Think back, if you can, to the time before the tragic attacks on 9/11/2001. Back before news reports of bombings, massacres, and violence became daily occurrences. Back when former President George W. Bush first declared the “War on Terror” fifteen years ago, hardly anyone thought that terrorism would be an even larger issue fifteen years later (Source). Despite countless bombings, military operations and invasions throughout most of the middle-east, terrorism does not appear to be going away anytime soon.
Many politicians and news personalities claim that we are simply not dropping enough bombs. Usually these individuals consider themselves to be”hard” and argue that the whole problem can be solved by simply using more military force, and anyone who disagrees is simply “soft” or a bleeding-heart. While those “hard” individuals preach a tough rhetoric, they are almost never the ones that would be actually going to war. In case you are, or know one of these people, please realize that there is literally absolutely nothing tough or hard about talking tough, while you send other people to do the fighting for you. Unless… maybe by “hard” they are referring to their heads! You would have to be pretty dense to not realize that we have literally been bombing the hell out of suspected terrorists for fifteen years. Despite the over 2 million casualties in the middle-east, and countless bombs dropped, terrorism is a larger issue than ever before. How long does it take to realize that a strategy isn’t working? Apparently in the case of the War on Terror, fifteen years has not been long enough.
In order to start thinking of real potential solutions to terrorism, we need to first understand what causes terrorism in the first place. Contrary to the propaganda claiming that all terrorists are on a mission to destroy freedom and democracy, most terrorist see themselves as freedom fighters, defending their homeland (Source). Another misconception (covered in the previous source also) is that religious fanaticism is itself the cause of terrorism. The fact is that there is no single “cause” of terrorism, but rather a series of conditions that allow terrorism to thrive. Conditions such as poverty, lack of jobs, poor living conditions, and resentment towards an invading force are among the major conditions that seem to breed terrorists(Source). Unfortunately, the U.S. led campaign throughout the middle-east has produced the perfect environment for extremism to thrive. Think about it for a second, how would you react to having your home destroyed, and family members killed by a drone from a foreign country, because your neighbor was a suspected terrorist? Whenever you hear the term “collateral damage” this is exactly the kind of situation that is being described.
If we are ever going to stop terrorism we need to take a step back and look at the issue as objectively as possible. The sad truth is that it looks like there is no easy solution, and unfortunately, there will undoubtedly be countless more deaths before The War on Terror is finally over. While I do not have a simple solution to propose myself, I do know one thing; more bloodshed is not going to solve this problem, it will only propetuate the cycle of violence. Check out the video link below from VICE to learn more about this topic.
Contributed by F.B.