What you lose about Islamic terrorism when you read only the headlines

My liberal friend is a headline reader.  That’s why we had a ridiculous conversation in which he wondered about the Fort Hood shooter’s motives.  To the reader who scans, headlines that say “motives a mystery” trump even those articles that add, under the headline, little facts such as Muslim death cries (“Allahu Akbar!”), radical mosques, jihadist internet postings and FBI scrutiny.

I thought of this when a scan of my local paper led me to yet another completely misleading headline today: “Filipino militants behead captive schoolteacher.” The incurious reader, with the MTV or CNN approach to news gathering, is left with the impression that there’s some sort of civil war in the Phillipines, with some of those nasty Filipino’s acting out.  The slightly more inquisitive reader will discover that Al Qaeda lies at the heart of this brutal murder:

Suspected al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines beheaded a schoolteacher after kidnapping him last month, officials said Monday.

The severed head of Gabriel Canizares, 36, was left in a bag at a gas station on Jolo Island, three weeks after suspected Abu Sayyaf militants stopped a passenger minibus and dragged him away in front of his colleagues, said regional military commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino.

The militants, notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings, were reportedly demanding a ransom of 2 million pesos ($42,000) for his release.

What’s fascinating is that the word “Islam” never appears in the article, while the word “Muslim” appears only in what seems to be an irrelevant aside, in the very last paragraph, about student populations in the region:

He said his department was at a loss how to ensure security for public schoolteachers in high-risk areas and feared that the kidnappings would discourage others from teaching underprivileged youths in Muslim areas.

I’ll readily concede that you’d have to have lived under a rock for a long, long time not to appreciate that organizations such as Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (described in the same article as a “Southeast Asian terrorist group”) are Muslim in nature.  Nevertheless, the AP’s deliberately unwillingness to acknowledge that Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah aren’t just coincidentally Muslim, but have as their central tenet the violent advance of their Muslim faith, goes beyond a writer’s desire to avoid larding prose with the obvious.  Instead, the news service is manifestly trying to unlink the groups from religion in the public mind.  To this end, the report carefully carefully gives out the groups’ names, while describing them as “militants” or “terrorists,” the genesis of whose terror or militancy clearly has no known cause.

This obfuscatory, almost fraudulent writing* matters, as we know, because of the media’s frantic effort to de-couple the murderous Hasan of Fort Hood** from his faith.  Jeffrey Goldberg, whose tenure at the Atlantic is going to get shorter and shorter as he keeps stating honest truths,*** has this to say on that subject:

A consensus seems to have formed here at The Atlantic that the Ft. Hood massacre means not very much at all. Megan McArdle writes that “there is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this.” James Fallows says: “The shootings never mean anything. Forty years later, what did the Charles Whitman massacre ‘mean’? A decade later, do we ‘know’ anything about Columbine?”  And the Atlantic Wire has already investigated the motivation for the shooting, and released its preliminary findings. Of Nidal Malik Hasan, the Wire states: “A 39-year-old Army psychiatrist, he appears to have not been motivated by his Muslim religion, his Palestinian heritage (he is American by nationality), or any related political causes.”

It seems, though, that when an American military officer who is a practicing Muslim allegedly shoots forty of his fellow soldiers who are about to deploy to the two wars the United States is currently fighting in Muslim countries, some broader meaning might, over time, be discerned, especially if the officer did, in fact, yell “Allahu Akbar” while murdering his fellow soldiers, as some soldiers say he did. This is the second time this year American soldiers on American soil have been gunned down by a Muslim who was reportedly unhappy with America’s wars in the Middle East (the first took place in Arkansas, to modest levels of notice). And, of course, this would not be the first instance of an American Muslim soldier killing fellow soldiers over his disagreements with American foreign policy; in 2003, Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar killed two officers and wounded fourteen others when he rolled a grenade into a tent in a homicidal protest against American policy.

