Friday, June 16, 2006

The Cause of Terror

The Stephen Coonts short story, Secretary of Terror, is definitely food for thought, and I actually agree with the professor's assessment. Fundamental Islamic terrorists will not just go away, because they are supported, or at the very least, not disagreed with by the majority of those who worship under Islam.

The theory that terrorism is the result of poverty has already been disproved according to a paper done at Harvard University in 2004. Acts of terrorism from all parts of the globe and perpetrated by a variety of terror organizations and ideologies were studied, along with the backgrounds of those carrying out the acts of terror. It was found that it was not economics, but the degree of political freedom a nation affords that was the severity of terrorism. Terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, as well as nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism. It was the intermediate nations or the ones making the transition from one extreme to the other that seemed the most vulnerable.

Interestingly, a paper by the same authors done in 2005 suggest that poverty, or at least lowered expectations of prosperity are the by-products of terror.

For whatever international reasons, this paper is rarely cited as a reference and the poverty theory pursed to ad nauseum. The current U.S. administration seems the only involved party interested in these findings.

The reasons behind the results of this paper were not studied, but I have my own theory as to why transitioning nations are more vulnerable to terrorism. I believe it is the desire of the highly autocratic governments, or the forces within, to hold onto control of the population. It is my contention that nations suffering the highest degree of terror attacks have elements of the former regime encouraging terrorism with the hopes of proving that freedom is dangerous. That was very clearly defined in both Iraq and Afghanistan. My curiosity wanders into nations such as China and North Korea. Does terrorism exist there?

Islam also seems a determining factor, but for my own foray into political correctness, I will assume the role of Islam to be nothing more than a tool for the enemies of freedom. This paper specifically addresses suicide terrorism, and makes a good case for a multi-level explantion for its root causes.

The Coonts story is an illustration of the desperation felt by the victims of terror, and the depths to which the imagination with delve in search of a defense. The story is brief, so I won't spoil it, but the case for political freedom or lack of as a root cause of terrorism, is the main reason for my belief that the story is pure entertainment in the form of high social fiction.

Read the story, and allow your imagination to wander. What do you think?

Hat tip to Consul at Arms and Another Voice


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