Can we really ‘kill’ terrorism with bombs? Arona Jones
Author’s Foreword: Daesh is the preferred term for the extremist militant group previously known as ISIS, ISIL or Islamic State. The group is neither Islamic nor a state - IS is the name they gave themselves, while Daesh is a name they hate. Remember, a name hold enormous power.
I’m not the first to say this, and I hope I am not the last, but the so called ‘War on Terror’ is a nonsensical idea. Ideas cannot be killed with military force, no matter how overwhelming. The maelstrom of anti-Western ideologies, that the West had a hand in creating, will not be calmed with further Western aggression.
Proof, you say? My proof is the tragic terror attacks that occurred recently in Paris. They struck at the heart of Western society, killing indiscriminately. The aim of the ‘War on Terror’, began after the no-less horrific terror attacks of the 11th September 2001, was to ensure that such events would never again be repeated. Evidently, it has failed. Furthermore, the UK has been at terror threat level ‘Severe’ for over a year now, and other countries have similar stories of prolonged raised alert levels. There’s the proof that the ‘War on Terror’ has met with no success. Arguably, it has made the situation worse - much worse.
Every death, be it of an innocent Parisian or one of the militants themselves, does nothing but strengthen their cause. Even if we somehow managed to wipe out all of the current main armed force that make up Daesh, an arguably impossible task in itself, the idea and purpose of its existence would remain. You cannot kill ideas except with counterargument and education. No one man has power over an idea, while ideas have power over all men. As has been said, while people can die, an idea can still change the world thousands of years later. Each death from Western weaponry makes one more martyr for their cause, one more life extinguished in a vain attempt to bomb what is truly indestructible.
Indeed, just the day before the Paris attacks, many more died in Lebanon after bombs detonated across Beirut. This news went mostly unreported, and certainly didn’t generate a global outpouring of support on the scale of that which followed the Paris attacks. No monuments lit up in the colours of the Lebanese flag.
Callous as it may sound, the Paris attacks are not about those who died, it’s about how the country responds. The French president speaking after the attacks called them an ‘act of war’. He promised to turn up the heat on Daesh with increased military strikes, in the same way America responded to 9/11, playing right into their hands.
The effect of our response to the attacks is two-fold. Firstly, many in our society lash out against any Muslim within our population, creating a hostile environment, which makes it easier for Daesh and other groups to radicalise and recruit from within our own home countries. Secondly, Western countries increase military strikes, further fanning the flames in a war torn region that has become a breeding ground for extremists.
In this case, you can’t fight fire with fire. All our military strikes are doing is pushing up the body count. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink.