Monday, August 14, 2006

There Aren't Enough Bullets

Israel seems to be pursuing a plan of trying to kill all of Hezbollah. This plan will not work and is morally flawed. How can unleashing violence create peace? Each member of Hezbollah is a person integrated into society. When they are killed, others step up to fill their place and many more will donate to the "cause." Every bullet fired, every shell spent only results in a larger and more powerful foe.

Violent organizations who have suicide bombers need two things to keep on going: money and new recruits. If you want to fight them put down the gun and start using your head. Figure out how those two vital resources move into the organization and then block those pathways.

Violence upon people, be it from a state or a small group, is a war on all civilization. We, the ones without the guns, need to find away to block those pathways and get those with the guns to stop. Accounting, legislation, engagement and talking will be our tools. One example of this is that the author of Freakonomics has been charged with looking into how to track terrorist organizations. If you can tell what kind of pattern is made by the money flowing into the organization you can find the cell or disrupt their cash flow. Another example is the group Combatants for Peace. If former combatants preach the message of peace and dialog they have great power to get others to rethink their own actions.

Destroying your enemy may work if your enemy is really small or you have the capacity to destroy his homeland utterly without any consequences. No one is really in that situation. Vigorous engagement and looking at the deeper causes to isolate the violent organization while cultivating moderation seems a better plan.

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