Free Minds & Free Markets

What Do Terrorists Want?

Terrorism, if it to have any meaning, is a political, not a sadistic, act.

U.S. Pacific Fleet/FlickrU.S. Pacific Fleet/FlickrAfter the terrorist violence in Brussels many people, including Barack Obama, said we should not change our way of life and live in fear because that is what terrorists want. Maybe, but is that all they want? It seems that something important is left out of the story. In the classical model of terrorism, instilling fear (along with causing death and injury) is not an end in itself. It's a means to an end.

Terrorists don't necessarily get a kick out creating carnage and fear (though it is possible). Primarily they want the survivors' fear converted into action aimed at changing their government's policy. Thus terrorism, if it to have any meaning, is a political, not a sadistic, act. In the paradigm case a weak nonstate group, unable to resist a state's military or to change its policy directly, terrorizes the civilian population of that state in the hope it will demand a change in foreign or domestic policy. (Let's leave aside for this discussion that terrorism has been strategically (re)defined by the United States and its allies such that it can apply only to their adversaries, even when they attack military targets instead of civilians.)

It's not hard to fathom why the full story of terrorism is not acknowledged by officials and pundits: it would draw attention to what the U.S. government and allied states have long been doing to people in the Muslim world. Nearly all Americans seem to think it's a sheer coincidence that terrorism is most likely to be committed by people who profess some form of Islam and that the U.S. military has for decades been bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc. in multiple Islamic countries. Or perhaps they think U.S.-inflicted violence is just a defensive response to earlier terrorism. (I might be giving people too much credit by assuming they even know the U.S. government is doing any of this.) When the U.S. military isn't wreaking havoc directly, the U.S. government is underwriting and arming tyrants like those in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. And just to complete the picture, the U.S. government fully backs the Israeli state, which has oppressed Palestinians and occupied their land for many decades.

All this is what Islamist terrorists say they seek revenge for (more here), and the U.S. government acknowledges this. (That does not excuse violence against noncombatants, of course.) But telling the full story about the terrorists' objectives might inadvertently prompt a fresh look—maybe even a reevaluation—of America's atrocious foreign policy. The ruling elite and the military-industrial complex would not want that.

Since questioning and changing U.S. foreign  policy are out of the question, the pundits and "terrorism experts" look for other ways to prevent terrorism. Unsurprisingly, everything they come up with entails violations of our civil liberties. Discussions about "profiling" are featured on cable news channels almost regularly. Should we or should we not profile? Those few who say no are accused of "political correctness," the handy put-down for anyone who is leery about violating privacy or gratuitously insulting whole classes of people.

But let's think about profiling for a moment. As acknowledged, when one hears about public, indiscriminate suicidal violence, such as occurred in Brussels, it is reasonable to wonder if the perpetrators professed some "extreme" variant of Islam. (That doesn't mean another group, say, neo-Nazis and white nationalists, couldn't be the perps, as in the case of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.) But since Islamists come to mind first, that might give us a clue to how to profile. As part of the profiling, why not look for links to countries the U.S. government and its allies bomb, occupy, or otherwise abuse? The media inform us that many of the terrorists in Europe first went to Syria to try to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad (whom the U.S. government wants overthrown), but then came home angry after NATO countries started bombing the Islamic State there and in Iraq, with the inevitable civilian casualties. In some cases Syrian nationals sneaked into Europe through Turkey.

So the perpetrators of the next terrorist act are likely to be Islamists with links to or sympathy for people terrorized by the United States and its allies—namely, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. But if that kind of profiling makes sense, wouldn't it make even more sense simply to stop inflicting violence on the Muslim world?

I guess that's too simple for our experts.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog.

Photo Credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • mashed potatoes||

    This isn't correct at all. They aren't demanding we back off are foreign policy, they are trying to get us to harden it and crack down domestically to polarize countries. They have published many articles in Dabiq and inspire that call to "clear the grey zone" i.e. no middle, us versus them. Tell me what the Ivory Coasts foreign policy even is? They are trying to split muslims off in nations they attack by having the nation at large isolate them.

  • mashed potatoes||

    I mean this might be a good argument for disengaging but they are blowing stuff up hope we go, alright guys lets leave.

  • ||

    No no no. It is all our fault mashed. If we would just quit being so mean the Islamists would stop bothering everyone and live in peace. Also, we would all get a free unicorn to ride.

    Every time I read a Richman article I think it has to be his dumbest ever.

  • mashed potatoes||

    I mean we have done a lot of retarded things in the past 15 years. but there were many a couple hundred jihadi's in Afghanistan on 9/11 and now 10's of thousands. Osama's goal was exactly pick a fight. Iraq was the hoped for but never expected dream of his. fighting us has exploded their ranks. they did not want us to walk away at all.

  • Drake||

    Instead of looking at their nuttiness and saying "no thanks", we dove right into it.

    And, so as not to hurt any feelings, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. to a lesser extent, invited huge numbers of them to move in and bring their crazy with them.

  • Radioactive||

    oohhh, oohhh, can I get the first ride? I promise I'm a virgin!!!

  • bacon-magic||

    I actually got to the 3rd paragraph this time without thinking of Adam Lanza or the Joooooooooos.
    Sheldon Richman is the Adam Lanza of Reason. There, I said it, take me away now.

    To put blame on western civilization for the shortcomings of Islamic ideology is laughable. Islam has been teaching it's adherents that it's tenets need to be followed by everyone through force since the 5th century.

  • Technomad||

    Since Islam wasn't yet founded in the 5th century, and wouldn't be for a couple of centuries, I guess that makes it the all-time world-record-holder for evil influences.

  • Gracchus||

    Not sure as to how it's a dumb article. It actually makes a lot of sense, given the history of US intervention in the Middle East dating all the way back to the end of World War II.

  • Suicidy||

    No, the Muslims have been a problem since the creation of their bloodthirsty death cult.

  • Fat Hubie||

    Maybe he is a secret muslim like Barry SoreToe!

  • Conchfritters||

    Creating overreaction among the targeted population is precisely the goal of terrorists, especially when they pose no conceivable existential threat to a given society or country. But, if the terrorists' intentions were to steal our freedoms and bankrupt our country, I think they can claim total victory. And I have to hand it to them, their game plan is brilliant. They don't even have a standing army with which to mount an invasion on us, or a Navy to transport them to our shores. Yet because of them, today, the government reads my grandma's emails and feels her up at the airport, and takes my $10,000 in federal taxes and spends $15,000 of it.

  • Radioactive||

    but when she gets felt up at the airport does she complain or smile to herself?

  • Conchfritters||

    She has to go out of the building, all the way out of the concourse, past the baggage claim, walk about 1.5 miles, and have a cigarette.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It takes your $10k in federal taxes and gives you $11k in goodies.

  • ||

    "And just to complete the picture, the U.S. government fully backs the Israeli state, which has oppressed Palestinians and occupied their land for many decades."

    That certainly does complete the picture. It sure does.

  • BYODB||

    Look, you have to find a way to blame the Jews for 9/11. Otherwise what's the point of writing an article?

  • AlgerHiss||

    What Do Terrorists Want?

    Well, as they are willfully ignorant, oddly yet laughably terrified of females, breathtakingly violent and smell really bad, it’s quite difficult to ascertain what this gaggle of neurotic misfits wants.

    We can also simply things and call them "islamics/muslims".

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Nearly all Americans seem to think it's a sheer coincidence that terrorism is most likely to be committed by people who profess some form of Islam and that the U.S. military has for decades been bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc. in multiple Islamic countries.

    And, it appears, some American seem to think it's a sheer coincidence that this is done by "people who profess some form of Islam" because of the US military when history is replete with examples of this type of Islamic behavior before there even was a US.

    Now, does that mean that the US doesn't have some brain-damaged policies or that some of the terrorism isn't due to those policies? No. Obviously not. But let's not pretend that these assholes haven't been doing this stuff for centuries. Because, yeah, that is too simple.

