Combating Terrorism

For decades now, we have been fighting terrorism with intelligence, police enforcement and military action; our success has been limited at best.  While these measures play vital roles in the overall effort, our ultimate success will depend upon our ability to cut off the supply of terrorist recruits.  As in the case of youth gangs, new members generally arise from a population of disenfranchised young men who face a bleak future of discrimination, unemployment, poverty and personal failure.

In order to end the reign of terrorism we must focus on that population, offering opportunity through education, skills training, citizenship and full participation in society.  Hopelessness leads to personal frustration which, in turn, makes these young individuals receptive to the overtures of gangs and terrorist groups; government policies must instill hope to break that chain.

Critics of such an approach point to the cost and dismiss it as socialism; they prefer to combat crime and terrorism with law enforcement and military strikes.  Of course, those measures are equally (if not more) expensive and do not address the recruiting power of violent zealots.  To be clear, terrorists will arise regardless of the policies that we adopt but we must ensure that their message does not resonate with the youth of this world.