Stand against all terrorism

Declaring ourselves against terrorism in France doesn’t mean we support it in Lebanon or Syria. Not freaking out that Islamic State was able to commit a terrorist act in one of the most free counties in the world doesn’t imply we don’t care. Being disgusted by violent acts against innocent people in one country doesn’t suggest we’re not disgusted by the violent acts perpetrated against innocent people in other countries.

It’s analogous to the Black Lives Matter slogan: Saying Black Lives Matter in no way infers other lives don’t matter—not unless the person who perceives the message is somehow threatened by it.

So here’s the crux of the matter: If we’re going to take a stand against terrorism, we have to take a stand against it everywhere. That’s our absurdly stated premise, right? War on Terror? And yet, in non-Western Europe countries, we don’t only not fight against terrorism, we practice it. How many thousands of innocent people have been killed by drone attacks, which we Americans condone through our silence and active participation?

Various sources say more than 50,000 civilians have been killed in Syria. Where’s the American outrage? No, when terrorism happens in that country, we call it revolution and provide bombs and guns. It’s the very definition of fighting fire with gasoline.

So let’s get a few things straight. Attacking civilians in democracies is an IS strategy. It works like this. Since people don’t tend to differentiate among religious factions to which they don’t belong—for example, most Christians don’t know the difference among Sunni, Shi`ite or Sufi Muslims. Hell, many Christians can’t differentiate between Southern Baptists and Lutherans. So if six or eight Muslim IS terrorists attack innocent crowds, the mass of people who don’t practice Islam will blame all the practitioners of Islam, putting additional restraints on them and discriminating against them. Anybody will feel frustrated when the government discriminately starts increasing pressure and surveillance. That creates anger against the government. And that anger creates radicals. It’s not only understandable, it’s predictable.

IS can predict a massive military response when a couple of expendable terrorists kill innocent people on a plane or in a concert hall far away from the battlefield. France and Russia both reacted as predicted. Know-nothing Americans acted predictably as well, with governors demanding that refugees be excluded from their states. (In the 1940s, when the U.S. government threw U.S. citizens on the Pacific Coast into inland camps, Nevada was excluded because Gov. Ted Carville didn’t want those people in his state.)

Americans have got to begin using their minds to fight terrorism. The correct response to terrorism is not to cower in fear of innocent people. The correct response is not to increase a warlike response. The response is not to do anything the way we’ve been doing it since September 11, 2001, because our current strategies have failed miserably, increasing the amount of terrorism in the world.

The solution is not to pray for peace. The solution is to act like Americans, to make friends instead of enemies, to let other countries decide their own destinies. An increased military response or religious discrimination will only hurt our objective of a world where people can travel and do business.