How To Fight ISIL
Social Problems 101. How not to respond to terrorists:
- Obsessive media reporting on terrorism
- Obsessively watching media reporting on terrorism
- Warnings: Terrorists seek to destroy our way of life!!!!!!!!
The thing is, terrorists have NO real power. Unless we think they do.
And all of the above make people think they do.
Evidence that ISIL doesn’t have a whole lot of power
The New York Times’ Oliver Roy points out:
- ISIL has probably reached it’s limit in terms of being able to capture territory.
- The so-called Islamic State is not a state. It has no specific territory or boundaries. “It is more like a caliphate, forever in conquest mode.”
- ISIL’s success lies only in grabbing headlines in newspapers and social media.
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman adds:
France’s economy is around 20 times the size of Syria’s. France is not going to be conquered by ISIS, now or ever. Destroy Western civilization? Not a chance…
Killing random people in restaurants and at concerts is a strategy that reflects its perpetrators’ fundamental weakness.
Terrorism almost never works
Actually, terrorism almost never works to attain the goals that terrorists seek.
Mr. Krugman says that the danger of terrorism doesn’t come from the killing or the fear. It comes from wrong-headed responses, like these:
- Ending our reluctance to kill innocents
- Trying to gain perfect security by eliminating ALL threats
#1: Appeasement just encourages them. Luckily, we’re nowhere close to that.
#2: If we end our reluctance to kill innocent civilians — and we probably won’t — we risk creating more terrorists. So it backfires.
#3: You can’t eliminate ALL threats. We can eliminate key threats. But the world is too complicated to eliminate ALL of them. This tactic risks:
- Taking away our own liberties
- Creating more terrorists as decent, law-abiding (in this case, Muslim) citizens are vilified
What to do about terrorists
- Don’t do what terrorists want
- Don’t give them a lot of attention
- Don’t make them seem like they are a bigger deal than they are
- Follow the money: get them where it hurts, in the pocketbook
- Offer large rewards for their capture
- Targeted police and military attacks
- International community bonds together to fight terrorists
What to do beyond Social Problems 101? See these reports from the New York Times for starters:
- How to fight ISIS
- Experts explain how global powers can smash ISIS
- To stop radicalization, the French need more fraternité
Quoting Mr. Krugman again:
The goal of terrorists is to inspire terror, because that’s all they’re capable of.
And the most important thing our societies can do in response is to refuse to give in to fear.