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Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

Look inside Nissim Dahan's book Selling a Vision of Hope with Google Books.

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Palestinian sister-city proposal stirs rancor in Colorado

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, a Palestinian walks through snow on his way home in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Boulder, Colo., City Council was scheduled to vote Tuesday, April 19, 2016, on a formal sister-city relationship with Nablus on the West Bank. But proponents instead asked the city to name a mediator to work with them and opponents, saying they were surprised by the resistance they encountered despite their efforts to win over their critics. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh, File)
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) ? This peaceful university town is 7,000 miles from the violence of the Middle East, but a proposal to become sister cities with a Palestinian community has stirred such rancor that the City Council is trying to negotiate a truce among its own residents.

Listen to an interview with Nissim Dahan on the Tom Marr Show.

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Vision of Hope
Category >> terrorism
file under: Western civilizationterrorismextremism 2 Feb 2009 12:14 PM
Pakistan's Swat Valley: Lest We Forget Posted by Nissim Dahan
I saw a news report recently on ABC News, about a little known place called Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan. It used to be a tourist haven not long ago, a ski resort, but has been transformed of late into something quite different. The news video showed a father carrying his son's limp body in his arms, after a mortar attack. The boy would not survive, nor would his sister. Masked men could be seen dumping mutilated bodies in the town square. One of these men was beating a man with a wooden rod for reportedly being a drug addict.

 

What had previously been considered a more developed district has been overtaken by the Taliban over the last 18 months. Approximately 184 schools were destroyed by the Taliban, 120 of which had been girls' schools. Women who had come to know progressive reform were now threatened with death for shopping alone.

 

Swat used to be called the "Switzerland of the East" but is now referred to by the people as "the land of the terrorists." The economy has collapsed, and parents don't feel safe sending their children to school. The Taliban have targeted politicians, police, and reporters with a hit list, and 47 local politicians, leaders and activists have been ordered to appear before the Taliban court, or else. Dozens have already been killed. The local police have been systematically wiped out, their numbers shrinking from 1700 police officers down to 300.

 

There is widespread belief in Swat that the Pakistani military has struck a deal with the militants, and is therefore not going out of its way to defeat them. However, military officers point to the difficulty of fighting militants who position themselves among civilians. Some question the military's commitment in the face of the ferocity of the Taliban's fight. Yusufzai, the Peshawar editor of The News International says that "...these militants are willing to die while the soldiers are trying to save their lives." Political activists accuse the military of supporting camps in tribal areas where militants receive training. The Awami National Party's Gohar says that in her opinion, "If we want peace and prosperity in Pakistan, we cannot go around killing people in other countries, or sending in extremists and militants from our soil."

 

Why is any of this important to the rest of us? We don't live in Swat Valley, do we?

 

In the wake of 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has focused on regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq. All sorts of justifications have been offered for these policies, some of which have been proven to be false. But in the meantime, these two brutal wars continue to rage on, with no clear outcome in sight. And the conflict between Israel and Palestinians continues unabated as well. The recent military campaign in Gaza is just another case in a long string of military volleys back and forth.

 

America and Israel have faced an onslaught of international criticism as a result of their military activities, and the suffering such activity brings upon innocent civilians. And it is fitting that a world which calls itself civilized, should be repulsed by violence, and should be able to speak out against the brutality of military action, and in favor of justice for the innocent. After all, what does it mean to be civilized if it is not justice we seek? All this is true. And it is true as well that both America and Israel, who do share a strong connection based on common values, similar circumstances, and mutual interest, have gone overboard at times, with regard to excessive violence, and have wavered with regard to strategy, and with regard to their ultimate goals. In a very real sense, I doubt whether either Israel or the U.S. has a clear picture of what their ultimate goals really are.

 

But in the midst of all this uncertainty, one thing is pretty certain; the ideological extremists do indeed know what they want, and are emboldened by ideological conviction to get it. It is easy to get so wrapped up in criticizing the U.S. and Israel, that we lose sight of that. And yet, much as we hesitate to admit it, confronting the extremists is absolutely necessary, if we don't want our countries to delve into the hell that is Swat Valley.

 

Context is important. For example, stealing is wrong. That's true. But a mother stealing bread to feed her starving children is less wrong. Isn't it? Killing civilians is wrong. That's true. But killing civilians unintentionally in defense of one's freedom is less wrong. Isn't it? There are certain questions which have to be answered, and certain decisions which have to be made, even if they bring into question the very moral fiber of our being. Is there a threat to Western civilization posed by ideological extremists? Is this a threat we choose to confront? Do we use the means to confront this threat, even if it means that innocent people will be killed in the process?

