The gruesome killing spree by militant Islamic radicals in the financial district of India on November 27, 2008 brought a toll of at least 195 dead and more than 300 injured. Many lives were lost senselessly; many homes were broken. After a 60-hour bloody rampage, one could ask if these terrorists could be expected to follow the standards of Western justice and fair play.
Suspected to be Muslim extremists from neighboring Pakistan, the brutal killers left 22 foreigners and 15 Indian security officers among the dead. Their barbarity is their hallmark; their cruelty is incomprehensible.
“Terrorism is carried out purposefully, in a cold-blooded, calculated fashion. The declared goals of the terrorist may change from place to place. He supposedly fights to remedy wrongs — social, religious, national, racial. But for all these problems his only solution is the demolition of the whole structure of society. No partial solution, not even the total redressing of the grievance he complains of, will satisfy him — until our social system is destroyed or delivered into his hands.
“When I say that terrorism is war against civilization, I may be met by the objection that terrorists are often idealists pursuing worthy ultimate aims — national or regional independence, and so forth. I do not accept this argument. I cannot agree that a terrorist can ever be an idealist, or that the objects sought can ever justify terrorism. The impact of terrorism, not merely on individual nations, but on humanity as a whole, is intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and w holly evil.”—Benjamin Netanyahu
The question about justice and fair play of terrorists is more significant as Pres. George W. Bush, the leader of the war on terror leaves office. In spite of his gains with America’s allies, many people forget his credit of foiling of reckless radicals who want to bomb US cities as they did with India. Demonized in a greater scale than his shortcomings, Bush still reminds the world of complacency, the evil of terrorism, and the costly war required in stopping it.
“Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” —Sir Winston Churchill
It appears this is a battle that can last longer than the lifetimes of people of the present generation. Changing a warped and immoral ideology takes time especially if linked with radical religious beliefs among people with failing governments and cultures.
“We can’t accommodate terrorism. When someone uses the slaughter of innocent people to advance a so-called political cause, at that point the political cause becomes immoral and unjust and they should be eliminated from any serious discussion, any serious debate.” —Mayor Rudolf Guiliani
There are those who think that the terrorists are reasonable and fair. They believe they can be made to embrace peace and be taught good moral conduct. Yet by choosing violence and seeking the destruction of their enemies (i.e. Israel and USA) how can they be trusted? The people of the world are caught between their freedoms and living in a bubble of a society on edge, raising security to avoid an attack.
“This might sound arrogant, but I told the terrorist, ‘You can harm my body, you can harm my mind, but you can’t harm my soul. That is mine.’ —Terry Waite
It’s at this juncture that President-elect Barack Obama thinks deeply on how he’ll deal with cold-bloodied killers whose basic belief is to spread hatred and cause destruction of Western world. It is increasingly clear that those who want to destroy civilization will not stop at causing damage and physical harm. They are bent to inflict suffering, confront the world, until they gain control.
The war on terror isn’t an electoral campaign issue anymore. Rather, it’s a problem that all Americans and their allies have to tackle with undiminished resolve. Obama needs to balance diplomacy, the use of force, pragmatism, and rational judgment. It remains to be seen whether his diplomacy will open a future world order that is peaceful and prosperous.
“While we must remain determined to defeat terrorism, it isn’t only terrorism we are fighting. It’s the beliefs that motivate terrorists. A new ideology of hatred and intolerance has arisen to challenge America and liberal democracy.”— Sen. John Kerry
To expect enemies to abandon their violent agenda in a diplomatic negotiation table is naïve and foolhardy. Not to use force against them when it is necessary may be courting defeat. The terrorists know how to exploit any sign of weakness. With the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attack, those who are soft on the radicals have something serious to think about. (Photo Credits: Madalena Pestena; Reuters/Stringer; AP/Gurinder Osan; AFP/Pedro Ugarte; Harpagonis; AFP/Indrabil Muherjee; AFP/Prakash Singh) =0=