Better yet, negotiate with everybody. Hey! I get the general idea of “not negotiating with terrorists,” but what got us there? Maybe terrorism is an act of desperation. If I’m right, not negotiating is just a way of treating symptoms and not a very good one. The better option is to work towards stamping out desperation.
Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. There will always be a few like-minded crazies who find each other and decide to blow or shoot someplace up. This usually ends in a ball of flame with the perps dead or behind bars. I’m talking here about organizations that are able to recruit and grow because their central message and goal resonates with lots of people.
What is that message? What’s the goal? Not the spun and redacted one that their enemies pass around, but the one that caused so many people to sign up. Maybe you’d need to put yourself in their shoes to fully understand it. Try. Somewhere at the root of it, there is some truth. There has to be. Most of us have a good enough bullshit detector to weed out the crazies. To grow, any organization needs some truth. Sadly, for some the truth may be that their lives are so miserable that getting paid to kill starts to seem like a good option. Of course, whose fault is that?
We owe it to the world to find the truth. Buried within it is an injustice that could be the basis for discussion. How many future terrorist groups are being ignored or suppressed now? Could negotiating help us to avert the havoc they would inevitably wreak upon us?
Most of us don’t ask these questions. Our government has taught us that this is wrong thinking. We are taught that we have enemies and they are bad people whose sole purpose is to wipe us off the planet. This is tribalism at its worst. If we are going to evolve socially, we need to stop seeing other groups as “them” and start seeing them as “us.” If we can do that, then we might show a bit more compassion for the strife that is causing them to organize against their oppressors (perceived or real).
Is this idealistic? Damn straight it is! So what? Is idealism a bad goal or something? I’m tired of the “we live in a shitty world -- deal with it!” attitude that so many people have these days. Who is selling us this garbage? They are the real enemy. They are the ones keeping us from getting at the truth that will ultimately avoid sending young men and women to die for the military industrial complex. Maybe that’s “they” we should be worried about? I’m just saying.