  • TGGeko||

    Mohawk, America is the center of the world. People don't even sneeze without the US being involved. Everything is our fault, we control the world.

  • Suicidy||

    And we can do no right. Don't forget that.

  • bacon-magic||

    ^Spot on.

  • bacon-magic||

    *reply to Mohawk

  • TapDancingXenomorph||

    @Mohawk: Right on -- while America deserves plenty of blame for chaotic situations across the world, our wrongs do not excuse horrific acts of violence by extremists. People who say otherwise are legitimizing terrorism as an appropriate response with this kind of rhetoric.

    The solution here is to crush the terrorist organizations we can find and reduce our involvement abroad from that point on. That means we don't build new governments for these nations (although we can certainly offer guidance if they ask for it), and we don't interfere in democratic elections, even if they elect another nutcase. From then on we stay out of internal affairs in the Middle East and we don't raise one missile against them unless they threaten us. If things break down again, then unfortunately the only option is to just let that area tear itself apart. It's their fault if they can't see common sense.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Judging by their behavior, they want the extermination or utter subjugation of everyone outside their community, and to establish a totalitarian state that makes the nazis and communists look like pikers.

    We didn't worry about what the KKK wanted, we just worked to neutralize them.

  • John||

    By Richman's logic, the KKK were just southerners reacting the only way they could to northern oppression.

  • Detroit Linguist||

    Agreed. All we have to do is take them at their word.

  • Suicidy||

    Like N Korea. Just with lots of mullahs. And mandatory mosque services.

  • Drake||

    Instead of linking to yourself, why not ask the terrorists themselves?

    Bin Laden and his inner circle all talked about their goal of establishing a "Pious Caliphate".

    Fouad Hussein is a Jordanian journalis who has interviewed many high-level terrorists and written books on the topic. What they want is a caliphate. Here's an 11-year-old Spiegel article that turns out was very predictive (although Al Queda isn't in charge of some it any longer):

  • John||

    Richman is recycling the same line of evil horse shit that said that people like the Khmer Rouge and North Korean communists were just fighting western oppression. Richman's position is pure evil. As much as I hate the terrorists, you have to at some level respect their honesty about their goals. There is nothing to respect about lying toadies like Richman who justify and obscure their evil.

  • Suicidy||

    I was contemplating writing a comment calling Sheldon evil. You beat me to it. +1.

  • John||

    My God Richman is stupid. It boggles the mind how stupid he is. Terrorists don't get a kick out of creating carnage? Yeah, no one ever enjoyed violence. The only reason people commit violence is reluctantly and because the situation leaves them no choice. A terrorist organization would never attract people who enjoy violence and see the politics of the movement as a rationalization for their enjoyment of violence.

    There are some ideas that are so stupid only Richman could believe them.

  • Number 2||

    Give Sheldon credit. A month or so ago he claimed that the word "terrorism" was invented by the United States and Israeli governments as an excuse for murdering Palestinians. At least now he has progressed to the point that he admits that terrorism is a legitimate term that has real meaning.

    Otherwise it is more of the usual Sheldon refrain of how everything bad that happens in the world is "payback" for some real or imagined American sin. I am surprised he did not claim that the Oklahoma City bombing was "blowback" for bombing of Nazi Germany.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Otherwise it is more of the usual Sheldon refrain of how everything bad that happens in the world is "payback" for some real or imagined American sin.

    Hate Hate Hate America First!

  • Yuge Greatness, Jr.||

    What Terrorists Want

    I saw this one. Mel Gibson played a jihadist who could read the minds of Western governments, Helen Hunt played a firm, though coquettish, UN diplomat. Hilarious!

  • John||

    And the terrorists couldn't be mistaken in what they want. It couldn't possibly be that giving them what they want might not work out so well for them. No, in Richman's mind the terrorists are geniuses and that could never happen.

  • ||

    What Do Nazis Want?
    Nazism, if it to have any meaning, is a political, not a sadistic, act.