 

These are hard questions, and the answers will be even harder for many of us to stomach. It goes against the grain of who we are. Many of us are idealistic, caring people, and it is exceedingly difficult for us to accept the profound nature of the evil we face, and the injustice that will be necessary to defeat it. And yet, the evil still stands lurking in the shadows. It will not go away quietly into that good night. It will remain and grow until we find the courage and the wisdom to confront it head on, with the same tenacity that emboldens the extremism we face.

 

I, for one, happen to believe that there is a great deal we could do, short of violence, to weaken the hold of extremist thinking. I believe in speaking to the man on the street with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity. I believe in investing in him; in giving him a place at the table, a stake in his future, by creating good paying jobs: jobs which grow the economy, jobs which protect the environment, and jobs which help to neutralize an ideology of hate. I believe in inspiring him with a Vision of Hope. I believe in sustaining the hope with public diplomacy.

 

All that is fine and good, but it will not be enough in and of itself. We will have no choice but to fight. Unfortunately, this is the sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves. We will have to fight because the enemy will not be moved otherwise. And therefore, since we have to fight, and fight hard, we owe it to ourselves to position the fight within a Vision of Hope; to raise the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain by giving the fight a moral clarity of purpose. People will fight harder once they know what they're fighting for. We are not fighting a "war against terror." We are fighting a war to realize a Vision of Hope. There's a big difference.

 

It is precisely because we have to fight, that we also have to invest. Our willingness to invest in the man on the street will give us, and people who choose to partner with us, including moderate Muslims, a good measure of credibility, and will embolden us to sustain the fight until the fight is won. The alternative is Swat Valley, an alternative that most of us cannot even afford to consider.

file under: vision of hopeterrorism 8 Dec 2008 8:39 AM
What Does Mumbai Mean? Posted by Nissim Dahan
I don't claim any particular expertise in Indian/Pakistani relations. However, given the horrific events of recent days, I think that certain conclusions can be drawn.

 

1. Terrorism will not go away any time soon: Given the strong probability that there will always be various groups around the world whose members perceive themselves to be the victims of injustice, and given that as few as 10 men, acting in tandem, and with scant resources, could wreak such havoc in a huge metropolitan city like Mumbai, the chances are good that terrorism is likely to persist, as a relatively inexpensive way of lashing out, making your grievances known, and effectuating change.

 

2. The recruitment and training of terrorists is not particularly difficult: From what I've read, the lone terrorist, who participated in and survived the attack, has a 4th grade education, and admits to having been trained in a training camp located somewhere in Pakistan. It is apparent, therefore, that recruiting prospective terrorists, and inculcating in them an ideological mindset which predisposes them to carry out suicide missions, is both feasible, and not particularly difficult. It is also obvious that there are, as we speak, organized training camps, operating with impunity, in places like Pakistan, and probably in a great many other places as well.

 

3. The governments of countries which host terrorist training facilities are unable or unwilling to clamp down on such activities: We must assume that if terrorist camps are operating in countries like Pakistan, then the government leaders must know about such activities, and are currently unable or unwilling to eradicate them. It is not difficult to fathom why. Clearly, such governments may lack the resources, or may lack the political will, since acting forcefully in this regard could well result in civil war, which may pose even more of a threat than the terrorism itself. It is also possible that corruption may be playing a part in the decision making process, whereby people are being paid off to remain silent and to do nothing to disturb the status quo. There are quiet understandings in place.

 

4. There is a limit to the outside pressure that can be brought to bear against a nuclear power: Even if India rightfully claims that the Pakistani leadership is not doing enough to curb the threat of terrorism, its hands may be tied when dealing with a nation that possesses some 60 nuclear weapons. A military reprisal from India against Pakistan, which will probably not occur, will not likely be strong enough to curb the terrorist threat, given the need to show restraint, in an effort to minimize the risk of a nuclear confrontation.

