The Case For Calling Them Nitwits By Daniel Byman And Christine Fair

1188 Words Jan 27th, 2015 null Page
When considering matters of terrorism, it is helpful to remember that the topic is highly charged with rhetoric. Not only are the semantics of the word itself fiercely contested, but terrorist acts both inspire, and are motivated by, unending torrents of nationalism, idealism, hate speech and propaganda. So in analyzing Daniel Byman and Christine Fair’s “The Case for Calling Them Nitwits”, a thought to bear in mind is that the article can itself be considered an analysis of rhetoric – the broadly defined rhetoric used by terrorist groups to recruit new members and inspire fear in their targets. In their opinion piece, Byman and Fair provide a plethora of well-presented evidence countering two of the strongest aspects of this rhetoric: the logical premise that they are capable of striking at us and their ethical appeal as devout religious soldiers. They then suggest that perhaps our efforts, both at home and abroad, should focus on doing the same. Those of us who watch cable news even occasionally, or fly on commercial flights, or use the internet, may be inclined to believe that a catastrophic terrorist strike could be as close as the shady character sitting two seats away. Not likely, write Byman and Fair. They cite statistics from Afghanistan that show “one in two [suicide bombers] manages to kill only himself.” They then provide anecdotal evidence of martyrs that accidentally detonated themselves before even coming within sight of their targets. These portrayals of…

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