  • Conchfritters||

    I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • JWW||

    Yep classic Sheldon. Terrorism, because Jooooooos.

  • John||

    He is a thoroughly disgusting human being.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I still can't understand why Reason publishes Richman's nasty, stupid tripe. There are any number of better war skeptics out there if they spend a few minutes to look. If I was reading Reason trying to figure out about libertarianism and whether it reflected my views, encountering Richman's articles would firmly convince me otherwise.

  • John||

    I don't get it either. A lot of the stuff he writes is borderline Anti-Semitic. And all of it is appalling moral equivalency. There is nothing interesting cute about it. It is no different than publishing someone from StormFront. Reason has a real blind spot for vile crap that comes from the left that it doesn't and shouldn't have from the right.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Because we see his name on the byline, roll our eyes and say "Christ, what's he saying now", and click on it and comment.

  • BYODB||

    I'm literally not joking that I didn't see that he was the author.

    Then I got to the part where he says, "And just to complete the picture, the U.S. government fully backs the Israeli state, which has oppressed Palestinians and occupied their land for many decades."

    That caused me to pause and go 'hold on a second'. Looked up at the author and went 'oh'.

  • Suicidy||

    Can we have a live Q&A woth Nick sometime in which someone asks him point blank why he still publishes Sheldon's bullshit?

  • Number 2||

    "It's not hard to fathom why the full story of terrorism is not acknowledged by officials and pundits: it would draw attention to what the U.S. government and allied states have long been doing to people in the Muslim world"

    On the other hand, the political strategy of terrorism has worked out so well for the Muslim world, hasn't it? U.S. intervention in the Muslim world has certainly declined since the beleaguered Islamists have resorted to this political strategy, hasn't it?

    If terrorism truly is a "political strategy" to force the U.S. to leave the Middle East alone as Sheldon claims, it seems to be failing. Maybe Sheldon will address this in his next article?

    Sure he will.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    Apocalypse-triggering strategies trigger me!

  • Suicidy||

    Apocalypse will be fully triggered for Memorial Day weekend. Alomg with the X-Men. Looking forward to seeing Sansa-Jean in a skintight leather costume.

  • BenSharp||

    As Sam Harris put it:

    "Many countries in Latin America have legitimate grievances against the U.S. Where are the Guatemalan suicide bombers? Where are the Cherokee suicide bombers, for that matter? If oppression were enough, the Tibetans should have been practicing suicidal terrorism against the Chinese for decades. Instead, they practice self-immolation, for reasons that are totally understandable within the context of their own religious beliefs."

  • zazoo||

    Something I've been wondering about for some time. Why are there no Tibetan suicide bombers?

    Despite their travails the Palestinians have their culture, their language and their religion. I don't think anyone doubts this.

    The Tibetans on the other hand have all these under attack. Yet they stubbornly persist in refusing to blow themselves up in crowded places.

    Why is that ?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Because the US isn't bombing them. RTFA.

  • Ron||

    If they self emolate then they've done no harm to others but if they start attacking the Chinese the Chinese will attack back ten fold

  • Mickey Rat||

    Violence in pursuit of political goals by foreign groups are acts of war. Considering we have been acknowledging that terrorist actions are warfare against our interests I wonder who Richman thinks he is arguing against?

    The problem is Richman assuming that the goals of the organizations that use terrorism is anything we should acquiesce to. Islamic terrorists generally tend to have politically noxious goals.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Terrorism, if it to have any meaning, is a political, not a sadistic, act.

    Terrorism, pretty much by definition, is the attempt by a violent minority to impose their will on the majority. When majorities get pissed off enough to use violence, we call that a "revolution" or an "uprising".

  • Rational Exuberance||

    It's not hard to fathom why the full story of terrorism is not acknowledged by officials and pundits: it would draw attention to what the U.S. government and allied states have long been doing to people in the Muslim world

    Like what? Trade with them? Trying to deal with the aftermath of the failed Islamic empires, broken cultures, and broken political systems? Spending trillions to keep these people from bashing in each others' heads?

