Terrorism is something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. I make no claims to be an expert nor to have any special trick/insight on this. But I have this platform and the opportunity to share some thoughts with you.
Prior to 911 I was one of those people who thought that eventually terrorists would hit the U.S. I wasn’t happy about that and hoped to be wrong.
I am old enough to remember some of the chaos that surrounded the US in the early 70s. I remember hearing about Vietnam, Watergate, Patty Hearst and more. I was around 10 when the hostage crisis broke out in Iran and I remember hearing many different things about the US. It was the first time that I really remember realizing that there were people who didn’t like America.
But terror was not a new thing to me because I had heard the stories about Munich and other events surrounding Israel. I knew that there were bad people who did nasty things.
And by the time Tim Mcveigh and company got involved in the Oklahoma City bombing I was very much aware of terror. In truth I had been through a couple of scares in Israel in ’85 so I knew it on a personal level as well as the distant.
I have been down the path on which I felt badly about terror and spent time looking inward and trying to ask what we could have done to have caused so much anger in people and I have been on the far side of that too.
Now I sit in the middle. I think that it is important to understand the motivation of these terrorist. There may be things that we can learn to help mitigate the problem, but as I have blogged about so many times I understand how ideology plays a role too.
Terrorists use fear. They thrive on it, feed off the pain and sorrow, suckle on it like candy. Fear is one of their biggest assets. So it seems natural to me that a core part of fighting terror is to demonstrate that fear is not going to motivate the action that the terrorists needs and or desires.
I think that it is ok to say that you are afraid to die, that you are concerned for your family and friends welfare too, but in spite of your fair you will not relent. You need to establish clear boundaries or you risk it all.
A friend of mine argued that this position only makes the terrorist more dangerous, that they will try for bigger and larger casualty counts but I do not buy that argument. Once you give in there is no going back.
There are no easy answers here, no Hollywood endings, life is too complex for that.