In this country, while we’re not afraid to talk about controversial topics like terrorism, we’re rarely actually honest about them. Politically speaking, people tend to “get on their side,” simply toeing the line as far as what they should or shouldn’t say. It’s always amazed me how diverse people can be on almost every level – except when it comes to politics.
The truth is, when it comes to many of these rather complicated issues (economy, immigration, terrorism, war), there’s not a singular “right” answer. You wouldn’t think that by observing the nature of our politics.
When it comes to the subject of terrorism, I’ve often been fascinated by how dishonest both Democrats and Republicans are about the topic. While both sides proclaim to care about protecting American lives, both sides lie through their teeth when talking about the subject.
So I think it’s time we face some harsh realities that you won’t hear many politicians or “experts” actually admit or talk about.
1. You can’t defeat terrorism: Like crime, you’ll never be able to rid the world of terrorism completely. No matter how many terrorists we kill, there will always be more. While it’s possible to weaken terrorist organizations, you can never actually fully “defeat” them.
2. Terrorism can’t be fought through conventional warfare: When you fight terrorism, it doesn’t really matter how big and bad your military is. Fighting terrorism isn’t about defeating the other side’s leader. Terrorists mostly have nothing to lose, therefore they don’t care about life or death. In fact, Islamic terrorists see death as an honor.
The most effective fight against terrorism isn’t simply just to bomb it, but understand why it exists and eliminate the reasons for its creation. Fighting terrorism is as much about intellect as it is brute force.
3. The next terrorist attack isn’t a matter of if, but when: Look, we can prevent many attacks and deter plenty of others, but we will never be able to stop them all. At some point, on some level…. somewhere there’s going to be a weakness someone with nefarious intentions is going to identify and exploit.
If we want a “free” society, that comes with some risks. The key is eliminating as many of those risks as possible without taking away Constitutional rights.
4. What we say is just as important as what we do: This is one area Republicans fail at miserably. Hostile anti-Muslim rhetoric helps create terrorism. Like a soundbite in a political campaign, what you do not want to do is give your opponent something to use against you. So when you brag about, push and promote anti-Muslim rhetoric, that only helps terrorists.
5. No one really has any idea how to effectively fight terrorism: While both the left and the right throw out a lot of politically charged rhetoric about terrorism, mostly to pander to their voters, neither side really has any idea how to effectively deal with terrorism. In fact, there’s probably no “right” answer to any of it. To combat terrorism is really a matter of picking the best of a lot of not-so-great options and hoping that on some level they prove to be somewhat effective.
We can discuss terrorism all we want, but the truth is it’s something with which we’re always going to have to contend. While politicians pathetically use it as fodder to boost whatever agenda they’re trying to push, there are basic truths that almost none of them will ever publicly admit.