I don't really care if no one reads this.
Sometimes it seems like terrorism is impossible to really beat. Here's why.
The Cost of Success
1) If you defeat a country which harbors terrorists, there is going to be a lot of bloodshed. There's going to be a lot of money spent and very few people want to spend money to help someone else if the benefit to them isn't obvious. America doesn't want Justice against terrorism in general. It wants revenge against Al Qaeda. Fighting evil in general just isn't popular.
2) A man with a bomb in his car doesn't look that much different from a man with no bomb in his car. We demand that our soldiers learn how to differentiate. If they don't, they'll die. Moreover, we demand that our leaders find a simple, cheap (and probably bio-degradable / soy-based) solution that can be understood by your average CNN reporter ["I don't understand" makes such a wonderful argument and I don't know why!]). Preferably, it would be so great a solution that the UN could approve it unanimously despite the fact that different nations do things for different reasons.
3) People in the States (like me), for good or ill, cannot tolerate bloodshed. Some people believe that there is always a better solution then war. Some people believe that war is the clean and patriotic thing to do (like recycling only more expensive), and if people die then we can blame the president. Some people are deceived. On the bright side, we also can't stand it that people in Iraq were dying horribly before the war and that human rights were being violated. The world is horrible and Americans can't stand it.
When you combine these forces you get a nation that jumps at the chance to make the world a better place but lacks the resolve to endure the pain of success. You get a nation that loves to flex it's military muscle but bursts into tears that the rest of the world looks at this display of power with anger or even jealousy. Perhaps this nation helps other countries reform and establish a good government but has a bad track record for having these nations and leaders corrupt. Huh. Should we be surprised that the rest of the world doesn't jump at the chance to fight wars? Probably not. Should we be surprised that the rest of the world leaves the killing to the United States (oh and Britain too)? Probably not. For good or ill, we're pretty good at it. "I'm all for fighting evil, but can you please do it without killing innocents, without racking up a defense budget, without angering other nations and without incurring American casualties? If you can't do that, why don't you pass whatever law puts money in my pocket or which makes something free for me? Hey...do both! Thanks so much. "
The cost of success is that even when you win you lose.
The Cost of Failure
The cost of failure is obvious. People hate the US and they all have reasons. Some people judge the US to be too judgemental (yes, irony is beautiful pain). Some people judge the US to be too decadent. Some people hate the US so much they'll kill us if they can. Some people hate us just enough to teach others to hate us. The second group are what the US calls allies. (Okay, that was a bit harsh but it was awfully fun). At least when we have something bad happen they have the decency to make sounds of pity even though they have seen a lot worse.
The cost of failure is lots of American deaths with little gain. Maybe it'd be better to let people in other countries die; I don't like American deaths! Silent deaths in other countries just don't harm politicians as much.
The Cost of Failure to Confront Terror
The cost of failure to deal with the problem is simple and doesn't cost your particular political party anything. Those countries/groups that are willing to use terror will grow in strength unchecked. The good news is you don't necessarily have to know that. The really good news is that the voters are even less likely to know it. Possibly the greatest news for a politician is that if you rebuke countries that don't mind terror or if you rebuke a country that is losing it's people to terror (like Israel), you get political points with almost no cost. Strangely, even Americans manage to do this.
The bad news is that eventually someone will have to deal with the problem. It's a bit like land fills or littering. These things tend to get worse.
The best news is that as long as it is not you, you can villify whoever it is and criticize the way they do it. After all, a friend tells you when you're wrong. Enemies tell you that you are wrong and kill you. The best solution is to never be wrong.
The cost of failure to confront terror is one of two. Either the problem really doesn't bother you that much or the problem kills your people. The US has incurred both of these at different times I think.
Warning: This "solution" utilizes satirical themes. It is not intended seriously. It might even be called sarcastic. Terrorism is murder and the author hates terrorism and murder. Heck the author can't even stand abortion!
Right. The solution.
It may seem like there is no way to fight terror. If you fight and win, there will be blood. If you fight and lose there will be lots of blood. If you don't fight, you'll either be desensitized or there will be blood. Is there no solution?
No. I mean yes. I mean, yes, there is a solution.
The solution is not to be a country that hates terror. The solution is to BE the country that doesn't mind terror; the one that even uses it. In moderation. The upside is that you'll have lots of countries bickering about what to do but no one will be able to agree. Your politicians will be rich. You can blame the problem on other countries. When your freedom fighters die for the cause, intellectuals everywhere will talk about the conditions that your people have been living in and the funny thing is, they won't even consider what it took to put those conditions into effect. Fighting evil requires an admission that evil exists! Actually being evil requires no such admission! And people feel sorry for you! How can you lose? There is no mortal power higher than government and ...no one could DARE stomp on your sovereignty! But wait..there's more!
You can control the press! You can tax what you want and not be accountable for how you spend it! You can hurt others and hide the evidence. No one will believe the truth!
Ack that's enough, that's all I can take. Seriously, too much irony can kill a guy. I mean..a person.
There are three choices in regards to terror. Fight it, let someone else fight it, and fight others with it. With such choices, there can be no peace. You choose what you want American to do. Whatever your choice, people will die. Do you want the deaths to be for Justice or for Chaos? Do you want the blood to flow from people you don't know in another country? There is less guilt that way. Or do you want it to be your countrymen? Make your choice carefully and don't be surprised when people die. If you choose to pay for a higher defense budget, don't be surprised at the higher taxes. If you choose for the monetary cost to be economical, rebuilding massive towers and such, don't be surprised when someone flies a plane unscheduled into something which is not plane tolerant. If you choose to let someone else solve the problem for you don't be surprised if they don't do it your way. Think. Ignorance is no excuse.