"Terrorists cause terrorism"

Driving into work this morning I was listening to the BBC World Service on WBUR, my local PBS radio station. In their response to Bush’s State of the Union speech yesterday , several Democrats had expressed anger that Bush’s policies had left the US isolated. In typical fashion, the BBC decided to follow this up and invited a couple of guests to discuss US isolation.
I didn’t catch the name of the first man, an academic with an Arabic name at something like the Institute for the Study of Democracy. The second guest was Tim Spangler from the UK chapter of Republicans Abroad International.
There was about about 10 minutes of discussion, during which Spangler basically cheered on Bush, and the academic pointed out some of the problems of using the term “war” for something as diffuse and open-ended as terrorism. (Clearly he’d never come across the US War on Drugs!)
Quite suddenly, Spangler startled me (and the interviewer, and many others, I should imagine) by interrupting a question about the root causes of terrorism, and declaring, flatly, “We know what causes terrorism. Terrorists cause terrorism. The way to stop terrorism is to hunt down the terrorists and stop them.” And though the other two tried to raise questions about political, sociological, and historical factors, Spangler wasn’t having any of it. “Terrorists cause terrorism” – case closed.
I wonder if Spangler realized how crass, naive, rude, and simplistic he sounded. Sadly, I doubt it – his uncritical, unsubtle, black-and-white language seemed to come straight from His Master’s Voice….

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