Terrorism: Offense needed

A few days ago, worldwide news outlets were reporting about leaked diplomatic documents claiming that Al-Qaida has obtained nuclear material and recruited rogue scientists to build “dirty” bombs, suggesting they are on the verge of producing radioactive weapons. A leading atomic regulator has suggested that we are on the brink of a “nuclear 9/11”. Specifically, it is believed that jihadi groups are also close to producing “workable and efficient” biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

This is a plausible threat, especially when expressed this clearly. If the underlying facts are true, that terrorists have obtained such weapons, then the rest is not much of a stretch. I don’t doubt the existence and willingness of so-called “rogue scientists” to build these weapons of mass destruction, and terrorists’ complete disregard for the value of human life round off the destruction trifecta. The conclusion, that these weapons could “kill thousands”, might even be a conservative estimate.

After arriving at these realizations, I experienced fear for a few seconds before defiantly saying to myself, aloud, “live your life. Don’t live in fear; that’s exactly what they want and it serves no useful purpose.”

Then I wondered why we are in this predicament in the first place. I have only one logical explanation: we are so afraid to act, to do what we know needs to be done, and the terrorists are using this to their advantage.”

Despite Osama Bin Laden’s numerous videos threatening to kill Americans (and more), Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s clear and unambiguous threats to “wipe Israel off the map”, and Hamas and Hezbollah threats to attack any Israeli with homicide bombs, there are people among us who say that we should sit back and do nothing; that we should wait before acting.

Iran is enriching uranium for nuclear materials. They tell the media and the West that it is for peaceful, energy-related purposes while they scream “death to Israel” and we sit back.

I can’t understand this argument. The President wants to “wipe Israel from the map” and Iran is enriching materials that can be used for a weapon to accomplish that exact goal (while also killing MILLIONS of people). Despite these facts, bleeding hearts want us to negotiate with these people.

No! This is ridiculous. There is a time and place for war, and that is in response to threats to yours and your people’s health, security, and in this case, existence. We need a major, drastic policy change, and we need democratic world leaders with the courage (read: balls) to send a clear message.

Unambiguously, I submit that anyone who clearly threatens the life, health, or security of another should be open to being killed to prevent them from carrying out their threat.

Enough with this wait-and-see approach to protecting our societies. Being reactive only increases the death and destruction, and the innocent victims deaths cannot be reversed by after-the-fact courage and sorry-filled regrets.

Evil, threatening, racists do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Peace and freedom-loving countries have a responsibility to show that their word commitment to these life principles is backed up by decisive action. Peaceniks be damned. I refuse to “talk nicely” to someone who threatens another’s existence.

Let world democratic powers demonstrate clearly that threats are not going to be taken lightly and are not going to be tolerated as a way to inflame tensions and rally sympathizers to your cause. “I didn’t mean that I want to kill people” or “It’s a figure of speech” is not an excuse for threats of any kind, let alone death or, worse, genocide. Let our unconditional and unquestioning response to these people be a clear message that these kinds of threats are unacceptable, even as “jokes”. No exceptions.

Through our indifference, we have trivialized the seriousness of threats. We should never, ever, tolerate a child saying “I’ll kill you” to another child in the schoolyard because one played with the other’s ball. We have created a slippery slope. If we are going to allow a leader of a country to threaten an entire people, we are implicitly telling someone that they can threaten the life of another person who slept with their partner or stole their car, or that it is acceptable to threaten someone’s life because you disagree with their political views. (It seems, in the case of James Eric Fuller, who shouted “You’re dead!” to a Tea Party leader in Tucson, Arizona, that a threat will only lead to an arrest if enough people hear it because you said it on a nationally broadcast program.)

Threatening someone’s life must NEVER be acceptable. 

Growing up, I was picked on. After one incident in elementary school, my parents gave me firm and clear advice: DO NOT pick a fight; but if someone starts a fight with you, do what you need to do to END IT. This is very sound advice that desperately needs to be applied in the most crucial fights in the biggest arena there is – the world.

