Monday, January 17, 2005

Defending Against The Reckless Hate of Islam

This does not inspire much confidence in Homeland Security (hat tip: Instapundit); and this is just plain scary (forgive the pun). If true, it could really dampen your enthusiasm about air travel.

These stories got me thinking about the whole issue of homeland security, terrorists who want to kill us, and fear. I know I'm not alone in worrying about these issues. From the sad economic situation with the major air carriers, I suspect that I am not the only one who looks askance at airline travel since 9/11. It would be foolish to admit there isn't a frisson of fear that invades my mind whenever I make travel arrangements for myself or my family. It's like an extra worry burden that was never present before we as a nation became aware that we were at war with an irrational and insane bunch of religious fanatics who are willing to kill themselves in order to kill us. As Theoden asks Aragorn in the movie "The Two Towers", "What can men do against such reckless hate?"

Careful considerations makes me realize that there is little we can do against the reckless, and intense hatred that is directed against us by the jihadi extremists. That is precisely why they have settled on tactics that include suicide murder attacks, beheading and other forms of terror. They know they cannot win in a conventional war, so they choose to use unconventional and seemingly irrational methods to achieve their goal of enslaving humanity to their religious vision. But they are only irrational if you fail to consider what they believe. For them, death is a GOOD thing; one that is longed for and has rewards waiting for the faithful. In their twisted logic, by killing themselves and us they are doing both a favor. I must always remember that the sickest paranoid delusional person I treat is also logical if you consider that what he thinks and believes is logically derived from his basic premises. But it is those premises that are out of touch with reality and the essence of his insanity.

I have come to discover that there is no logical manner to protect onself 100% against such thinking and the behavior that flows from it. Our society has put in safeguards, after all, to try to prevent suicide--we are even willing to violate people's rights by hospitalizing them involuntaily and medicating them involuntarily--all to protect them from themselves. We have police departments in every city whose job is also to prevent loss of life. You would think that because of all these dedicated people trying to prevent suicide and homicide, that these two problems would not be a major issue in our society. You would be incorrect. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds, with homicide being the second.

While it is true that suicide has gone down almost 10% in the last decade; and homicide decreased almost 30% --our society is nowhere near eradicating such behavior. An individual truly committed to killing himself or herself; or dedicated to killing someone else can accomplish their mission, if not with ease, then with cunning, perserverance, and knowing the system.

Unfortunately, this is all that it takes for terrorists to do the same. What ever roadblock we put up, the dedicated terrorist will find an alternate route. If we make it impossible for them to act on their hatred by using planes; they will turn to trains. If we target only men, they will recruit women. If we carefully screen Middle Eastern men, they will recruit deluded citizens of countries we don't suspect. This is not to say that such methods might not decrease their ability to carry out their despicable plans. They have and they do. Witness the fact that there have been no terrorist attacks in this country since 9/11. I feel sure in asserting that Bin Laden or other lunatic terrorist leader had been able to do their worse, they would have.

And, of course, they still might. All it takes is cunning and perseverence and knowing the system. So as a reasonable person, I am inclined to resign myself to the inevitable attack that will not be able to be prevented by even the most vigilant Department of Homland Security. By and large, our security rests on our own shoulders, and we should take that responsibility seriously. We are at war, and perhaps the best thing I can do is to be aware of my own local circumstances at all times; and to support a president who is willing to fight that war. Other than that, I choose to do the worse possible thing to the Islamofascist fanatics and their terror - not let it interfere with my daily life. I may feel some fear, but I won't let the bastards keep me from doing what I want. In that, they have failed dismally.

Again, resorting to the Lord of the Rings, from the same scene quoted before-- Aragorn answers Theoden's heartfelt cry by turning to him and saying, "Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them."

And isn't that what we have done?

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