    Mind you, I think our efforts have been pretty unsuccessful, and they have been a waste of US tax payer dollars. But complaints by "the Muslim world" about supposed Western mistreatment deserve only ridicule. If we treated the Muslim world like the Muslim world used to treat the non-Muslim world, we would militarily occupy the entire region, enslave many of them, and treat the rest as second class citizens in their own homes unless they convert to Christianity.

    The grievances of the Muslim world are a confusion of wanting Western-style societies without actually becoming Westernized, and for blaming the West for not delivering the ideal society on a silver platter. The fact that that's impossible isn't the West's fault.

  • Number 2||

    One of Sheldon's many logical errors is that he says "Muslim" when he means "Middle East" or "Arab." You will note the absence of any mention of Bosnia, where we used military force to defend Muslims from ethnic cleansing by Serbia, or of Morrocco, Algeria, Indonesia, all of which are part of the Muslim world but appear to have nothing being "done" to them.

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    ^Great point!

  • zazoo||

    Not only did the West not do anything to Indonesia but we let them quietly commit the largest per capita genocide of the 20th century in East Timor.

    Still don't ever hear much about it.

  • Suicidy||

    Sheldon would somehow twist it around to be all our fault.

  • Radioactive||

    "And just to complete the picture, the U.S. government fully backs the Israeli state, which has oppressed Palestinians and occupied their land for many decades"

    fight a war, lose a war, lose your land...kind of the way it works

  • zazoo||

    You know I was kind of wondering about that.

    I've noticed that in Morocco they speak Arabic.

    But it's an awful long way from Arabia. Did the original inhabitants maybe just like the sound of the language and start speaking it ?

    That's the only explanation I can think of as I can't see a way of blaming the West for this one.

  • Mindyourbusiness||

    I think I'll take a nap and try to sleep off the double dose of silly I ingested from this article.

  • wFt||

    I have to say I got more from the comments than from the article that generated them.

  • BYODB||

    Welcome to!

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    How I feel every time I come here^

  • Conchfritters||

    "What Do Terrorists Want?"

    Health care systems, giant water parks.

  • Radioactive||

    girls with big titties!!!

  • Radioactive||

    at giant water parks!!!

  • zazoo||

    They want.....

    A shrubbery !

  • buybuydandavis||

    Wasn't it jobs? I thought I heard that a while back.

  • Suicidy||

    Jobs programs. My state's senator said that in public before.

  • Ingimar||

    Ok, where to start on this. First, not all terrorists are created equal (insert 'but some are more equal than others' quip here). If you want to point to say the PIRA or other leftists in the 70's and 80's, yes, there was a political component. In regards to the PIRA though, they left direct action behind and moved to a political solution that was clearly defined (an independent Northern Ireland). For our current situation, you have to realize that the concept of Islamo-fascism dates back to well before the USA was on the horizon. Groups inside the religon/political structure of Islam were fighting for control (Sunni vs. Shia vs. Sufi) a thousand years ago. As a result, the history of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood can be traced back long before the advent of US foreign policy. Examine the history of the Nizari Ismailis and one can see the parallels to today.

    So to Richman's conclusions - I can understand that some terrorist groups are looking for a political solution but in the current situation, there seems to be an undercurrent of groups that just want to kill for the sake of Jihad. Even if the US got out of all of the middle east and completely realigned its foreign policy, this will not go away. This is an ideology that does not want a seat at the table, they want to kick everyone off the table.

  • buybuydandavis||

    This is an ideology that does not want a seat at the table, they want to kick everyone off the table.

    Islamists want everyone else on the table, fried or barbecued. Like all totalitarians, they're cannibals. Of course they hate us. They can't eat us, and we somewhat restrain them from eating others.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: What Do Terrorists Want?

    They want a 401k, medical and dental benefits, and free jelly beans.
    I'm sure Arafat would agree with me if he was alive instead of burning in hell.

  • Suicidy||

    With free unlimited abortion and birth control coverage for young teenage girls.