Please do read the rest of Goldberg’s thoughtful, intelligent and intellectually honest post.   Then think about everything else you’ve read.  And then wonder if the Fort Hood massacre will be the breaking point for the American people, because it will stand as the moment when they can no longer stomach the cognitive dissonance of a media that so assiduously avoids the hard facts playing out in real time before our eyes.


*And it is fraud, as a matter of law, the the speaker deliberately fails to disclose material facts in order to deceive.

**I promised a military friend I wouldn’t use his rank and name together, since he doesn’t deserve that honor.

*** I see Goldberg pulling a John Stossel and seeking a more salubrious and intellectually honest work environment.

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  1. Oldflyer says

    Bingo, Book.  One thing that bothers me is that so many Americans get their “news” via headline and sound bite (not to mention late night comedy).
    It does not take long to realize that headlines frequently do not tell the story accurately; and in fact often are seriously misleading.  One suspects that it is deliberate.

  2. suek says

    I said something about Hasan to my husband yesterday.  He then accused me of being a “narrow minded bigot”.  His proof is that when he asked about the guy in Orlando who had shot someone, I replied that he was crazy.  “Ah ha!” he replied.  The guy in Orlando is crazy, but the muslim is a jihadist.  See?  You’re bigotted.  Any time you hear of a muslim going nuts, you assume it’s due to his religion.
    Ok…so where do you go from there?  First, he doesn’t read the blogs – or even get most of his news online.  Most of his comes from Fox news – which hasn’t had much on the muslim angle until yesterday afternoon, when they did an interview with Lieberman.
    Anyway…we didn’t get very far in our discussion.  He didn’t want to answer some of the questions that would lead to the conclusion that Hasan was in fact a jihadist – rather, in his view, the man was just a coward who couldn’t face going to a war zone.   My questions were: are all jihadists crazy?  _are_ we in a war with muslim extremists?  If a man is an islamic extremist, is he then one of the enemy?
    His questions were: where were his terrorist connections?  Had he traveled overseas?  did he have established internet links to known terrorists?
    I listened to some of Geraldo’s show last night – I can’t stand the man, but he was so extreme in his position which agreed with my husband’s, that I wanted to see where it would go – and it seems to me that the problem – or at least some of it – is in the use of the term “terrorist”.  I’m not sure, but I think that it has taken on the connotation of being part of a political movement being a requirement.  In other words, you can’t be a terrorist if you act alone – even if you’re a political movement sympathist.  This was clear from Geraldo’s use of the term and approach to the shooting incident…if Hasan didn’t have connections to Al Qaeda or the Taliban, then he wasn’t a _terrorist_ – and therefore, he had just had a mental breakdown due to the stress of having to go over to the war zone.  I think that’s pretty much my husband’s position, though it wasn’t that clear when we had our discussion.
    It’s entirely possible that Hasan was a coward and allowed himself to use the justification of religion to convince himself that it was a right and moral thing to refuse to go to a country where he would be engaged in conflict with his brother muslims (though I question how much action against his brother muslims a psychiatrist was going to engage in), and that the internal conflict caused him to snap.  That doesn’t mean that his faith wasn’t the primary cause of shooting his fellow soldiers.  His faith called for jihad, and he answered that call.  He had to choose between being a American soldier and being a muslim, and he chose.
    By the way – my husband was even more outraged/astonished that I should consider that any muslim in the military should be considered a possible infiltrator.  I thought that was an odd reaction for a military man.  That was when I asked him if we were at war with extremist muslims, and he just flat wouldn’t answer.  Dodged the question like a true liberal – which normally, I would say he is not.  His problem is that he served a year in Saudi and learned a respect for the muslims there.  My problem with _that_ is that I think he thought of them as wayward children – it was ok that he couldn’t attend Mass for the year he was there.  They couldn’t celebrate Christmas and Easter because it would offend the muslims.  Women couldn’t drive – but that was ok – it was just their way … and so on.  He excused their positions because it was their custom.  I understand he had to accept their conditions while he lived there – but there was an acceptance of it as being OK that he still has – and that I _don’t_ understand.

