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So how *do* we beat terrorism?

49 replies

SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 14:30

I have been reading about this a lot and have read lots of views that are generally either one extreme (we must pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately and sort out isreal) to the other (the terrorists themselves are to blame - nothing we could have done. reading between the lines seems to suggest we keep fighting in the way we have been by invading more countries.)

So what do we, the great mumsnet policy think-tank, think?

I'll have to organise my thoughts slightly before I can post my view (read "rant")

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hercules · 10/07/2005 14:32

Ooerr, nice and light then for a hot day!

No idea, part of me wonders about the West's policies in other countries being the cause and the other part of me thinks there will always be terrorists no matter what the West does.

SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 14:42

There was a comment piece in the Graun yesterday which pretty much summed up how I feel about it.

Essentially: there will always be fanatical lunatics who believe that the world should be run according to a rather fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law/that Britain or the US should only be populated by particular ethnic groups/that the Spanish should leave the basque country/whatever. However, those people will, in general, only manage to organise themselves to the point that they can actually do anything about it when the society in which they live is fragmented and distrustful - in particular when the majority of the population see those in power as untrustworthy (although the majority of the population doesn't generally support terrorism in any society)

That kind of society exists in many mainly Islamic countries at the moment, for various reasons: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and its effects have spread to some muslim communities in other parts of the world.

What we need to do is to address that mistrust. Strong handed tactics will only make it worse. I don't mean we should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan (although we should do so as soon as we are no longer needed), but a little more care, and more honesty would go a long way. This thing is going to take years to solve whatever we do.

The man in the graun put it better, but I can't find it online.

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Caligula · 10/07/2005 14:51
  1. Address the causes.

2. Cut off the tacit support among a population who won't shop them because they have sympathy with their aims.

You do 2 by doing 1.

There may always be lone nutters who target non-combatants. But to sustain a successful terrorist network over a long period of time, like the ETA or the IRA or Likud or the ANC, you need a groundswell of people who are sympathetic to your cause and who will tacitly support you, whether that be by donating money, providing safe houses or turning a blind eye when you're next door making bombs. And of course, such a population will always produce the next generation of terrorists and apologists for their methods and aims, as well as supporters.
SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 14:53

that's what I meant, cali

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Caligula · 10/07/2005 15:02

I wonder whether al Qaeda do have such a groundswell of support though? They're always presented as lone nutters, but they must come from somewhere.

I suppose the difference with them as well, is the international nature of the threat - it's not confined to one country, either from the point of recruits or targets.

SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 15:05

You do read about unfairness towards other muslim communities in the press every day though. From the bombing of iraqi cities (why was that necessary exactly?) to abuse of prisoners and civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Palestine.

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HappyDaddy · 10/07/2005 19:35

Let's attack those who harbour terrorists. Shame no-one pointed out to Mr Bush that his country supported the IRA for decades, eh?

Until we sort out our foreign policies we'll always be a target of anger to someone or other. The best way to beat them is to engage all people and make them feel included in our way of life. If they feel included they will have less cause to hate us.

wobblyknicks · 10/07/2005 19:41

Hate to sound like a lily-livered pacifist (don't think I am) but a few terrorists from 'over there' come 'over here' and kill/injure a few hundred people - we go 'over there' and kill a few thousand people, yet they're terrorists and we're heroes. ok, we think we're right but so do they! The only way to cut down on terrorists is to stop reacting like they do, stop bombing everything in sight and start negotiating properly. No-one ever gets anything out of terror attacks that they couldn't get out of diplomacy - it just takes more effort.

HappyDaddy · 10/07/2005 19:46

Wobblyknicks one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, as they say.

wobblyknicks · 10/07/2005 19:49

Exactly - how can we seriously blame them for doing the same as us, to a lesser extent in most cases! I'm not trying to condone what happened in london in ANY way but you just have to look at the states - kids start off hitting each other and end up shooting each other - tit for tat is not the answer.

tortoiseshell · 10/07/2005 19:55

I honestly don't believe these terrorists even have a cause. I think causing these large scale tragedies that dominate the news makes them feel important - there is their work for all to see.

When September 11th happened, it was before the toppling of the Taleban, before the invasion of Iraq. They mentioned Palestine and America's support of Israel as being a reason, but given that Palestine is now SO much closer to having an independent state, largely fought for by Tony Blair, I don't believe that that was a reason.

Osama bin Laden was given his 'power' by the Americans. When Russia invaded Afghanistan in the 70s (I think) America paid and armed Osama bin Laden to wage a guerilla war against them. When the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan in about 1979/80, he formed Al Qaeda, I think because America stopped funding and arming him, and began to look for targets for jihad. His given reason for America was always that they were 'trespassing' in the 'holy land' of Saudi Arabia (bin Laden's homeland).

What could we do about it? I really don't think there's anything we can do. It's not like an Irish situation - they have no cause, and are not trying to gain popularity - they simply want to make themselves feel powerful by causing these terrible atrocities, and will continue to do so whatever we do. So the only answer is ever increasing security, and vigilance, and not allowing it to wreck our lives through being too terrified to live.

