For a class, I chose to watch a movie, Traitor. A very interesting movie indeed. It can be considered an interesting exposé of the mindset of many Muslims when it comes to the West (particularly America) and terrorism. The line/thought of “We’re not terrorists; Americans are terrorists” is quite common albeit untenable.
There is a fundamental difference between civilian casualties in American campaigns and in militants’ campaigns. In the former, it’s collateral damage. In the latter, it’s the goal. Americans do not intentionally target civilian targets whereas Islamist militants overwhelmingly do. More civilians have died because of Islamist extremism than because of America’s War on Terrorism. More Muslims have died because of Islamist extremism than because of America’s War on Terrorism.
One point a character in the movie made was that terrorism was all a theater with a clear audience. Terrorism’s goal is to terrorize people so they’re weakened or they surrender. It’s perhaps one of the only weapons the other side can use in this disproportionate war. But that does not mitigate the sheer evil of terrorism.
I friend of mine is having troubles with religion, saying he likes things to be rational. I told him that rationality should never be one’s sole guiding light. All sorts of abominations can be justified, explained, or made acceptable through reason and logic. What scared me, thoroughly, many years ago was to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and realize, to my horror, that in many cases his logic made sense. The outcome was evil; the foundations were shaky; but if one accepted his premises, the conclusions made sense. It is extremely easy–as we have seen many, many people (including Islamists, people in the pay of Islamists, self-defending or blinded Muslims, and even a whole coterie of Leftists) do–to justify, explain, and make acceptable terrorism.
We need to understand the terrorists’ mindset in order to realize just how deep this cancer has set in. And we should formulate our policies accordingly, realizing that winning hearts and minds, while laudable, is far more difficult than we might imagine. These people, whether Islamists or the average Muslim, simply think differently than we do in the West.