U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says what’s called for in the war on terrorism is better communication. Oh yes, he did.
In June 27 remarks at a “Symposium on Promoting Dialogue, Understanding and Countering the Appeal of Terrorism,” the global leader also said education for youth and rehabilitation programs for criminals – that he curiously shies from labeling criminals – are also keys to halting terrorist attacks.
“We are here today with a simple message,” he opens, according to a written copy of his remarks. It takes more than traditional security approaches to counter terrorism. … National governments must take action to foster engagement between communities, and build tolerant and resilient societies.” The importance of “universal education … that opens children’s minds to the diversity of cultures and our common humanity” can’t be understated, Ban continued. And neither can “increased attention to rehabilitate misguided individuals,” he added.
Misguided individuals? Like the kind that killed 2,992 on American soil on September 11, 2001? Or the ones who struck America’s embassy in Yemen on Sept. 16, 2008, killing 16? Or maybe the kind that plotted a New York City car bombing on May 1, 2010, but was thwarted by alert street vendors? That particular act earned Pakistani “misguided individual” Faisal Shahzad life imprisonment with no chance for parole when he confessed to 10 counts of terrorism and weapons charges. Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen, was reportedly unrepentant throughout his trial. When the judge asked if he had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States, Shahzad reportedly answered, “I swore, but I didn’t mean it.”
Oh, misguided, impetuous youth.
What comes to mind with Ban’s speech is a scene from the 1970s era movie, Animal House. Bluto, played by John Belushi, was trying to rally his Delta fraternity brothers to fight back – to take control of the situation and cut to the root of the problem. “What’s this laying around [crap]? Did you say over? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? It ain’t over now ‘cause when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
In much the same tone comes Ban and his attempt to rally the world to embrace his leftist philosophy of terrorism. Insert text here: “It ain’t terrorism. It’s misguided youth. Was it terrorism when hijackers crashed the Twin Towers? Was it al Qaeda that blew up the USS Cole? Was it radical Islamists that bombed the U.N. offices in Algeria? Heck no!”
Comical on one hand; downright dangerous on another. Winning the war on terrorism can’t be accomplished with wishy-washy characterization of the truth, or politically correct pronouncements. Terrorists are not “misguided individuals.” Terrorism can’t be countered with simple rehabilitation or education programs. And terrorists aren’t going to be swayed by a solid communications pitch. Such silliness may work in the fantasy of movies, but the real-life war on terrorism demands a much stronger stance.
At the end of Bluto’s remarks, he raises a rally cry and runs from the room, expecting his Delta faithful to follow. They don’t; they just sit in silence.
That should be the model for America’s response to Ban.
Posted at International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/357536/20120628/ban-ki-moon-un-war-terrorism-communication.htm.
See Ban Ki-Moon's remarks here: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=6159