, and Israel pulling back to a six-mile buffer zone.

Glenn Reynolds, not surprisingly, takes the pro-war position: it is Western societies that have lost their will to fight and win that invite attack. The correct response is always the same: show our determination and toughness, and fight again. This approach could be expected to show a certain lack of concern as to which countries, exactly, it is right to attack; Bush has shown exactly that lack of concern or awareness, and Reynolds still seems to have no problem with that.

There is obviously a left-wing version of Savanorala's line, as cited by Machiavelli: the war that comes to us is a punishment for our sins. But there is also a right-wing version, which allows people to think they are tough and ruthless like Machiavelli: it is our softness and lack of preparedness that have invited attack.

To the extent that we know what Bin Laden knows or thinks about anything, he seems to have become very concerned about U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, allegedly desecrating the sites that are holiest to Moslems. By comparison he has never said much about the Palestinians, or "Islamic fundamentalism" in general. The Bushies in the White House seem to have quietly acknowledged all this--I believe they have been dismantling U.S. bases in Saudi, in favour of new ones in Qatar, Bharain, and now Iraq. Yet they allow their supporters to keep saying "we've got to be tough! no backing down!" while justifying the war in , er, Iraq.

It may or not have been true right after 9/11 that we had all become Israelis. Today the resemblance between us and Israelis seems stronger.

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