  3. SADIE says

    Semantics and political semantics. I must have gone to 6 different sites to get a clear definition of the word, terrorists.  You know, that political mantra… one man’s freedom fighter is the other man’s terrorist. Reports have been ‘bleaching’ the word Islam out and inserting, Muslim.
    Charles Whitman, Mohamed Allen, Jason Rodriquez ‘terrorized’ – were they terrorists? By my definition – absolutely. When one picks up a gun or weapon and intends to kill on an uneven playing field, he’s a terrorist.  Geraldo is a idiot with a ‘time slot’ and to suggest that you need a AQ connection is ludicrous. How many individual suicide bombers have there been in Israel, Olympics in Munich, Chechen terrorists and school children, Madrid, London, Somalia, Kenya – one long  endless list from one end of the world to the other. I think Fox has been a wimp by playing at their tag line – “fair and balanced”.
    If any of us depended on ‘headline’ news for facts, we would be grossly uninformed and misinformed. Book has already spoken to this point about reading headlines and thinking you have the story. If you don’t read down and then fact check, you don’t know diddly. Note: I have paraphrased Book.
    He had to choose between being a American soldier and being a muslim, and he chose.
    The choice took place when he enlisted and that was after the first bombing of the WTC. His parents came from Jordan. I think he mother died within the last few year and he still has family in Israel. There is an on-going investigation with a mosque in Virginia where several of the September 11th hijackers attended. The former imam is now in Yemen (another page of the story still unfolding). Hasan attended the same mosque.
    A year in Saudi and all he took away was, it’s their custom and wayward children. This may be due to being isolated on a base. Doesn’t he know that the Saudis consider him ‘kuffer’. It’s worse than being looked upon as ‘wayward’. Saudi is a country that beheads and then crucifies their own. Does he know, that women, who don’t  ‘behave’ are taken for a ride and dropped off in the desert. Your husband’s adaption (how’s that for PC) may have been because it was in a time frame –  Wonder how he would absorb the reality, if it was more than a year and it wasn’t just him, but you, too and family.

  4. Danny Lemieux says

    Suek, whatever we think of the Jihadis, I don’t think anyone can call them cowards. THis guy Hassan knew he was going to die when he did when he did. We can call them insane or fanatic, vile and/or reprehensible, perhaps, but not cowards. I don’t think that our soldiers fighting the Taliban  in Afghanistan and the Al Qaeda-in-Iraq insurgents  would ever accuse their enemies of cowardice.
    As far as your husband’s views on Islam, have him read the Koran, especially Sura 9. Then discuss it with him. Here’s a good discussion with which to get the conversation started: http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Ask/war.html

  5. Danny Lemieux says

    Suek, in reference to the link above, you might want to ask your husband whether he knows of similar references to and exhortations for brotherly love between all humankind in Christian or Jewish texts.

  6. suek says

    Re: in reference to the link above
    He said to me: “You think that islam is an evil religion”…and I denied it.  Then I thought for a couple of minutes and had to say – “you know – you’re right.  I _do_ think islam is an evil religion.  Tell me _one_ good thing it teaches.”  And fortunately for him, the conversation was interrupted.  We haven’t resumed it, but I found that someone (I’m going to even touch the “who” question!) had put a cut out article from a woman that was printed in the Ventura Star…
    I’ll try to find a link – I really don’t want to try to quote the whole thing, but apropo the thread…the headline of the article is “Quran asks followers to respect other religions”.  Yeah…right.
    >>This may be due to being isolated on a base. Doesn’t he know that the Saudis consider him ‘kuffer’.>>
    No…actually, he managed a hotel for the military in Riyadh, so he wasn’t isolated, and wasn’t on a base.  In fact he had to deal with local arabs as employees – among other things.  I’m not sure what he really knows about islam.  It seems that what he “knows” may have been taught him during his year at DLI, and may be a watered down version, in the sense of being taught as a cultural base, rather than a religious tenet.  In other words, he considers that he _knows_ the koran and that I don’t, and that all the stuff on the internet is just “right wing crazy stuff”.
    The “wayward children” thing is my interpretation of his attitude.  Never a condemnation of behavior that is inexcusable – just “understanding” because “that’s their culture”.  Like the excusing of unacceptable behavior by blacks and Mexicans, I find it a patronizing attitude.  His parents did a lot of traveling, and their attitude was much the same – sort of like visiting animals in the zoo.  It always bothered me.
    Sadie…I don’t think he – or I – were calling jihadi cowards.  He said he though Hasan was a coward, and that’s why he didn’t want to go to Afghanistan or Iraq.  My thought was that if indeed he did fear that, then it might be possible that he turned to religion to give him an excuse that was more acceptable to him than having to admit his personal cowardice.  But you’re right – the fact that he knew he was going to be killed belies the cowardice claim, doesn’t it.  Unless he took a drug before taking his action.  That _is_ the orgin of the term “assassin” – the hashish that they took before starting a mission…   Wonder if they did a drug test on him…

