I like to think that there is always another way to look at things. I often find “perceived wisdom” to be desperately unwise. Terrorist attacks prompt predictable responses from the status quo: “we will never give in to terrorism”, “the perpetrators will be relentlessly pursued”, “this is just senseless violence”, “the slaughter of innocents is never justified”, and so on. The outrage and passions expressed are understandable, but do they help?
We all want peace, don’t we? But not peace at any price. Which says to me, we want peace on our terms. Which is exactly the same as saying, we want to fight until our aims are achieved or our enemy gives in. So maybe, we don’t want peace enough.
Ah yes, I hear you say, but they started it. Well, did they? And even if they did, does that mean that they can have no grievance (real or imagined)? And, if they have a grievance (real or imagined), could we address it?
I utterly condemn the methods employed by terrorists. Problem is, every time we kill a terrorist, two more seem to step into the breach. We’ve been killing them for years but they keep coming. A dispassionate observer might imagine that terrorists actually believe their actions to be justified. Is there a way, other than killing, to persuade them that they are wrong? More of the same tactics doesn’t seem intelligent.
“Senseless violence” just says to me that we don’t understand: no-one really believes that terrorists plant bombs for fun. “Relentless pursuit” is another way of saying “carry on as before”. Is “we will never give in to terrorism” just another way of saying “we’re still not listening”? And, if we’re still not listening, what will it take?