 

So given the realities on the ground, and the constraints they impose, what should the world do to contain the terrorist threat? My answer would be to Sell a Vision of Hope, by which we use a multi-faceted approach to undermine the enemy, by beating him at his own game, and by strengthening our resolve to meet the threats he poses:

 

1. Ideology: If the terrorist uses the divisive ideology of violent Jihad to win hearts and minds, we counter with the unifying Ideology of Common Sense, an ideology based on common sense principles, principles which have universal appeal, and which are therefore universally accepted as true. We will use a new ideological framework to speak to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity. In a more perfect world, common sense, the collective wisdom born of shared experience, will inspire our thinking and inform our speech. In our fractured world, common sense is the common denominator.

 

2. Investment: If the terrorist uses charitable handouts to win hearts and minds, we counter by investing in jobs, green technology jobs which protect the environment, which grow our economies, and which help to neutralize the hold of extremist thinking.

 

3. Hope: If the terrorist wins hearts and minds by selling people on a vision of hope for martyrdom, or virgins, or paradise, or what have you, we counter by selling people on a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom. People the world over need hope like air to breathe. Give the man on the street a sense of hope, and you will have turned the corner on world peace. Nothing more is needed and nothing less will suffice.

 

4. Public Diplomacy: If the terrorist wins hearts and minds by seeking to set us against one another, we counter by launching a series of Public Diplomacy Programs which are specifically designed to prop a Vision of Hope up and to carry it forward, including: a program to empower women, a media campaign, a student exchange, a cultural exchange, an expanded version of the Peace Corps, and a series of international conferences on education, religion and the environment. Take, for example, the program to empower women by financing female entrepreneurs, and promoting women's rights. Who are women? They are the givers of life, and the caretakers of life, and as such are uniquely qualified to reconstitute their societies consistent with a Vision of Hope.

 

5. Fight: If the terrorist wins hearts and minds by launching terror attacks against us, we counter by fighting back, and fighting hard, but we position the fight within a Vision of Hope. We raise the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain by giving the fight a moral clarity of purpose. We give the fight a good measure of credibility. People will fight harder once they know what they're fighting for. We're not fighting a "war against terror." We are fighting a war to realize a Vision of Hope. There's a big difference.

 

To defeat terrorism, or at least to contain it, we have to become at least as smart, and at least as committed, as the terrorists themselves. We owe it to ourselves to know our enemy, and to beat him at his own game. In effect, we have to co-opt his strategy, to do what he does, only better, and thereby marginalize him in the eyes of his own people. We have to put him in the uncomfortable and untenable position of holding his people back from a better life. Even the terrorist will not be able to withstand that kind of pressure. He will become a pariah in his own land, walking out of step with the will of the people. Ultimately, the will of the people will not be deterred.

 

The terrorist derives his power from his ability to inspire his followers, even as he intimidates his enemy. Our path to victory will be to inspire our own people, and even people around the world who may choose to partner with us, because unlike the terrorist, we have something better to sell. We can win the war of ideas by showing that our ideas make more sense, and that we are willing to back our words up with new realities on the ground, realities which speak louder than words, and which point toward the promise that comes with hope. In the final analysis, the ideological extremists will not be able to capture the public's imagination, once people begin to imagine a better life for themselves. It behooves the West to put that option on the table.

 

We, who are often on the receiving end of terror, can certainly coordinate our efforts better, and embolden ourselves with a vision that gives purpose to our cause. But we may also have to resign ourselves to the possibility that even with a better vision, and even with a more comprehensive and effective approach, the lure of extremist thinking will be hard for some to resist. Terrorism is jut too convenient and enticing a weapon for us to be able to eliminate it totally.

 

Therefore, even though we could do a lot better in this regard, we may just have to accept a small measure of terror as an unfortunate aspect of modern life, not unlike how we have come to accept the unfortunate realities of crime on our streets, or accidents on our highways. Selling one another on a Vision of Hope will not cure all our ills, but will help contain them, and will inspire us to realize our potential as a species, and to meet the challenges which lie ahead with vigor and resolve.

file under: terrorismself-defenseethics 21 Nov 2008 11:35 AM
Where does Self-Defense End, and Terrorism Begin? Posted by Nissim Dahan
Almost every legal system recognizes self-defense as a legitimate legal defense. If somebody is coming at you with an ax, and you have a reasonable concern for your life, and you have no means of escape, then you have the right to protect yourself, even if it means shooting the guy in the head. In short, the right to defend oneself is the right to take the life of another.

 

But is it possible that the right to defend oneself is being stretched so thin, that it crosses over into the realm of terrorism? And if that is the case, how do we know where the right to self-defense ends, and terror begins?