  7. SADIE says

    The drug is called Islam.
    I read the link, talk about ‘cherry picking’ the guy should have a bushel of them.
    Danny made reference to the word ‘coward”  and you should send Mr. suek to Danny’s link.
    Your hubby and his parents views (zoos) is interesting, maybe they saw ‘foreigners’ as a pets as in domesticated ones, like cats and dogs – non threatening. Even so, I agree with you it is patronizing – it’s also naive.

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    In reference to patronizing attitudes about Muslims and Islam, who was the Jew that came out of the Nazi concentration camp, was asked what he had learned, and replied, “when someone says they want to kill you, believe them”?

  9. says

    Editor Correction:

    the the speaker
    To a certain extent, Hasan wasn’t a terrorist. He was a saboteur and traitor. While he waged war on the US’s ability to project military power, by attacking a military force that was preparing to deploy, he also did it wearing our uniform, not the uniform of his own side nor any readily identifiable mark that would substitute for the same. Thus he is an illegal combatant, but unlike a terrorist, he did not target civilians.
    If there is evidence that his target included both military personnel and on base civilians, then he would be a terrorist as well as a spy and saboteur. The punishment, essentially, would be the same regardless. Terrorists should be executed by beheading, the same thing their Koran teaches is adequate and just punishment. What is just for them must also be just for us, because we are simply applying their own standards to their own people.
    Of course, our rulers don’t have the guts to apply any such punishment that would be just, so they settle for unjust punishments. Which is where the semantic fight comes in. If they can catalog this as something of a ‘lesser’ crime, then they can ignore it, because they wish to provide their Islamic allies all the aid they can.

  10. says

    It is totally ridiculous to say that he ‘snapped’ from fear and then decided to wage war and take even greater risks trying to kill people of an organization that had given him every opportunity for advancement.
    Only to a Leftist nincompoop and coward does that make ‘sense’.

  11. SADIE says

    The article speaks for itself – the lawyer’s comment, speaks volumes (gag)
    RICHMOND, Va. – The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block Tuesday’s scheduled execution of sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad.
    The Court did not comment Monday on why it refused to consider his appeal.
    Muhammad is scheduled to die by injection at a Virginia prison for the slaying of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station during a three-week spree in 2002 across Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
    Muhammad and his teenage accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, were also suspected of fatal shootings in other states, including Louisiana, Alabama and Arizona. Malvo is serving a life sentence.
    Muhammad still has a clemency petition before Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.
    Muhammad’s attorney, Jonathan Sheldon, says “Virginia will execute a severely mentally ill man who also suffered from Gulf War Syndrome the day before Veterans Day.”

