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February 03, 2004

Here's a thought - kick 'em in the butt, don't try to understand 'em.

Interesting bit on Tech Central Station today by Dr. Helen Smith:

Violence breeds violence -- but so can nonviolence. This is often forgotten in the debate over terrorism, as illustrated in some reviews of the new book by David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. Perle and Frum lay out a bold plan to defend America. But more important than their specific proposals, they provide insight into how our leaders are confronting -- or not confronting -- the war on terrorism.

As a forensic psychologist, what I found most worthwhile about the book was this unapologetic attitude toward terrorists and terrorism. I believe the authors are correct when they promote strong tactics in dealing with terrorists. In fact, I believe that the liberal stance of trying too hard to "humanize" our enemies is a mistake that will make the problem worse, and produce more violence rather than less.

Frum and Perle's view is not popular among the media elite. Case in point: a New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani that criticizes the authors as they
"purvey a worldview of us-versus-them, all-or-nothing, either-or, and this outlook results in a refusal to countenance the possibility that people who do not share the authors' views about the war in Iraq or their faith in a pre-emptive, unilateralist foreign policy might have legitimate reasons for doing so."

One might wonder if that's because Michiko's preferred approach hasn't worked yet? And if there is one thing leftylibs are good at, it's following a failed policy forever, confident that with just a lot more money, a little more time, and that fact they their intentions are good, this failed policy, which hasn't worked and shows no signs of working, will suddenly, miraculously, work. Dr. Smith goes on to say:

I suppose it follows from this statement that Kakutani would rather promote understanding and empathy with respect to injuries that Muslims feel they have suffered at the hands of the United States. No surprise here: Frum and Perle state that some commentators even suggested that Islamic anti-Americanism should be regarded as an understandable reaction to the materialism and hedonism of American life, as refracted through MTV, pornography, and the Internet. Apparently, they were anticipating Kakutani's review. In a Clintonian sort of approach, some Americans seem to believe that if we can "feel our enemies' pain," then we will be on the path to enlightenment and peace. This belief could not be further from the truth.

Now, go read the rest, and see if you don't agree with her. This little observation is why you should:

Those patients who threatened me backed down only when I got up in their face and told them forcefully to stop -- the slightest hint of fear or intimidation (or sympathy!) on my part was met with increased threats. In the real world of private practice, confronting real murderers, I learned to act in ways that were different from what I had been taught in graduate school.

Unfortunately, there are still those in the ivory tower who have not learned this valuable lesson. They continue to believe that to humanize and to empathize with violent students, professors, and terrorists is the only way to treat those who wish to do them harm. In fact, however, the old saw "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" applies. Without clear boundaries, and a sense of consequences, their behavior will spiral out of control until they injure themselves and others.