My Two Cents: Targeted violence part of solution to terrorism

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

George Orwell

I often hear people say that violence never solves anything. At best, this is imprecise; at worst, it’s naive. Indiscriminate violence, of course, has never really solved anything. Violence that is carefully targeted toward specific, deserving marks, however, has solved a great many problems.

Recent American history – from World War II to the Cold War to the Gulf War and beyond – demonstrates that focused violence does indeed solve problems in a most decisive way.

This brings me to our nation’s current military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, part of the ongoing war against radical Islamic terrorists and the states that support them. Some people seem unwilling to come to terms with the fact that violence – the destruction of terrorist infrastructures and the killing of terrorists – is a necessary component of the struggle against these fanatics.

For example, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry earlier this year said the fight against terrorists “will involve the military now and then,” but will be “primarily an intelligence gathering, law enforcement operation.”

Likewise, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the incoming prime minister of Spain, speaking shortly after terrorists detonated a series of railway explosives that killed over 200 people, had this to say: “Fighting terrorism with bombs and Tomahawk missiles is not a way to win, but will instead provoke more extremism.”

In a different war against terrorists – Israel’s battle against Palestinian homicide-suicide bombers – the same sort of delusional thinking can be seen. Israel recently killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the “spiritual leader” and founder of Hamas, a group that has killed hundreds of Israelis in scores of attacks. The response? U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and many world leaders condemned the killing!

We in the West think we’re above our barbaric terrorist adversaries. However, it’s at our own peril if we believe we’re too civilized to use violence to utterly destroy an enemy that has no such constraints and hates us more than he loves life.

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who has no qualms about saying he wishes an untimely, violent end for Osama bin Laden – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.