Tackling Root Causes of Terror

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

Attorney General Eric Holder called the failed Times Square bomb attempt “a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country."

30-year-old Pakistani-American, Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized citizen living in Bridgeport Conn., was arrested at Kennedy
Airport trying to flee the country on a Boeing 777 headed to Dubai. He boarded the plane after booking a ticket, while on his way to the airport. A 9-millimeter pistol, with ammunition, was found in his abandoned Isuzu Trooper. Shahzad was seized after his name was discovered on a “no-fly list” by Customs and Border Protection agents after he had boarded the plane.

In a criminal complaint, filed in a New York federal court, Shahzad confessed to buying a Nissan Pathfinder, which was hooked-up with a home-made bomb packed with propane, fertilizer and gasoline, according to the authorities. The car was driven into
Times Square and parked “in the vicinity of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue”; explosive were to have detonated.

Shahzad has been charged with five counts: they range from attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, to intending to used kill and maim people with improvised explosive and incendiary devices.

Shahzad, who is said to be cooperating, reportedly, confessed to his role in the scheme, according to the authorities. Seven or eight people in Pakistan were arrested in Pakistan. The Taliban, in Pakistan, initially denied responsibility for masterminding the plot, although they released a statement saying Shahzad did a “brave job.” Pakistani Army General Athar Abas claimed the Taliban’s capability to orchestrate such a plot was “questionable.” Later, the U.S. did blame the Pakistan Taliban.

The Pakistani Taliban has been implicated in a number of terror attacks, including the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in December 2007. Shahzad traveled to Pakistan last year and, supposedly, received training in terror
tactics in the unstable Waziristan area.

The Times Square plot is another example of the failure of the so-called “War on Terror.” Wisely, President Obama rejected this overly-simplified slogan. However, he must face a harsh truth he articulated during his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize speech “no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy.” What about when that war isn’t justified?

President Obama stated “war is sometimes necessary.” I agree. But, was it “necessary” to launch a war in Afghanistan,
much less in Iraq, to fight against those responsible for the 9-11 Attacks? The president rightly observed “In today’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers,” and “the seeds of future conflicts are sown.” This is the fundamental point why the
so-called “War on Terror” has failed. It creates more malcontents to join the ranks of the terrorists. What have the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan done to eradicate terrorism?

Now, some brain-dead politicians are proposing more idiotic legislation supposedly to combat terrorism. Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman has introduced a bill—the Terrorism Expatriation Act—to revoke the citizenship of those suspected in supporting terrorism. Question: after politicians strip people of their citizenship, where will they be sent, especially, if they aren’t dual citizens?

Under this imprudent law, where would America have deported Timothy McVeigh, who was born in New York, too? More importantly, how does this, in any way, address terrorism’s root causes?

Unfortunately, Washington and Capitol Hill refuse to discuss the role of economic exploitation—coupled with political marginalization—in creating this deadly situation. Ironically, one week before the Times Square incident, I was approached
by a political science student who wanted to explore some of my views on terrorism. There were two basic questions. Firstly, what are the causes of “terrorism?” Secondly, how do we stop it?

Terrorism may not have one particular cause but it seems clear economic inequalities, and a lack of political self-determination, contribute to today’s terrorism.

There are exceptions. Timothy McVeigh was concerned with what he perceived as a thuggish federal government, especially, in the aftermath of the Waco Siege at the Branch Davidian compound, in Texas, where seventy-six people were killed.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of bombs and drones, we need to be building schools and homes. American foreign policy must reject anti-democratic regimes, like the corrupt dictators in Saudi Arabia, whom we protect.

Bullets and bombs spawn more terrorism.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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