  • Chumby||

    Did I somehow link to with all the military adventurism support comments?

  • Intraveneous Woodchipper||

    Why does Reason continue to employ Sheldon? Why?

    Is it because he gets so many rage clicks? Every article he writes seem to be more and more trollish in character balanced by fewer and fewer instances of serious insight, analysis or even originality. I would call him The Worst but that would suggest that he was at least good at that! Instead his entire Reason portfolio is a giant, resounding "meh".

  • buybuydandavis||

    Is it because he gets so many rage clicks?

    But normally, aren't you trying to drum up rage against the subjects of your articles, instead of the authors?

    Is "come here to hate our staff" a viable business model?

  • Free Society||

    Works for Salon.

  • JaimeRoberto||

    For some reason the headline made me picture a bunch of jihadist dancing to the Spice Girls' "Wannabe".

    If you want a jihad, you better strap on this vest.
    Soon you'll be in heaven. Virgins are the best...

  • american socialist||

    Aggg, mein eyes! Libertarian criticizes american Foreign policy, says it might be why people might want to kill Americans, and that maybe america should stop bombing and killing people.

    The bastard! Fuck him!

  • Radioactive||

    how about we fuck you instead?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Socialist sides with totalitarians. I'm shocked I tell you, just shocked.

  • Suicidy||

    Sheldon isn't very libertarian you rat fuck deadbeat.

  • dpbisme||

    Wow, this is a one sided story. Really? When the Islamists are not attacking us they are killing the Jews, the christens and the other Arabs in that part of the world. The Sunnis kill the Shia, the Shia kill the Sunni, The PLO kills Hamas, Hamas kills the PLO, and then there is the massive violence between tribes.... Does this guy know anything about the region or say Somalia where there are about 13 political parties (funny how there are also 13 Major Tribes). There are enough tribes out there who want a bigger piece of the pie that they deserve for some slight or wrong done to them generations ago.

    How many billions have the Arab countries, the US, and the Europeans poured in to Palestine? What happened to that money? Was it used to build factories, farms, water treatment, or sewage plants.... NOPE::: It was used to buy concrete to build tunnels in to Israel... So they could kill civilians..... Same as they have been doing for 40 years...

  • Number 2||

    Sheldon says:

    "Nearly all Americans seem to think it's a sheer coincidence that terrorism is most likely to be committed by people who profess some form of Islam and that the U.S. military has for decades been bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc. in multiple Islamic countries."

    Stop right there.

    Please name the "multiple Islamic countries" that the U.S. military -- not the Israelis, Russians, Iraqis or Iranians -- had been "bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc." before September 11, 2001. Don't talk to me about subverting Iranian prime ministers in the 1950s, supporting Israel, arming the Saudis, or supporting one side against the other in the Iran-Iraq War; that is not "bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc." The only "Islamic country" subjected to American military force before 9.11.01 was Iraq during the Gulf War, which at the time had a decidedly secular government, and which also at the time had a Jewish and Christian population.

    The multiple "bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc.," occurred after the U.S. was attacked, not before. Which undermines Sheldon's theory that Muslim terrorism is a response, not the cause, of the "bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc." of "multiple Islamic countries."

  • Gracchus||

    Iran (1953, 1979); Lebanon (1956, 1982-83); Indonesia (1967-1991); (Iraq 1990); Turkey (1970s-1990s); Libya (1986), etc.

    This doesn't even include all the military aid given to friendly dictatorships and monarchies, who usually repressed everyone from leftists and secular nationalists to Islamists.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So was that the US occupation of lebanon by our embassy in april of 83 or the peacekeeper marines that were building the second american empire? And I suppose that goes along with the US occupation of iran by our embassy personnel in 79.

  • mtrueman||

    US warships shelled Lebanese towns and villages in 1983, hardly the act of a neutral peacekeeper. The shelling did not prevent militias like Hezbollah from forming and leading the country in subsequent years.

  • mtrueman||

    Please name the "multiple Islamic countries"

    Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan.