HappyDaddy · 10/07/2005 19:56

Wobblyknicks, the problem with Al-Qaeda is that they hide behind religion and certain countries to justify their acts. Unlike the IRA, they are not a defined country or group of people, they seem to follow a loose ideology.

wobblyknicks · 10/07/2005 20:04

But we know the basics about them, they are Islamic and as such have far FAR stronger beliefs in their faith than 'Westerners' generally. I don't mean they believe in their faith more but that they are prepared to do more to 'defend' that faith. We'd have to think very carefully about dying for what we belive, they'd do it without barely a second thought. We're a bit more apathetic until it comes to 'getting rid of the enemy'.

The only way to really combat it is understanding what they want and how to get to a balance - NOT by invading countries until we stop getting attacked - attack is NOT the best form of defence, its just the most convienient.

You mentioned the IRA HD, they killed loads of people but we negotiated, locked some of them up but didn't go around bombing them - was that just because they were only a few miles away? That's sick IMO, that people who are closer get my effort than people who are further away - what sort of sense is that?

Sorry, I know I just started to ramble but not sure I should try and rephrase it in case it gets worse!

HappyDaddy · 10/07/2005 20:07

Wobblyknicks, they are not Islamic. They pretend to be and hide behind it but realy Muslims believe that ANY violence is wrong.

Actually we did bomb the IRA, the SAS hunted lots of them down. Unfortunately they were funded by the US and killing them made more martyrs.

Pressure from within their own communities will help stop the anger and violence.

happymerryberries · 10/07/2005 20:11

The current crop of 'Islamic' terrorists trot out all the usual excuses for their vile behaviour, the plight of the palistinians etc etc. But what they want is the complete distruction of Western Liberalism and the imposition of their own distorted vision of Islam.

I fully agree that they are not realy muslims and that islam does not direct their actions.

But what they want is not, IMHO, negotiable.

wobblyknicks · 10/07/2005 20:12

But we didn't treat the IRA anything like this, didn't send in troops the moment they did anything, didn't get an army together and go and kill anything Irish.

Have to agree to disagree about Muslims, the faith might preach non-violence but I've read a lot of lit, and met a couple, that said if its in defence of the faith or believers then its alright really.

My point is if we retaliate with an eye for an eye it kills innocent people, which is wrong regardless of actions, faith or race, and make it look as though their cause was right all along.

SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 20:12

tortoiseshell - I disagree.

Palestine isn't really very close to a state anyway, but any progress that has been made has been made since 2001. Remember the US has effectively armed Israel for a long time.

Don't get me wrong - I know that ultimately the terrorists themselves are responsible, but as i said below, in order to function terrorists need broad sympathy among a large number of people. and many people in many muslim areas (I would say "countries", but Palestine is a prime example) do hate the US - and now, it seems, the UK - with a vengeance. We need to dampen the hatred in order to decrease the risk of terrorism.

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SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 20:13

actually, wk, we did (send the troops in to Northern Ireland when the troubles kicked off).

One of the main reasons the peace process has worked as well as it has was because we pulled the army out again.

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SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 20:14

HMB - I'm not suggesting negotiating with the terrorists. I think we should remove their support, and the only way to do that is by non-aggressive means.

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happymerryberries · 10/07/2005 20:16

Oh I agree. they best thing that could happen is that young peole in the countries that suppy the terrorists should get a good, non faith education and a job at the end of it!

Nothing like having something to live for to stop you turning yourself into a monomaniac , suicde bomber!

wobblyknicks · 10/07/2005 20:17

Sorry, by 'troops' I meant the full scale armed-to-the-teeth, can-we-get-the-nukes-out-now-please-sir we saw in Iraq, where the slightest, tiniest hint of a terrorist in hiding and they'd blow up a village. The troops in Ireland were a little more than 'peace keeping troops' but nothing like that, no way.

But totally agree about peace relying on pulling the army out. Why are we still in Iraq, why do we insist on trying to run every country we can get our hands on? That's not the way to calm down the climate of hate fueling the terrorists.

tortoiseshell · 10/07/2005 20:17

Senorapostrophe - that's what I mean - the fact the progress has been made since 2001 - if that were a cause, why would the terrorism continue? I honestly honestly believe they are using religion as an excuse. Islam is not about killing people, in the same way that Christianity did not justify the Crusades.

SenoraPostrophe · 10/07/2005 20:37

It is an excuse, but there are fanatical members of other religions too - it's just that they don't have broad support in their communities (in general).

I thought you were talking about the reasons given for the WTC attacks (Israel was mentioned a lot then). If you're talking about yesterday's attacks then I would have thought Iraq and Afghanistan were bigger culprits - 100s of civilians dead in both countries, many avoidable. Plus the anti-muslim feelings that have errupted in the US and the UK since 2001 might have played their part, don't you think?

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HappyDaddy · 10/07/2005 20:44

Wobbly, sorry but even in defence of the faith or beleivers violence is wrong, under Islam. Only in immediate self defence is it allowed. As soon as any forward planning takes place, not just an instant knee jerk reaction, then it is murder and wrong.

The brainwashed wrongly believe that they are going to heaven when they kill or make martyrs of themselves.

tortoiseshell · 10/07/2005 20:46

hd - going straight to heaven with 99 virgins isn't it???

Sp - sorry wasn't clear - was replying to suggestion that 9/11 was because of Iraq/Afghanistan

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