Cognative Dissident

Monday, September 27

Violence begats...

One of the lines I hear repeated most often by those who are against fighting terrorism with the agressive use of force is something along the lines of, "Well sure, I'm all for killing terrorists, but it just breeds more terrorists, and doesn't bring us any closer to a solution."

On its face, it's a good argument. It doesn't open one up to charges of being soft on terrorism, but still condems the use of force. The trouble is, there's no evidence that it's actually true. As intuitively appealing as it may be, available evidence indicates that the use of force against terrorists does in fact deter terrorists:
Yet it's now undeniable that the "military solution" that so many believed could not work has brought Israelis an interlude of relative peace. In 2002, 228 Israelis died in 42 suicide bombings; in March 2002, as Sharon launched his offensive, 85 died in nine attacks. This year there have been 10 suicide bombings and 53 Israeli deaths; last week's bombing in Jerusalem was only the second such bombing in more than six months. While the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement remain dismal, and no one expects the violence to end, life in Israel has returned to something approaching normal.

I've always been skeptical that there is an indefinite supply of people willing to kill themselves in anger and vengence, but more than that, it's necessary to realize that by itself the desire to strap on a belt of C4 doesn't mean that you'll be able to get the C4, get past the new security fence or the IDF, who are pretty damn good at foiling suicide bombers, or manage to kill anyone when you blow yourself up.

Israel, instead of acting to reduce the pool of potential bombers, has instead been very aggressive about preventing those potential bombers from getting the training and organization required to make them dangerous to Israeli citizens. The policy of assassinations has almost certainly raised the level of anger among Palestinians, but it's gotten a lot harder for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatwa to turn pissed-off, disaffected, young men into killers.

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