Tom Goldstein, "Does Terrorism Have a History?"


discussion, debate, and compromise. Terrorists kill, Dr. Herf stated - they do not compromise. Terrorists react with hatred to reform, he continued, citing the example of Archduke Franz Ferdinand who Dr. Herf contended was assassinated in 1914 in part because he wanted a peaceful solution to a complex problem. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anwar Sadat met their ends for similar reasons, he added. Thus asserting that terrorist react strongly against those people that offer peaceful reforms, Dr. Herf argued that Al Qaeda planned the September 11 attacks when Israeli Prime Minister Barak was making unprecedented offers for a Palestinian state, a move which Al Qaeda was determined to undermine.

Dr. Herf then returned to his comparison of Al Qaeda to Nazism. The core of Nazi foreign policy, he explained, was opposition to the foe of international Jewry. Bin Laden, he said, had similar solitary blame for Arabian problems - the United States. Both asserted a reactionary modernism - fascination with technology coupled with a rejection of Western modernism.

Yet the analogy with Nazism and Stalinism can only be taken so far, Dr. Herf concluded. Radical Islam has an attitude toward death very different than the Nazis or Communists in that the former believes that death as a martyr leads to heaven. Deterrence therefore has no place with people who do not desire not to die. The new threat, he argued, could only be defeated militarily and must be done before they acquire weapons of mass destruction.

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