 

An example may help. As World War II was drawing to a close, the U.S. fought hard to defeat Japan. There were estimates at the time that victory in Japan, using conventional warfare, would cost millions of lives. President Truman made the painful and momentous decision to drop nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And indeed, that decision prompted a quick surrender on the part of Japan. But could it be argued that the decision to drop the bomb was an act of terror, and not simply self-defense?

 

What is "terrorism?" The best definition that I've come across is: The intentional use of violence or fear against civilians for the purpose of promoting a political agenda. So there are two criteria for terrorism: the targeting of civilians, and a purpose to promote a political agenda. With Hiroshima and Nagasaki, civilians were clearly targeted. But was the purpose strictly political, or did it contain enough of an element of the right to defend oneself, such that it could be seen as an act of self-defense? Clearly Japan was out to kill as many Americans as she could. And clearly, dropping the bomb saved lives by bringing the war to a quick close. But did the bomb cross the line into the realm of terror?

 

For the claim of self-defense to be legitimate, there needs to be a close and immediate connection between the defensive action taken, and the threat that is perceived by the person defending himself. If that connection is too loose, or tenuous, or indirect, then what is claimed in the name of self-defense, may quickly devolve into the realm of terror. And the distinction between self-defense and terror is an important one because political and military actions are being planned and taken, as we speak, based on this distinction.

 

If Israel and the U.S. decide to take preemptory action against Iran's nuclear facilities, is this self-defense or terror? Clearly, innocent civilians will be put at risk. But is the threat posed by a nuclear Iran strong enough to justify an act of "self-defense?" What do you think?

 

Barack Obama has expressed his view that if we get actionable intelligence as to Bin Laden's whereabouts, that he would take preemptive military action, even if the target was is Pakistan. Would this be self-defense or terror? Suppose that innocent civilians would be put at risk? Would this change the nature of the military action? What is America's aim here; to defend herself, or to send a message to her enemies? Does motivation change the nature of the action taken?

 

A few years ago, scores of innocent children were killed in a face-off in Beslan. A group of militants from Chechnya took over the school, and put the lives of hundred of children at risk. Could anything that was happening in Chechnya have justified this action, so as to make it an act of self-defense? Or are some actions beyond the pale of any sort of moral justification? Would Jews on their way to the death camps have been morally entitled to kill innocent children? Or are such actions beyond the pale of human decency, under any circumstances?

 

My sense is that each case has to be evaluated on its own merits. It is often the case that the line between self-defense and terror is a thin and fuzzy line at best. It is convenient to ascribe to various groups the labels which make it easier for us to evaluate their behavior. We take a certain comfort, for example, in calling this or that group a "terrorist organization." Such a designation makes it easier for to decide what to do. But the moral subtleties which underlie any given situation often undercut the notion that human behavior can be made to fit into nice and neat labels. We often have no choice but to evaluate each and every case on its own merits, even if it means questioning our preconceived notions.

file under: terrorismreligionmoderate majorityextremism 16 Oct 2008 6:36 PM
Islam: A Religion of Peace? Posted by Nissim Dahan
I attended a debate recently. The issue: Is Islam a Religion of Peace, and is Shariah, or Islamic law, consistent with the U.S. Constitution? Arguing in the affirmative was Suhail, whom I would consider a moderate Muslim. Arguing in the negative was Frank, an American who considers Islam to be a threat to Western civilization. The following is an abridged version of the actual debate. See what you think.

 

Suhail: The U.S. Constitution protects us all from discrimination on the basis of religious belief. All faiths are American faiths, and are protected. There are no religious tests here, and American Muslims have integrated themselves into American life. They serve their country, even in the military. Muslims respect Jews and Christians as "people of the book," and all three religions worship the same God of Abraham. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and play by the rules. Racists want hate, not the truth. They say that Islam is violent, but similar racist remarks were said about Catholics and Jews. Anti-Muslim is Anti-Semitism on training wheels. Many Muslims condemned 9/11. Racist rhetoric leads to violence, and we must not succumb to prejudice.