They say that a good defense wins sports contests. This analogy makes sense, figuratively, but consider that, in reality, good defense only works to prevent the opponents from scoring. Without a productive offense, even the best defense can’t win, and even the best defenses break down or have lapses after time. We need a plan of attack; a good offense! 

Our current strategy is akin to an all-star 11-man soccer team made up completely of defenders. Some are named “Airport Security”, some “Peacekeepers” but they are all stationed in the defensive zone. They are doing a very good job so far of keeping the offense away from the goal. They have stopped thousands of shots, but each time even one gets through, hundreds or thousands of people die. Despite blocking many, many, attempts, this team is incapable of scoring because they never attack. We have no offense, and therefore we cannot win. We can merely delay being scored on.

Even more worrysome is that our defense lives in plain sight, while the offense goes into hiding to plan their next move, knowing how our protection is configured. We’re sitting ducks, and if we continue this reactive approach, listening to idealist and non-confrontational people who preach peace without ever considering the context or the necessary alternatives, they will eventually find a way around our defenses, on their time, on their schedule, to our complete surprise.

History has taught us that people who threaten others MUST be taken seriously. We have learned that, unchecked, they will make good on their threats to kill those they have threatened. Sadly, world leaders lacked courage and as a result, World War II and the Holocaust claimed over 6 million lives. Other genocides have taken place despite clear warnings and threats, while the world stood idly by.

Say what you will about President George W. Bush, but when Saddam Hussein started playing the WMD guessing game, the President did not accept any part of it. Alone, without the blessing or support of the United Nations, the United States government stood up and said ENOUGH!

The debate about whether there was or was not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will go on for many years, but I submit that it is irrelevant. Hussein threatened to kill people – his own people – and someone had to protect them. Thankfully, the United States took the courageous high road, despite much “moral” opposition and the sacrifice of many soldiers, and played offense – scoring the goal that ended that game.

Somebody had to.

For the record, I prefer peace but understand that war is a necessary evil; a card to be played only at specific, calculated times. Terrorists need to be shown clearly that there are consequences to their threats. Our laws must be used to protect law-abiding citizens first, not to prevent us from acting against enemies. Our rules are handcuffing us and they are laughing.

We must remove the moral handcuffs from states who want to eradicate the world from terror. Let them do what needs to be done to take back control. I would rather be alive and safe and have people think of me as a heartless hardliner than be remembered as a soft, sweet person at my funeral – if the nuclear explosion left anyone at all to eulogize me.

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2 Comments

  1. I surprise myself by writing this, because usually I knee-jerk disagree with most of your political opinions (:-), but this time I actually agree with many of your points. The one thing I wonder though is, if countries go after terrorists, what is the way to stop the cycle of violence? You know how it goes: people are killed, they become martyrs, other terrorists take their place, etc. What is the way to really stop the spread of terrorism? Are there other avenues that should be used as well as offence?

  2. Thank you for your comment, Leetal.

    The definite negative of this offense-based approach is that it creates a cycle of violence, like you mentioned. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s light years better than our current approach.

    Your assertion that violence will create martyrs is a possibility given the terrorists’ culture but, if creating a martyr through an offensive, pre-emptive action stemming from their threat saves hundreds or thousands of lives, I think that’s a justifiable price to pay.

    I am hoping that, with this kind of attack approach, terrorists will learn that their “success” won’t come easy. More importantly, if they know that their words can get them killed, they may speak less about their murderous plans and, will less talk comes fewer opportunities for recruitment. Less recruitment might actually reduce the number of future terrorists and let a more modern, open generation take the place of the current extremism that plagues us.

    As to your question of other possible avenues. I can’t see any at the moment, but that does not mean that none exist. If you or anyone have a better idea, present it. It can’t hurt.

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