  12. Ariel says

    I’ve always consider terrorism to have at least two components: 1) a political goal (it can be general or specific, long term or short term);  2) the attack is directed at civilians (or done indiscriminately, such as IEDs along roads).  It does not necessarily need an identified organization behind it. It is done by groups not acting at the direction of another nation’s government.
    I consider the Oklahoma City bombing a terrorist act, homegrown. I have difficulty calling this mass murder at Fort Hood a terrorist act only because it was aimed at soldiers, but do consider it an act of a jihadist.  Hasan has too much history to deny that, and I believe that history negates arguments about his snapping in any way other than going “jihadi”. I also consider it an act of treason.
    The term “freedom fighters” makes me think of the time before the creation of Israel. I don’t remember the history of Irgun or Stern well, but IIRC initially their acts were aimed solely at British military and they were quite careful about it. Guerrilla warfare versus terrorism, they may have morphed at some point, I don’t know. The point is yes it can be muddy.
    As for “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist”. You have to be actually fighting for freedom, for all, and not just to impose your own form of tyranny. Which is why there were no Communist freedom fighters in WWII. Guerrillas yes, freedom fighters no.

  13. SADIE says

    You bring up the ‘other’ word jihadist, carefully edited and bleached along with Islam (no link there-riiiight). Okay, I’ll bite, it was an cowardly jihadist treasonable attack and he will be tried in a military court. I don’t know the last time a military court sentenced anyone to death, but here’s hoping it’s an option.
    It is done by groups not acting at the direction of another nation’s government.
    Except, when it is funded and at the direction of another nation (Lockerbie, Scotland and arms from Iran to Hezbollah via Egypt as two quick examples).

  14. pst314 says

    “feared that the kidnappings would discourage others from teaching underprivileged youths in Muslim areas.”
    Underprivileged? We cannot say poor, because “poor” leaves open the question of why they are poor. Instead we must use a word which implies that their poverty is entirely a matter of victimization. And especially we must not ask if Muslim hostility to education might have something to do with their poverty.

  15. Ariel says

    I’ll give you Lockerbie, and Hezbollah certainly has at least some direction from Iran. The exploding of a plane and the indiscriminate dropping of rockets are definitely acts of terrorism, fitting my two components, but if  those acts are directed or performed by an organization that is an actual arm of another nation, it is moreover an Act of War. I would consider Lockerbie an Act of War by Libya, as should Israel Iran if Iran actually directed the attacks of Hizbollah.
    The reason I left out other nations is twofold: one because we are overall currently dealing with organizations that aren’t an arm of any particular nation’s government and we need to focus on them, and two if they are organizations of another government the act of terrorism becomes an Act of War. We need to distinguish between the acts of nations and those of organizations that are extra-national, if that is the right term. As I said, the definitions are muddy, but I will stick by my two-component requirement for it to be an act of terrorism. Anything of mine past that is simply an attempt to focus between nations and groups, and is fluid. I am not, however, prepared to go to war with every country that has possibly supplied a terrorist group. Two fronts are enough. And we are not financially capable of more at this time.
    I don’t consider the supplying of arms as “direction”, the world of arms dealing (any dealings of fissionable or radioactive materials, or biological, I do not consider arms dealing in this context) and supplying is a murky one.  We have supplied and funded, the two can be interchangeable, groups that were less than desirable also.
    Regarding Hasan, if execution makes him a martyr, I don’t want him executed. I would prefer 13 consecutive life terms at hard labor directed by Marine guards with parole available after serving, oh, I don’t know, maybe 10 life terms. And, yes, I am sick of the obvious attempts to ignore any link to extremist Islam. The attack at Fort Hood was not a tragedy (such a passive term to avoid the why), it was a massacre at the hands of a jihadi. He acted from the same perspective as 19 guys on planes, just didn’t take the time for flying lessons, but wasn’t aiming to kill civilians.
    Sorry for the disjointed reply, but children interfere with coherence. And you don’t have to bite as there was no bait.

