Much like everyone else, terrorists aim to achieve an objective. They are not extra-rational, off-the-charts insane, quite often the contrary. They are capable of some rather cold calculation. The colder the better (for them). The immediate objective of most terrorist acts is to bring violence upon people. Who the people are doesn't necessarily matter. But the second objective of the terrorist is that the response to their terrorism further their cause. So if terrorists from region x or ethnicity y or religion z kill a bunch of people of a different region, ethnicity, or religion, they want as their second objective indiscriminate violence to be brought upon them and their non-terrorist fellows. That violence will create more sympathy for their cause, more terrorists, and so forth. Why? Because that violence (1) legitimizes their cause; (2) treats them as combatants, in a war, which is what they want. Someone explain this to that maniac Bill Kristol, who just does not get it. He writes:
Consider first an op-ed article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times by Martha Nussbaum, a well-known professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago. The article was headlined “Terrorism in India has many faces.” But one face that Nussbaum fails to mention specifically is that of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic terror group originating in Pakistan that seems to have been centrally involved in the attack on Mumbai.
This is because Nussbaum’s main concern is not explaining or curbing Islamic terror. Rather, she writes that “if, as now seems likely, last week’s terrible events in Mumbai were the work of Islamic terrorists, that’s more bad news for India’s minority Muslim population.” She deplores past acts of Hindu terror against India’s Muslims. She worries about Muslim youths being rounded up on suspicion of terrorism with little or no evidence. And she notes that this is “an analogue to the current ugly phenomenon of racial profiling in the United States.”
Quite the contrary. Nussbaum's goal, unlike Kristol's, is not to create more terrorists by treating every muslim as complicit in the actions a few. Kristol's bloodthirsty cluelessness is in even greater evidence in the following passage:
Jim Leach is also a professor, at Princeton, but he’s better known as a former moderate Republican congressman from Iowa who supported Barack Obama this year. His contribution over the weekend was to point out on Politico.com that “the Mumbai catastrophe underscores the importance of vocabulary.” This wouldn’t have been my first thought. But Leach believes it’s very important that we consider the Mumbai attack not as an act of “war” but as an act of “barbarism.”
Why? “The former implies a cause: a national or tribal or ethnic rationale that infuses a sacrificial action with some group’s view of heroism; the latter is an assault on civilized values, everyone’s. … To the degree barbarism is a part of the human condition, Mumbai must be understood not just as an act related to a particular group but as an outbreak of pent-up irrationality that can occur anywhere, anytime. … It may be true that the perpetrators viewed themselves as somehow justified in attacking Indians and visiting foreigners, particularly perhaps Americans, British and Israeli nationals. But a response that is the least nationalistic is likely to be the most effective.”
If, as Leach says, “it may be true” the perpetrators viewed themselves as justified in their attacks, doesn’t this mean that they did in fact have a “rationale” that “infused” their action?
Leach's point is that these terrorists should not be characterized as legitimate political agents involved in a war with the West of us. Of course they have a rationale, and a purpose, but it's one that ought not to be entertained by granting them privilege of our bombs.