 

Frank: I look at this from a national security perspective. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Shariah law finds its roots in the Quran. There is a principle in the Quran called "abrogation" (Sura 2:106) by which earlier Quranic passages, which are more tolerant of other religions, are superseded by later passages. Therefore, the Medina passages, which are extreme and intolerant, are seen by the Islamic authorities as replacing previous passages. "Fight and slay the unbelievers where you find them." "Fight them, even the people of the book." "Take not the Jews or Christians for your friends..." The early, peaceful passages are superseded by these Medina passages, and are a part of the directive to assure the triumph of Islam. This is according to the 4 Sunni schools, and the Shia schools as well. It is God's will for Islam to rule the world and Jihad is the obligation of all Muslims. If you disagree, you are an apostate. Ultimately, Jihad will call for violence, but until that is possible, a "soft Jihad" is recommended, by which Muslim are to work from within to destroy Western civilization, so that Allah's religion is made supreme. Therefore, some Muslims are a 5th column which promotes the destruction of the Constitution in the form of Shariah law.

 

Suhail: "Abrogation" is generally not accepted, except by terrorists and racists. All religions contain perverse passages in Holy Scripture, exhorting people to violence. The Medina period was a time of war, which explains the Prophet's rhetoric. History proves that Islam was tolerant of other religions. Mainstream Muslims believe in peace. Shariah is interpretive law, and is not dogmatic. The word "Jihad" conflates Islam with politics, which is what Bin Laden wants. People who support terrorism do so for political reasons. People who oppose terrorism do so for religious reasons. We should not give our religion to the terrorists. We cannot allow the terrorists to set the agenda with regard to religious belief.

 

Frank: As part of its "soft Jihad" agenda, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks the following:

1. To dominate Muslims, to radicalize them, and to recruit them to Jihad.

2. To intimidate opponents.

3. To create parallel societies, with their own sets of laws, preferential arrangements, dress codes, etc., by which Shariah is used to subvert the U.S. Constitution.

 

Sahriah is a very strict regiment in 75% of U.S. mosques. The "stealth" or "soft" Jihad will eventually lead to violent Jihad.

 

Suhail: Terrorists are trying to co-opt Islam. I don't want to give them my religion. Mainstream Muslims are not extreme, and wearing a headscarf is no "soft Jihad." People should be able to practice their faith without being suspect.

 

Frank: Other religions, like Judaism and Christianity, acknowledge the national authority of the state. Shariah does not. All the recognized authoritative Islamic sources endorse using Shariah to displace secular law. Islam seeks to curb free speech in order to stop criticism.

 

Suhail: Islam is an interpretive law. You interpret it for the land you live in.

 

Frank: Shariah is not a matter on interpretation. Non-Muslims will have 3 choices: 1. Accept Islam, 2. Accept dhimmitude status, or 3. Die. It's not just Al Qaeda's whack interpretation. No. Al Qaeda reflects authoritative Islam.

 

Suhail: Is there a clash of civilizations? No. It's a clash between those who believe in civilization, and those, like the terrorists, who don't. Three Muslim countries elected women as heads of state. Most Muslims are comfortable with modernity. The terrorists are not manifesting Islam, and should not be allowed to set the agenda. When Jews were persecuted by the Christians, where did they go? To Muslim states. Many scholars interpret Shariah as consistent with the Constitution and with modernity.

 

Frank: Many moderate Muslims reject Shariah, but Wahabbis are winning in many areas. They will extinguish the moderate practice of Islam. Islam is waging Jihad against the civilized world. It's not just the extremists. The mainstream accepts this authoritative version of the faith. Just look at the authoritative texts. Our country is on the line.

 

Suhail: You see before you two worldviews, extreme and moderate. It's up to you to decide. Bin Laden, and other racists like him, foster hate. Terrorism is political, not religious. Faith brings strength to America, and all faiths should be allowed to participate in American democracy.

 

Frank: We are confronting a dangerous ideology bent on our destruction. A 5th column is working to do us in and we should fight back. This ideology wants to impose Shariah on the whole world. It's not just Bin Laden who says this. The authoritative interpretations of Islam concur. Our only hope is to mobilize the support of Muslim moderates against the supporters of Shariah.

 

Who do you think is right? Or could they both be right and wrong at the same time?

file under: will of the peopleterrorismmilitaryextremists 8 Aug 2008 9:24 AM
The Soldier and The Terrorist: A Conversation Posted by Nissim Dahan
Most of us know, deep in our gut, that terrorism-the use of force against innocent civilians for the sake of political advantage-is wrong.  But proving that is often more difficult than it first seems. The following hypothetical conversation is a case in point.

 

Soldier: I can't believe you guys; strapping on suicide bombs and blowing up innocent civilians. Have you no shame, no sense of decency?

 

Terrorist: I can't believe you guys; strapping on your seatbelts and firing missiles at this or that target, when you know full well that innocent people will be killed. Have you no shame, no sense of decency?

