Excellent post, thanks.
I took the liberty of reposting it on a small forum I am a part of (with full credit to authour and Strager/Slog of course).
Fascinating. Also somewhat disturbing.
Considering al-Qaeda gets more than 90 percent of it's funding and volunteers from Saudi Arabia, it follows that we need to stop subsidizing oil usage.
Or the terrorists win.
we also need to stop supporting "our bastards" as Truman referred to these "allied" dictators.
do you think the situation in Pakistan would be happening if the US hadn't supported the person who oppressed their civil liberties? maybe, but there is no question that it isn't helping the people of pakistan
kinda like leninism, they are the vanguard working on behalf of what they think are the 'oppressed'
I actually find this kind of thing fascinating.
I don't believe in "evil" in a religious sense. But it is also obvious that it isn't just ignorant dorks blowing themselves up. Terrorists are fanatics. Fanatics are not necessarily stupid. Some of them even learn to fly jetliners. To dismiss terrorists as ignorant can be our undoing.
I would also agree that simple education and economic status isn't the solution. A fanatic with more money and a better education is still a fanatic.
I agree with Krueger's premise that one way to fight terrorism is through protecting civil liberties.
We joke about the religious right in the US as being the "American Taliban". And there is some correlation. Both are fanatic. Both are religiously based. However, the huge difference is that the religious right in the US don't blow themselves up to achieve their goals. They rarely even commit extreme acts of violence. Blowing up a federal building or shooting abortion doctors are an exception, not the rule. Why? For the most part, they believe they can further their causes peacefully. They have a voice (Fox News, anyone?).
For terrorists, violent lashing out is seen as the best means of expressing their grievances, or even the only means. Trying to suppress that through the presence of a huge military force doesn't change that dynamic. It only changes the tactics. That is why waging a "war on terror" though military means isn't working, and cannot work, in the long run.
See also work by Scott Atran.
There will be religious fanatics in any society. And there will be poor and unemployed who feel oppressed. But there is also a middle class of professionals and merchants who tend to be the backbone of a stable society. In much of the Arab world, Iraq and Palestine in particular, these people have been disenfranchised. Saddam may have been a brutal dictator, but day to day, professional people and merchants had a passably comfortable life so long as they kept a reasonably low profile. But in occupied Palestine, they've been driven into refugee camps and had their houses and olive groves bull dozed. In Iraq the reconstruction funds went to Halliburton and Bechtel, not to the local business and professional class. So a large, well educated group, who rightly expected to share in whatever economic well being there was available under Saddam, have been cut out of the picture. And they're understandably pissed. The American middle class would be too if it happened here. Our fatal mistake in the Iraqi occupation was not fostering an indigenous middle class who had an interest in supporting a stable society. Instead we got greedy and wanted it all for ourselves. Now we reap the whirlwind and wonder why they hate us.
If 74% of the unemployed support the attacks, how can they be characterised as less supportive than the illiterates, of whom we only know that 26% oppose attacks? Doesn't that mean a MAXIMUM of 74% of illiterates are in support? Sheesh...
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