In “Huckleberry Finn,” Huck comes upon two families in a feud. They can’t even remember who started it, but revenge killing begets revenge killing begets revenge killing, and because no one ever thinks to say “this is fucking crazy,” these families keep on killing each other.
We want to respond with strength to the terrorist acts in France. It takes incredible strength to say “no” to your desire to lash out and punish. It takes strength to admit that radicalism is just a match that lights the kindling of poverty, alienation, fear, and anger. It takes strength to commit to truly change the corrupted and failing institutions and practices that supply the Devil his footsoldiers.
You can’t stop people who are willing to die for a cause with threats that you’ll kill them. You have to catch them before they reach that point and show them a better way, give them a better alternative.
One way to do that is to truly demand human rights reforms in every country that would ship a single product to our shores, be it oil or iPhones.
The long term way to wage war on terrorism is by cutting off the supply of new terrorists, and the best way to do that is to make this a better world.