  16. SADIE says

    Muddy definitions and references are exactly where we are in our post WWII world.
    Afghanistan presents a real dilemma – nothing internally is defined other than by war lords, opium fields and corruption up to and including the border with Pakistan, which is another can of biological warfare worms. It has become increasingly more difficult (impossible) to distinguish between a nation with defined borders and military, when they themselves have not sorted out this from that (Hindu Kush region comes to mind).
    There is the act of declaring war and there is part b) doing something about it.  Declaring so and so an enemy is less costly. Israel is always and has been in some state of war. Some pauses are longer than others, but she knows, who her enemies are and stays prepared.
    The restraints on western nations have given their enemies free range. They do not acknowledge borders, not when their goal is a caliphate. So, here we are with two distinctly different sets of rules and regs. How do we succeed and survive with a code of honor, while our enemies do not acknowledge nor adhere to the same rules of engagement.
    A good choice of words ‘massacre’ at Ft. Hood. I don’t agree that we shouldn’t execute him.  He has already claimed the mantel of martyr dead or alive – so death would be literally and figuratively a post-mortum. I subscribe to cause and effect. Carnage comes with a price tag. It does not go on sale for even one life time.
    p.s. disjointed replies are not always ‘child induced’. Mine come with age.

  17. SADIE says

    “saboteur and traitor” with a “jihadi” modifier it is, but let’s just throw in an old fashioned murderer as well to give the prosecution all the terms they need except crazy.

  18. Ariel says

    Sadie #20,
    Only quibble is the “nation with defined borders”, we frankly haven’t had that in many portions of the world since day one. Europe is still working it out, I haven’t seen  Yugoslavia in awhile, have you? The map of Europe circa 1913 is near unrecognizable. That turmoil of borders will always be with us. As for the rest, I pretty much agree.
    One thing that frosts me is this statement: while our enemies do not acknowledge nor adhere to the same rules of engagement. Every time I hear a European, or American or Canadian for that matter, go on about the Geneva Conventions I want to scream. You have to follow the Conventions to get their protections, and that doesn’t mean that one has to follow them while the other ignores them. The Conventions weren’t written to give advantage to those who don’t follow them, but Europeans apply them unilaterally, stupidly, and self-righteously. I’m going to stop now or I’ll really rant.
    As for Hasan the martyr, if he wears that mantel without death, then he can wear it just as well in death. However, I think the Marine Guards would make him wish he were dead. I may be a staunch civil libertarian, but I deserve the right to be flawed. Some deserve Justice best served cold. Very cold.

  19. suek says

    >>“Virginia will execute a severely mentally ill man who also suffered from Gulf War Syndrome the day before Veterans Day.”>>
    Here’s a relevant article – the meshing of the concepts of mentally ill and evil:
    It’s  a problem.  Mental illness is real.  If a person’s actions are outside his/her control, it’s unjust to consider him/her guilty of evil doing.  At the same time, society has a right to protect itself – no matter what the cause of aberrant behavior.  Personally, I think a lot of the “excusing” has to do with a desire to avoid taking a position and carrying though whatever is necessary, especially when what is necessary is unpleasant, meets with resistance,  and there is a viable alternative.  _Someone_ has to throw the switch, and most “normal” people don’t want to be the one to do so.
    I think that was the problem in the Catholic Church when it realized it had a problem with homosexual/pedophilic priests.  Instead of condemning them for their sin and tossing them out of the priesthood, they forgave them their sins and listened to the voices of psychiatry which would negate even the possibility of sinfulness.  “It wasn’t their fault – they were born that way”.  And I think that’s true – there are people out there who are defective, and it’s not their fault.  They’re still poisonous, harmful people and society needs to destroy them or neutralize them.  Generally, I prefer destroying them – it’s permanent – but I can live with neutralization.  Though I wonder how people can consider themselves “merciful” by giving someone a life senctence.

  20. Ariel says

    Suek #23,
    I have always had mixed emotions regarding both the Death Penalty and life in prison. I would have no problem flipping the switch on someone who’s  guilt was beyond the shadow of doubt (notice I dropped reasonable). Dahmer would be an example, Hasan is an example upon conviction. But not on lesser proof. Life imprisonment is, to me, less merciful than death.
    Yes, society has the right to maintain “prisons” for the criminally insane. And I agree that  too many times psychiatry excuses what was really a choice. Although the Twinkie Defense should have been upheld…I used to go crazy if I didn’t get my Twinkie fix.