  • JFree||

    You underestimate the Iraq and Gulf War impact. Before we even finally decided to act against Iraq when they invaded Kuwait, binLaden had demanded that the Saudis use his Afghan veterans from AlQaida to kick Saddam out of Kuwait. He was turned down. Bush gave his speech to Congress outlining his Gulf War aims and 'New World Order' aims on Sept 11, 1990 - and yes that is why 9/11 was chosen as the date for their attack (and probably why World trade Center was chosen for the civilian target). The UN/Saudi/US cooperation outlined in that speech is precisely what binLaden railed about in his declaration of war fatwa against us in 1996. And since we failed to bring our troops home after that war (as promised), binLaden was able to recruit 15 Saudis for the attack - by talking to them about the 'crusader occupation of the land of the two holy mosques'.

    That is also why the 2003 invasion of Iraq probably had to happen. We were stuck.

  • mtrueman||

    Terrorists usually want to be taken seriously. No amount of sit-ins, petitions, marches and so on achieves this. It's terror that does the trick, terror and, to appease the terrorists, a compliant state like Israel, the US or UK who, if nothing else, understand the language of violence.

  • buybuydandavis||

    And just to complete the picture because I always feel the need to Blame Da Joos, the U.S. government fully backs the Israeli state, which has oppressed Palestinians and occupied their land for many decades.
  • Ron||

    Has the U.S. made lots of mistakes in the middle east yes but lets not forget why we were there in the first place. To keep the USSR from getting the oil and then dominating the world. If they think life under the U.S. was bad under the USSR banner they would have lost all of their religion.

  • mtrueman||

    "To keep the USSR from getting the oil and then dominating the world."

    The USSR had no intention of getting the oil and dominating the world. They were quite happy with their arrangements under Hitler, and then the Western powers when their deal with Hitler turned sour.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Thus terrorism, if it to have any meaning, is a political, not a sadistic, act.

    The will to sadistically subjugate others is the fundamental political act. Also, the fundamental motivation of Islamists.

    So the perpetrators of the next terrorist act are likely to be Islamists with links to or sympathy for people terrorized by the United States and its allies

    What a laugh. Yeah, when ISIL terrorizes all people within it's grasp, Muslims and Infidels alike, they're acting out of *sympathy* for people terrorized by the United States and its allies. Same thing with Saddam Hussein. And Bashar Assad. And the Taliban....

    Leftists seem constitutionally incapable of recognizing that other people have their own motivations, instead of being stuffed full of their own Hate America First projections.

  • mtrueman||

    "This is for Syria!"

    Last words of a Paris suicide bomber, 2015.

  • Gracchus||

    What leftists tend to argue is that individual terrorists have motivations, usually ranging from the personal (bad childhood, awkward personality, etc.) to the political (anger at foreign intervention, chaos resulting from said interventions, etc.). It basically IS the "Blame American First" projection.
    After all, let's think about the situation in reverse. Imagine if we had a foreign power occupying the United States and regularly installing and overthrowing rulers without cleaning up the chaos caused in the meantime. What would we do? I would think that the scenario would be something like the one in "Red Dawn", where local forces engage in guerilla fighting against foreign occupiers, terrorist attacks on enemy political and military installations, and the like. Once you see it that way, it's not hard to imagine how the terrorists justify their actions (no matter how deplorable they are).

  • Sconson||

    You can think US foreign policy in the Middle East is well intentioned, only a minor motivation for terrorists, and that terrorism is never justified, but it still has some influence on the level of terrorism, and in that case, we need to weigh the benefits of US intervention against the costs of terrorism.

    Can we start by not funding Middle Eastern dictatorships, as well as Israel because they can afford their defense?

  • ipsum||

    Excellent article. Most people like to make things far more complex than necessary.
    A simple history lesson would help set them straight

  • Suicidy||

    There was a history lesson in this article? I thought it was self loathing Jewish fan fiction.

