the evolution of terrorism

The threat in the middle east from Islamic fanatics continues to expand while the world asks why. Few have taken the time to research the "whys" of fanaticism preferring instead to focus on whether we should or should not get involved in another protracted struggle against evil-doers.  Perhaps it is time for world leaders to really look into the heart and soul of the problem in order to better understand what it might take to eradicate it. Let's pretend that the problem exists in a different era, involving a different class of people. Let's pretend we are in Chicago or New York in the 1930's and a certain group of "fanatics" have decided that the way to make lots of money, while protecting ones "family", was to do things that were against the law. These same individuals have strong family roots and values that are deeply engrained, with the preferred religion being Catholicism. The members of the family kill, rape, torture, rob etc., but at some point realize they are mortal, and ask "forgiveness" for their sins, knowing that once they are absolved, they can continue their evil ways, periodically asking for absolution...just in case.  If the Islamic fanatics do indeed believe that the apocalyptic "end of times" is upon us and preach and indoctrinate impressionable youth with their version of what is inevitable, then perhaps, like the "family" above, the impressionable youngsters feel that their last chance hope of being with their prophet as the world ends, is to become a "martyr" through the destruction of themselves and others as dictated by their beliefs. If the fanatics are actually focusing their propaganda on an "end of days" scenario, it will be quite difficult to convince these brain-washed individuals that have previously led an unholy life, that anything else will get him/her into "paradise" short of matyrdom. This is the problem the world faces. How does one undo a continuous littany of propaganda that is faith based and supported with written words from their own Koran, regardless of whether those words are taken out of context or not applicable to modern society?  Without some sort of major influence from Muslim clerics that have influence over all Muslims (like the Pope having influence over all Catholics), things will NEVER get better. The world needs to come to terms with the power of a religion in regions where other influences are or have been eliminated, resulting in a vacuum filled only with the rhetoric of Jihad.

a different tactic

The war on terrorism is far from over, however perhaps it is time to reassess our approach to dealing with the problem. Although many, including some of our "leaders", would prefer to ignore the situation and hope it goes away or that the terroristic Islamists will learn a kinder and gentler way of interacting with the rest of the world, the fact is that thousands of years of tribal mentality is not going to change over the course of a few years or even decades. The simple act of terrorism not only attracts religious fanatics, but also holds a special place for those who are criminally insane. Those kinds of people relish the opportunity to torture and bring misery to others so a terroristic state is exactly what they desire. Since little can be done to change these two classes of people short of killing them all...and that literally means ALL OF THEM..then perhaps we should re-think our approach to the middle east and what brought us there in the first place. Since the early 20th century, the only thing that was of interest in these barren lands of nomadic tribes was, and still is, oil. Perhaps a better approach is for a western coalition to take control of all oil fields, refineries, and shipping ports in the warring countries that have no peaceful ruling government, and protect the resources for world use (and stability), sharing the revenue with the host country while retaining what is needed to provide the security. Let the 'tribes' fight among themselves until they finally realize that war is not the answer for them as a people, much less as a tribe. The globalization of information will eventually lead those people, as it has done with others, to realize that freedom and freedom of choice is worth owning and sharing. Will there be terrible human rights violations? Certainly...but those violations are part of human nature and the history of mankind whether we wish to recall it, or discuss it, or not.  Change among these people, fanatics as well as others, must come from within unless the "kill them all" attitude is taken. I'm not sure the west is ready for that....yet.