To the editor:
As nearly as I can decipher his high-flown rhetoric, George Will thinks terrorism is not caused by social conditions (9/12/01 LJW). That is a triumph of ideology over historic fact.
Terrorism always has multiple causes. One cause is evil intent on the part of the terrorist. Another is a sense of grievance. Will correctly believes terrorism can arise anywhere. What he leaves out is that historically it has thrived and endured only under three social conditions: 1. widespread relative poverty, and usually absolute economic misery; 2. seriously undemocratic practices, and usually a completely authoritarian rule; and 3. ethnic injustice, and usually the complete oppression of one group by another.
In places like the U.S. and Germany that are relatively prosperous and fair, police action has been able to contain terrorists in short order for example, leftists of the '60s, and our right-wing militia in the '90s. Places like Ulster and Mideast where terrorism has not been contained really do need to put some effort into social justice.
I am revolted when Israeli security spokesmen tell us on TV that we need to copy Israeli tactics. Their tactics settle nothing they've fueled a conflict with Palestinians for 54 years. And U.S. support of Israeli tactics almost surely helped cause destruction of the World Trade Center.
Both Will and the security agents want more police repression and fewer civil liberties both inside the United States and in Israel. And they oppose efforts to achieve social justice.
Because Will's policies were followed in the past, now we have little choice but go to war.