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On Conflict


Category: politics

I've grown tired of liberals who say the terrorists and the Middle East in general hates the United States because of thing the U.S. did. This is wrong. It is utterly wrong and I'll outline why.

The really bad guys have a particular religious belief. That religion is an offshoot of Islam. The original break from mainstream Islam happened immediately after the death of Mohammed centuries ago. Did you read that clearly? I wrote 'centuries ago'.

There was a fight over who would replace the Prophet as head of the faith. Some tended to be much more militant in their interpretation. Over the next couple of decades, leaders of the religion were assassinated.

The more violent branch of Islam popped up from time to time. Back then they attacked everyone. The easiest targets were usually other Muslim groups. Did that stop the attacks? Nope.

The current sect that causes most of our trouble is a belief called Wahhabiyah. It started back when the United States was still a group of colonies trying to establish itself as a nation. Given that fact, it is unlikely that the United States had anything to do with the establishment of this violent group of people.

But the liberals will cry, "But they are only attacking us because we were mean to them. We're the bad guys. We're always the bad guys."

Well, none of that would explain why the same terrorists are perfectly willing to attack people who are not from the United States. These morons (the terrorists, not the liberals, though I can understand the confusion) are attacking because they want to lash out at the world.

In a recent piece on conflict over at Old Whig's site, I commented about violence has two sources. The easiest to understand is self-defense. The other type is the lashing out I was talking about. Here's my point.

Most of us have been exposed to small children at some time or other. We've seen toddlers throw tantrums or hit other toddlers. These kids don't understand right and wrong (for the most part) and are just acting out of frustration. They don't know how to deal with the world and get their needs fulfilled. The result is violence.

Eventually, most of us grow up. We mature and learn to interact with the world in a more peaceful manner. We also learn to accept that we can't always get what we want. The result here is that we don't hit someone just because we want to play with the toy they have.

This same maturity, or lack, can apply to cultures or small groups. We read in the papers about some group of teens that go on a rampage because they still didn't know how to cope. In our American history, we read about lynching parties hanging supposed wrongdoers. The gunfights of the nineteenth century would be gone if not for the gang warfare of our cities.

But we've grown up. We no longer lash out at random. We no longer take the other guy's toy. Are we still violent? Yep, sometimes we have no choice.

Like with the toddler, there are steps to deal with him. At first, you tell him very forcefully, "No" and, if needed, physically intervene in the violent act. Often this is adequate, at least for a while, and the adult doesn't need to do more.

Sometimes, saying no is insufficient. The adult must escalate. The child is usually told no again and then given a time out. This isolates the child from the chance to do violence and shows that the rules will be enforced. The hope is that the child will behave at first from fear of repeated punishment and then out of habit.

If the act is repeated, at some point the punishment is escalated further. You give the child a swat on the butt. (Yes, I know some people consider this to be barbaric and think spanking is wrong. The general population thinks of these people as whackos so I won't address their philosophies here.) This act is designed to traumatize the child. No, traumatizing a child is not inherently bad. In this sort of case it is good. It's the same way they learn not to touch hot things after one bad, hopefully not scarring, experience.

That's all well and good, but what does this have to do with the terrorist groups?

Good question and I'm getting to the answer. Remember that I said groups and cultures could be immature too? Well, those terrorist groups are immature. They don't like the world and don't know how to cope with it. What do they do? They lash out. They attack.

Our normal way of dealing with that in an international sense is to say no and to show examples of things that have happened to earlier transgressors. There are groups for which this works. Growing up, I knew far too many teens who would lash out at the world if they thought they could win. They knew the law enforcement community was strong enough. The local cops say no and that's good enough.

The next step is a time out. In the adult world, we do time outs in different ways. The obvious is prison. Sure, the way they are run sometimes doesn't teach anybody a lesson. That doesn't change the need for those prisons. On larger scale, we place embargoes on nations when those nations have acted up. It's the same idea. You can play with the others when you have thought about what you have done wrong.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when some other group may be in need of a spanking. When Japan bombed the U.S. in 1941, they needed a spanking. It took a lot of effort and many people dies or were wounded. Those sacrifices were needed. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, they needed a spanking. Why should the U.S. do the spanking? We are supposed to be the adults here.

When the bin Laden's boys destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, it was a bad thing. In toddler terms, they were very naughty. They had been told no back when they truck bombed the World Trade Center back in the eighties. Some of them were given a time out. Not this time, though. They needed a spanking.

As of the time of this writing, the United States has troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some Americans are very upset about this. Many of those Americans believe that our military presence is making the Middle East hate the U.S.. Perhaps there are some Middle Eastern people who dislike the U.S. more than they did before. But the ones who are really anti-American were that way when we found them. They would have been that way if we never sent a single person over. If there was no United States, they would hate someone else.

The people we war with are haters. They don't care whom they turn their anger toward. They just want to lash out and attack in the hope that it will somehow fulfill their needs. They don't have the maturity to understand that it never will.

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