  • Underzog||

    This self hating creep is excusing Muslim terrorism again? I guess he'll never stop that even as his Islamic pals decapitate him. Maybe Sheldon will blame Israel for his Muslim decapitation before the screams of agony and, then, blackness.

    There's no need to fear. Underzog is here.

  • Suicidy||

    In good conscience, Sheldon should turn himself in for torture and execution at the nearest ISIS customer service center.

  • mtrueman||

    " the nearest ISIS customer service center."

    There's probably a Saudi consulate in every important city.

  • Underzog||

    Does this idiot, self hater really think appeasement is the way to stop Islamic terror? Did the mohel do a circumcision Richman's brain instead of his penis? Sheldon Richman sounds as if he lost some grey matter from some procedure so maybe the mohel (the person who does the circumcision in the Jewish religion) was drunk that day and shaved his brain instead of his phallus.

    That has to be the explanation for his appeasement of evil and wholehearted support for people who kill people such as him; i.e. Jews. These self haters are really sickos. They are more mentally disturbed than the way you Rhomites imagine me to be. Get a nice non Jewish psychiatrist for self hating Jew, Sheldon Richman, before he hurts, America, others and himself with his sick and evil appeasement talk.

    "There's no need to fear. Unhderzog is here."

  • mtrueman||

    "Does this idiot, self hater really think appeasement is the way to stop Islamic terror?"

    Worked for the PLO and Israel. A good deal of the PLO is Islamic. Ever heard of a guy called Klinghoffer? A victim of terror, but he didn't die in vain. His death lead to PLO legitimacy.

  • Suicidy||

    Yeah, that's worked so well........

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Uh huh. So if I wonder around giving random people free puppies, that means I could be a terrorist?

  • KAB||

    Richman, you are pathetically wrong. But, hey your man obama has surely planted the seed to correct the problem by giving Iran nuclear bombs. Sadly, I would not be a bit surprised to see one of our cities incinerated within 5 years.

  • Vapourwear||

    Attn. eds., check ur subhead. Kthxbai.

  • Stevecsd||

    We have been fighting muslims since the earliest days of our Republic. So who is the aggressor here?

    In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli's ambassador
    to Great Britain to ask by what right his nation attacked American
    ships and enslaved American citizens, and why Muslims held so much
    hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous
    contacts. Jefferson & Adams reported that Ambassador Sidi
    Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the
    Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran that all
    nations who would not acknowledge their authority were sinners, that
    it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could
    be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and
    that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure
    to go to Paradise." Despite this stunning admission of premeditated
    violence on non-Muslim nations, as well as the objections of many
    notable American leaders, including George Washington, who warned that
    caving in was both wrong and would only further embolden the enemy,
    for the following fifteen years the American government paid the
    Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or
    the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute
    amounted to over 20 percent of the United States government annual
    revenues in 1800.

  • Stevecsd||

    For the full text about Thomas Jefferson & the Barbary Coast Wars download from my Dropbox: Jefferson & The Barbary Coast Muslims.docx?dl=0

  • Robert Masters||

    The Daesh terrorists have no resolvable grievances.

  • Richie||

    A religion used for tyranny, right... If a belief system becomes too costly to support, it will be abandoned. Until then, people will only laugh at the destruction these extremists cause on the inside as much as these politicians do. If a citizenry believes they need to pour this much money to protect themselves from terrorists, I would definitively be trying to screw them over as a pol...

    These terrorists more concerned with the Middle East than the US.

  • Richie||

    I came up with my conclusion using my caveman logic.

  • SharonGray||

    My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

    go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,

  • loisperez12345||

    Start making more money weekly. This is a valuable part time work for everyone. The best part work from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week.Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more details Check this link……

    Clik This Link inYour Browser…


  • susanlong0001||

    til I saw the draft which was of $6881 , I didnt believe that my mother in law had been realy taking home money part-time on their laptop. . there best friend has done this 4 only twelve months and at present took care of the mortgage on there condo and got a top of the range Subaru Impreza . Learn More ....

    Click This Link inYour Browser....



Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online