Sunday, March 2, 2008

Inside the mind (?) of a terrorist

I own guns. I've gone hunting and killed various furry and feathery creatures. I would without regret or compunction shoot someone who was trying to harm a loved one of mine. I eat red meat. I am, in short, a thoroughly despicable creature.

But I can't get inside the mind of a terrorist. So, if I ask myself the question, "How would a terrorist vote in the upcoming election?" I have to guess. Let's say that we have a three-way contest for president: (alphabetically) Clinton, McCain, Obama. If I were a terrorist, what would I want?

Well, the first answer is, "I would like to blow up all three of them." The next answer is, "Well, according to his/her position statements, _______ (Fill in the blank; I'm not about to), would be less likely to hunt down and kill me and my brothers and sisters."

Notice I'm not asking which of the three the terrorist would like to vote for; simply musing about which of the three would be least repugnant to a terrorist. Of course what is most likely is that any terrorist is so filled with righteous rage at the mention of any of them that there is no distinction possible.

I do not think that any of the candidates is "soft" on terrorism. It's more a question of what lengths they might go to to combat it. Would any of them invade a country? Nuke a city?

The reason I am asking these questions is that I am trying to figure out whether there might be an attempt by terrorists to disrupt the election process. Now, a clever, subtle, patient terrorist might decide A) to let the process proceed if the least reprehensible candidate appears to be winning, or B) interrupt the process if the most reprehensible candidate appears to be winning. Unfortunately, I think that interfering with the process is probably more important to a terrorist than influencing the election. But then, who knows what goes on inside the skull of a terrorist?


bekkieann said...

It's a disturbing thought and harkens back to the election of '68 when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.

Your logic might imply that the "terrorists" four years ago were pleased with the possibility of the Bush re-election. That is certainly something to ponder.

The mind of a terrorist is a criminal mind, and one can never really understand or predict what they might do. But in terms of the bigger picture, I think as a country we need to take a step back and look at how we might be responsible for creating some of the hate that exists in the world towards us. When our economic and political policies have been used as a bludgeon in certain countries, we should not be surprised at the reaction.

That's not to say terrorist acts are ever justified. Only that we should realize the underlying cause may sometimes be us.

As I look for my own candidate of choice, I not only want to see how they will deal with existing terrorists in the world, but also how they will improve American foreign policy to make our country a better world citizen. Spoken like a true liberal, I know.

On both your houses said...

Becky, I have to disagree with two of your unstated ground assumptions. The first is that it is hate for us that drives terrorism. The second is that we are somehow "responsible" for that hate. Both are simplistic. For one thing, it is much more likely that terrorist are pursuing a political agenda that is entirely divorced form hate. Oh, they may say that they hate us and that we are the great satan, but their purposes are to develop a society that reflects their ideas. Second, people may disagree with our policies, yet not hate us; people may hate us yet not actively try to blow us up. The "driven to hate" doctrine really implies that that terrorists are really animals after all, not rational beings. It stongly suggests they can't help hating us because, after all, they are primitive. Thus, the guilt is ours. This is a strange and abberant version of the "white man's burden" doctrine of a couple of centuries ago.

bekkieann said...

You make some good points. But rather than “animals”, I’d say “criminals”, and like all types of criminals, they resort to violence for vindication. Who can understand the criminal mind? It is true that not all who hate us resort to violence.

Still, I respectfully disagree on one point. I don’t think it is simply their desire to spread their idealistic views to the world. I believe idealism is a good tool for whipping up fervor among the masses, but it is usually money that drives wars of all kinds, including those of the terrorist type.

And there’s another phrase to examine: The love of money is the root of all evil.

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