Tuesday, 6 February 2007

The ‘fire paradox’ and terrorism, part 1

One of the main causes of terrorism — modern and historical — may well be the fight against terrorism, counterterrorism. Battles launched in the name of terrorism or against the name of terrorism often have the same affects: causing both sides to recruit for their pro- or counter-terrorist causes. One of my main doctrines, if you will, of the Middle East and elsewhere is that vengeance leads to vengeance. An eye for an eye is a ludicrous notion; why would one what everyone to be blind, including one’s self? This all relates to something called the fire paradox. This paradox is often used to describe how the fight against naturally reoccurring wildfires just leads to more of them — in greater number and voracity. I also apply it to counterterrorism, especially in the Middle East. Not to say we should not try to slow the rise of terrorism at all, but the way countries like the United States and Israel go about their anti-terrorism efforts is self defeating and creates more destruction on both sides.

Many counterterrorism efforts just lead to the spread of terrorism and the movement’s growth, much like how the efforts against natural fires only worsens them in the future. Osama Bin Laden is not a tree; but you get my point. Also the real fire paradox sometimes calls for intentional fire-starting; prescribed burning, if you will. In no way am I saying we should promote terrorism, but many counterterrorism efforts do just that.

Briefly: The fire paradox, applied to the Middle East situation.
The Gaza and West Bank problems will not go away until Israel and the US stop trying to destroy what they see as the problem, thus elevating the real problem. It is like with wildfires. Scientific data shows that the more people try to stop and put out wildfires, the greater in extremity and number those fires will be. The term — which I just found out existed after I wrote it down as the title of this post (aww man, another thing where I wasn't the first to something) — "fire paradox" was coined by European scientists launching a project to work on the ecological problem related to fires. This paradox applies to aspects of the situation in the Middle East, especially to what is going on in Iraq and Israel-Palestine. What Israel's decades-old policy does is destroy "terrorists", but the way they go about doing so creates a greater number of these "freedom fighters" who fight harder than ever.

Just by chance, there was an article in this month's Harper's on the misgivings of counterterrorism. I came up with the idea to do this post back in November, but, because of my laziness, I now have some good material to work with (i.e. that article).

Song stuck in my head right now: "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine" by The Killers.

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