Nations wage war with their militaries.
Those without a military resort to terror.
It has always been so, and always will be.
The West has been at war in the Middle East for many decades, or 50 years, or a century… depending on who’s doing the counting. The United States and its allies have been at war in the Middle East for at least 25 years – since the first Gulf War in 1990. Continuous war.
And the terrorist retaliation has been continuous, too. The bombing of the Beirut Marine barracks… the first WTC bombing… the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania… the USS Cole… 9/11… Madrid… 7/7… all of the beheadings of innocents… Benghazi… Charlie Hebdo… so many more. And now these atrocities today in Paris.
We constantly hear from our leaders that “there is no military solution” in the Middle East. And yet, we are involved in active wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria… all of which seem to be escalating even as we talk about “winding down”. Republicans in America openly talk of greatly expanding these wars. Democrats seem perpetually unable to end them.
For as long as there is war being waged in the Middle East, there will be terrorist actions in response. If that begets more military attacks, there will be more terror attacks. All of the militaries of the world, together, cannot stop terrorist movements. And all of the terrorist movements in the world cannot destroy their enemies. All we can do is to wound each other, grievously, and perpetuate the hatreds. We all know this, instinctively, don’t we?
One day, perhaps, there will be leaders who possess the wisdom and the will to end war, end terror. And redirect those vast resources to improving the lot of humanity. They will need the support of their people who can no longer bear the death and destruction. What will it take to get there?
If we can end war, we can end hunger, disease and despair. If we don’t end war, it will end us.