"The horrible massacre of 3000
there was no massacre.
But all those buildings!
Oh, the masonry!"
"Go away! The show doesn't
start for another hour."
at the Western Wall
The Root Cause of Terrorism It's tyranny.
BY BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
Friday, April 19, 2002
Do not be fooled by the apologists of terror.
These apologists tell us that the root cause of terrorism is the
deprivation of national and civic rights, and that the way to stop terror
is to redress the supposed grievances that arise from this deprivation.
But the root cause of terrorism, the deliberate targeting of civilians, is
not the deprivation of rights. If it were, then in the thousands of
conflicts and struggles for national and civil rights in modern times we
would see countless instances of terrorism. But we do not.
Mahatma Gandhi fought for the independence of India without resorting to
terrorism. So too did the peoples of Eastern Europe in their struggle to
bring down the Berlin Wall. And Martin Luther King's campaign for equal
rights for all Americans eschewed all violence, much less terrorism.
If the deprivation of rights is indeed the root cause of terrorism, why
did all these people pursue their cause without resorting to terror? Put
simply, because they were democrats, not terrorists. They believed in the
sanctity of each human life, were committed to the ideals of liberty, and
championed the values of democracy.
But those who practice terrorism do not believe in these things. In fact,
they believe in the very opposite. For them, the cause they espouse is so
all-encompassing, so total, that it justifies anything. It allows them to
break any law, discard any moral code and trample all human rights in the
dust. In their eyes, it permits them to indiscriminately murder and maim
innocent men and women, and lets them blow up a bus full of children.
There is a name for the doctrine that produces this evil. It is called
Indeed, the root cause of terrorism is totalitarianism. Only a
totalitarian regime, by systemically brainwashing its subjects, can
indoctrinate hordes of killers to suspend all moral constraints for the
sake of a twisted cause.
That is why from its inception totalitarianism has always been wedded to
terrorism--from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler to the ayatollahs to Saddam
Hussein, right down to Osama bin Laden and Yasser Arafat.
It is not merely that the goals of terrorists do not justify the means
they choose, it is that the means they choose tell us what their true
goals are. Osama bin Laden is not seeking to defend the rights of Muslims
but to murder as many Americans as possible, and ultimately to destroy
America. Saddam Hussein is not seeking to defend his people but to
subjugate his neighbors. Arafat is not seeking to build a state but to
destroy a state; the many massacres of Jews he sponsors tells us what he
would do to all the Jews of Israel if he had enough power.
Those who fight as terrorists rule as terrorists. People who deliberately
target the innocent never become leaders who protect freedom and human
rights. When terrorists seize power, they invariably set up the darkest of
dictatorships--whether in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or Arafatistan. In
short, the reason why some resort to terror and others do not is not any
absence of rights, but the presence of a tyrannical mindset. The
totalitarian mind knows no limits. The democratic mind sets them
The essential steps to defeat international terrorism are being
courageously undertaken by President Bush. By declaring that terrorism is
never justified, and by deterring or destroying those regimes that support
terror, President Bush has bravely charted a course that will lead the
free world to victory.
But to assure that this evil does not re-emerge a decade or two from now,
we must not merely uproot terror but also plant the seeds of freedom. Only
under tyranny can a terrorist mindset be widely cultivated. It cannot
breed in a climate of democracy and freedom.
The open debate of ideas and the respect for human life that are the
foundation of all free societies are a permanent antidote to the poison
that the terrorists seek to inject into the minds of their recruits.
That is why it is imperative that once the terrorist regimes in the Middle
East are swept away, the free world, led by America, must begin to build
the institutions of pluralism and democracy in their place. This will not
happen overnight, and it is not likely to result in liberal, Western-style
democracies. But given an option between Turkish-style freedom and
Iranian-style tyranny, the choice is clear.
We simply can no longer allow parts of the world to remain cloistered by
fanatic militancies. Such militancies, once armed with nuclear weapons,
could destroy our civilization. We must begin immediately to encourage the
peoples of the Arab and Islamic world to embrace the idea of pluralism and
the ideals of freedom--for their sake, as well as ours.