 

Soldier: There's a big difference here. We do not intend to kill innocent civilians. You do. The innocent people we kill are collateral damage.

 

Terrorist: "Collateral damage?" Isn't that a fancy cover-up for doing exactly what we do? We intend to kill innocent civilians. You don't intend it, but know full well that innocent civilians will die in your operation. So what's the big difference here? Pretending you don't intend something that you know will happen anyway?

 

Soldier: Look, we're wearing uniforms. We're properly equipped. We comply with military conventions. And we do what it takes to defend our country.

 

Terrorist: Well, we don't wear uniforms, because we'd rather not get shot before carrying out our missions. We are not properly equipped because we don't have the means. We defy military conventions because we don't have much of a military. And we fight, using what we have, on behalf of a cause we deeply believe in. We make do with what we have. Once again, all I see is moral equivalency between you and us.

 

Soldier: You're so full of it. All you can do is to hide in the shadows, like a rat, spreading fear wherever you go, and using violence to force people to your way of thinking.

 

Terrorist: And when you fire your missiles, and your bombs, and your guns, aren't you also placing fear in the hearts of  people, and forcing them to swallow your policies against their will? What's the big difference here?

 

Soldier: Yes, but you're so loony, you believe that killing innocent people will make you a martyr, and will get you into heaven, surrounded by 72 virgins no less. How stupid is that?

 

Terrorist: And when you kill and die, your people will celebrate you as a military hero, even if innocent civilians died in the process. How stupid is that?

 

Soldier: I fight for my country because I believe in what she stands for.

 

Terrorist: Do you believe that your country makes mistakes, mistakes which cost innocent lives?

 

Soldier: Well, everyone makes mistakes.

 

Terrorist: So you will fight and kill for your country even if you know she makes mistakes?

 

Soldier: I will defend my country no matter what.

 

Terrorist: So I fight for the cause I believe in, no matter what, even if I'm not always right in what I believe, and even if I have to do some unsightly things, like killing civilians.

 

Soldier: But your cause sucks. At least I'm fighting for something noble, like freedom and democracy, and on behalf of a nation that upholds the rule of law.

 

Terrorist: I don't see any freedom and democracy in the places you occupy. And where is the rule of law when you so easily suspend the rule of law, when you have to fight people like me.

 

Soldier: At least I know what I'm fighting for. What the hell are you fighting for?

 

Terrorist: I fight for God's law, and His law is the real "rule of law." His authority exceeds the authority of your secular nation. And I place my life in His hands, and in His service.

 

Soldier: So you don't see much difference in the tactics we use?

 

Terrorist: Not really. We basically go around doing the same things. We just justify ourselves in different ways.

 

Soldier: And as to motivation; I'm fighting for my country, and you're fighting for God.

 

Terrorist: Well, I don't have a country as yet, since you stole it, so I fight for God instead.

 

Soldier: So there's no big difference between terrorism and military action? Is that it?

 

Terrorist: No difference that amount to any real moral significance.

 

Soldier: Well then, I guess we'll have to let the people decide.

 

Terrorist: The people? What do you mean?

 

Soldier: We have our agenda, and you have yours. It will be up to the people on the street to decide what they prefer?

 

Terrorist: We are at one with the people. We represent the people. There is not even one ray of sunshine between us and the people.

 

Soldier: That's funny. But when some of your people dare to voice their disagreement with you, you usually end up killing them as well.

 

Terrorist: People who turn against us, are with the enemy, and deserve to be treated like the enemy.

 

Soldier: Well then, maybe there is a difference between us after all. Citizens, who disagree with what we do, or with the government we defend, have a right to disagree, and have a right to vote the government out, and there's nothing much we can do about it. So maybe it will be up to the people to decide. If they don't like our government's policies, they will vote it out of office. But if they don't like you, they may very well find another way to put you out of commission.

 

Terrorist: We are ready to die for our cause. We will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by you, or by anyone else, for that matter, even the people on the street.

 

Soldier: Well maybe there's nothing much we can do about you, though we'll keep on trying. But I can assure you, my friend: if you or I begin to walk out of step with the will of the people, they will make their will known to us, and there will be nothing that either one of us could do to stop that. The will of the people will not be deterred. It will be up to them to decide our fate. It will be up to them, once and for all, to decide what they want for themselves, for their children, and for the countless generations of children yet to come.