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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

to die for...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

i understand terrorism now.

i can completely grasp the mindset necessary to commit unspeakable acts against another human being, or large numbers of human beings.

all i have to do is imagine someone killing one of my children. or my wife. and suddenly i can clearly see myself cutting off the head of the enemy. or taking hundreds of hostages and blowing them up.

i’m not saying such atrocities are justifiable. i don’t condone decapitation. and i despise killing children for any “cause” whatsoever.

but i understand it.

i’m not, by nature, a violent person. i’d much rather catch a basement spider and release it outside than crunch it underfoot. i don’t hunt, and i don’t own a weapon more lethal than an old aluminum bat.

but i know viscerally and unequivocally that i would become a zealous, relentless terrorist, given the right circumstances. everyone has their snapping point: what’s yours?

don’t deny it. you have your limit, beyond which you would coldly plot the deaths of as many as necessary to restore your peace of mind. this reality doesn’t make you a crazed, bloodthirsty killer. on the contrary: the successful slaughter of innocents requires a rational, calculated approach—a lucid state of mind. by this standard, today’s terrorists are completely sane.

it is reasonable that they love their children and their families, and would prefer to live long lives in their company. in other words, prior to the act of killing and maiming, terrorists are much like their victims.

until something sets them off. the trigger may be the result of years of grievous insult—or a single incident, unexpected and galvanizing. either way, what comes next is always the same. people die—and new terrorists are created, each with compelling reasons to kill or die or both.

if i were the parent of a russian child killed by chechen rebels, i’d be plotting right now to kill chechens. just as chechens clearly have their own reasons to kill russians. israelis and palestinians—today, right now, they’re plotting. iraqis, afghans, americans and others have sufficient reason to take the fight to the enemy—and there are countless targets, available and waiting.

the cycle is old and well-nurtured, constantly refreshed by the new blood of innocents. collectively (and rightfully) we condemn the increasing reports of this kind of violence. we cringe and shake our heads grimly. we pretend that we're civilized and beyond such barbaric behavior. we can’t imagine how such things are possible.

we should dispense with such comfortable and convenient lies. because while we would never advocate or excuse terrorism, we understand it very well.