  21. says

    <B>If a person’s actions are outside his/her control, it’s unjust to consider him/her guilty of evil doing. </b>
    The courts don’t decide good or evil. They decide whether something happened: the facts of the case. Did you or did you not kill exhibit A over here. Did you or did you not hack off the husband of that family over there, then eat the remains? Did this happen or did this not happen. And then you are pronounced innocent or guilty of the charge. But as you noticed already, people don’t want to face the facts of life. Denial is much easier. Especially when the victims belong to families you don’t care about.

    If somebody wants to claim that ‘somebody else’ did it, that some other personality lived inside that guy’s head, then that is what is called aiding and abetting a federal crime. You allowed your body and mind to be used by the criminal, you gave him safe harbor, and now you want immunity from the law for having done so or having failed to report the existence of that criminal’s actions.

    That doesn’t make you innocent of the crime, only an accessory. Of course, the Left has become so often an accessory to the crimes of mass murderers in human history that they would naturally, simply for reasons of self-preservation, seek to deny the ‘accessory’ charge of others.
    In my view an Act of War can justify a retaliation utilizing  nuclear launches targeting capitals, military complexes, and various munitions industries. Thus an Act of War carries with it greater space for counter-attacks than terrorism does. When a nation declares war, everybody in that nation takes the risk of death, direct or collateral, because the nation’s industry becomes tied to war. When a terrorist group declares war, all you can legitimately kill on the battlefield are the terrorists, and any collateral damage is on your hands, with no other nation state to take responsibility. But because of that restriction, if they surrender or you capture them, you can execute them unlike the uniformed soldiers of a nation one is at war with. This was an attempt to make the fight less asymmetrical.
    Asymmetrical war is nasty because without equal bases to protect, one side can attack more ruthlessly than the other. In a symmetrical fight like the Cold War, less invasive methods were used because both nations had something they wanted to protect from the other’s attacks. An Asymmetrical fight implies that one side has little to lose from attacking the other side’s civilians. It’s a natural force multiplier and advantage. That means the war is prolonged and more people die.
    Also don’t believe the Left that the Islamic fighters care nothing about their own lives. The Palestinians will trade 2 dead Jews for 500 Palestinian fighters. They do care for their own lives, if only because that allows them to kill more Jews and Americans. So you never want to keep an Islamic fighter alive, because he can always be used as a propaganda tool to justify kidnapping and other terrorist attacks, real terrorist attacks. Hasan also had connections to real terrorists, meaning Islamic advocates for attacks against American civilians. That connection is not erased regardless of what Hasan personally did nor did not kill.
    <B>Israel is always and has been in some state of war.</b>
    Israel’s restriction of their counter-attack levels means that Israel is in a state of restricted or limited warfare. That’s very different from a state of total war, a war to the knife. This has political implications.
    <B>How do we succeed and survive with a code of honor, while our enemies do not acknowledge nor adhere to the same rules of engagement.</b>
    If Israel wants to win, they would attack with everything they got and obliterate their enemy. If they believe in a Palestinian state, then destroying the ability of the civilians and soldiers, of that state, to wage war will reduce the support for war against Israel. Any other way to ‘win a war’ will get Israel just what they have. Decades of perpetual cycle of violence and civilian deaths, for no reason whatsoever. And no advancement of real peace, either.
    My point is that we are not obeying our own code of honor, strictly by the letter. Our own rules for war have already legitimatized punitive and massive retaliation strikes, which Bush and other leaders have simply refused to do. The enemy cannot control all of our military actions. It is rather, we that do that. And given the evidence of American wisdom with the election of obama, don’t count on very wise and enlightened actions pertaining to the War on Terrorism soon.
    BTW, if we were truly serious about a War on Terrorism, we’d nuke NOrth Korea and go into black ghettoes and make them learn how to defend themselves from criminals (Chicago) and their “Reverends”.

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