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We have provided the means for unending terrorism

Reader comment on item: How Much Should Israel Fear ISIS?
in response to reader comment: ISIS and AlQaeda leaders must be tried in absentia and sentenced to die

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Jul 20, 2016 at 16:29

Hi, Prashant. You said,

"Is their any law in the books of these countries to punish a foreigner who orders the killing of one of their citizens?"

The problem with ISIS, in this regard, is that the people carrying out the attacks -- the raging truck driver in Nice, for instance -- are apparently not in some "chain of command". The recent attacks did not require a direct order: Ramadan is a built-in trigger in Islam, for all Muslims to carry out simultaneous attacks. The attacks themselves then create a "wave" of violence; and opportunistic attacks can then ride this crest. Symbols of national identity and peaceful community activity then make excellent targets; such as the Boston Marathon, the Tour de France, the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and, of course, Bastille Day. It's all part of a generalized plan, that does not require micromanaging.

This is "assymetric warfare", where one side plays by one set of rules and the other side plays by another. A similar situation happened in the early Colonial days in New England. An Indian called "King Philip" gathered several tribes together to fight a genocidal war against white settlers. The women and children were all pooled in one camp, where the local Narraganset chief (nominally neutral) had a peace agreement with Roger Williams, Governor of Rhode Island. As long as the Indians fought in all-male bands, they could attack isolated white settlements with impunity. Finally, the settlers realized that unless they could exact a price that could be felt upon the Indians, the war would go on indefinitely. They therefore staged a genocidal attack of their own upon the Narraganset village, killing mostly women and children. The war then quickly wore down, King Philip was killed, and the Indians deserted much of southern New England -- leading the way to a surge of white settlement in that area.

World War II was won by equally brutal, presumably "unthinkable" means. Realizing that trying to avoid civilian casualties allowed the German citizenry to support the Nazi regime forever, the Allies began to intentionally firebomb civilian targets in places like Dresden and Hamburg. They copied this process in Japan, culminating in nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war then quickly ended.

As long as the West hamstrings itself with rules of engagement that allow the enemy to freely carry on their struggle, we will continue to lose the war against ISIS. We need to get very brutal: killing innocent civilians, and punishing suspected terrorists without due process. That is how we can win this war. As long as we pretend that we are not really at war, and treat ISIS fighters like ordinary citizen criminals, the war will continue.

That's just the way it is. By the way, there is only one US Presidential candidate who is suggesting that we take steps in this direction, namely, Donald Trump. ...


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