22 June 2010


We are all now dumber for having listened to that.

This makes no sense. "frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends"... uh yes. But it also potentially streamlines the probability that they won't be employing those violent ends. Many terrorist organisations do indeed deploy non-violent means, perhaps in large part to cement their social ties to the pool of recruitment for activity. But they also benefit when they do so by...cementing social ties to the local population in such a way that they can become a legitimate political player. The IRA and the PLO are merely two of the most well-known such examples.

I might agree that funneling aid and resources does help terrorist organisations achieve their goals. The question mark is whether it can help them achieve those goals with less harm and violence. It seems like we have historical evidence that it can, at least where the "offending" nation-states or powers in conflict become willing to conduct real and meaningful negotiation, not the "sham negotiations" which are claimed as the probable event. Somebody like Hamas isn't going anywhere, and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with them (or risk having somebody worse replace them). This is the nature of international diplomacy in that it often involves unsavory actors who are empowered to make deals (sometimes even legitimately and democratically, as it unfortunately appears Hamas is). Even the actions of a nation-state can take on such a character, as in the case of the DPRK running around launching rockets into the Sea of Japan and sinking RoK ships. So what this is saying, in general, is that we may as well forget about sending them humanitarian aid or food. Because that would obviously free up resources from growing crops to spend more time exhorting the suffering peoples to rise up against their foreign oppressors.

The distinction as I see it is that some terrorist cells have legitimate political goals. Something like al Qaeda doesn't as much, it's a lot of cosmic huff and puff. And indeed, simply talking to Hamas is perhaps not yet a productive discussion either, as they're still on the "death to Israel" campaign rather than a purer and western-sanctified "two state solution". But one thing that can be done is present achievable and tangible missions to such organisations that they can present to others for consideration. Maybe Hamas doesn't want such things. But I'd imagine that something like "end the blockade" would go over pretty well with the Gazan population, especially if it were something they could take some partial credit for doing. I don't see how that calculation cannot be made by someone somewhere. Apparently the Supreme Court doesn't see it that way.
Post a Comment