Terrorist Origins

The local paper today had columns from Gwynne Dyer and Charles Krauthammer about the ongoing Muslim terrorists and their origins. It was interesting to see just how differently the two columnists use the same facts (more or less) to arrive at two very different conclusions. I’d have to guess the newspaper editors were cognizant of this.

The major disagreement was whether our actions, like invading Iraq, have led to the bombings, as opposed to a longer-term Islamist malignancy. The money quotes follow, first from Dyer.

Every major terrorist attack by Islamists since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, has targeted the citizens of countries that sent troops to Iraq: Americans, not Canadians; British, not French; Spanish, not Germans; Australians, not New Zealanders.

He goes on to mention that originally most of the attackers were Arabs (perhaps due in part to the long-standing actions of the West in the Middle East) but since Iraq other Muslims are taking up the attack. His final sentence is Actions do have consequences.

Now, from Krauthammer.

The fact that native-born Muslim Europeans are committing terror acts within their own countries shows that this Islanist malignancy long predates Iraq, long predates Afghanistan and long predates 9/11.

Now I’ve tried every line of logic I can think of to justify this sentence, and I can’t find it. It just doesn’t make any sense. Would it be unthinkable for people, depending on their experiences, to change from peace-loving to terrorists?

So it’s pretty clear I come down on Dyer’s side. But it is a disturbing side to come down upon. Is it true that our invasion of Iraq has increased our potential adversaries, from the Arabs (who comprise 25% of Muslims) to all Muslims? Nice work, George! Unfortunately, I’m guessing that Dyer is correct, and that we’ve got a long hard road to go down.

July 15, 2005

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