Murderous terrorism must be treated as disease to be eradicated

fertile crescent NASA

fertile crescent NASA

It has been a surreal few days with the massacre in Nice and the apparently failed coup in Turkey. Whether the massacre in Nice was directed by ISIS or just inspired by ISIS, the virus came out of the fertile crescent which some 10,000 years ago was the cradle of civilisation. As Erdogan cracks down a period of blood-letting in Turkey is likely to follow. (The coup attempt, even in its failure, is likely to delay any possibility of EU membership by at least a decade).

George W. Bush first used the term “War on Terror” in 2001. But in the subsequent 15 years the use of indiscriminate and murderous attacks on innocent bystanders has only increased. As a conventional “war”, it is being lost. The “war on terror” is being prosecuted as if it were between nations, albeit that the “nation of terror” is something diffuse and difficult to define. This “war”, I think, is conceptually wrong. It strikes me that the concepts used in containing, eradicating and eliminating diseases may be more apposite. It could be far more effective to consider the “murderousness virus” and then to apply the methods of disease control. Here I consider Islamic terrorism or right-wing terrorism or Hindu nationalist terrorism or Burmese Buddhist murderousness or even State-sponsored barbarity, all as being caused by different strains of the murderousness virus.  As with any disease the fight would then entail:

  1. localising the sources of the virus,
  2. containing the areas where the virus is nurtured
  3. isolating the sources, and
  4. then eliminating them,
  5. identifying those individuals either suffering from an outbreak of the disease and those merely carrying the virus,
  6. treating the afflicted (where possible)

The sources of the virus are then those teachings or ideologies which justify and promote the use of barbarism and murder and mayhem. It would apply equally well to the twisted ideologies which inspired IRA murderers or Anders Behring Breivik or to those Wahhabi preachings which currently inspire what is manifested as Islamic terrorism. There are virus sources in other parts of the world as well but the most virulent strain right now is that emanating from Saudi Arabia.

The conventional “war on terror” has really only addressed individuals already infected and showing visible signs of the disease. There has been no coordinated effort to localise and isolate the real sources of the virus. Or more than half-hearted attempts to identify the carriers of the virus who themselves never carry out the murderous acts. (In the guise of freedom of speech many of the virus carriers are freely allowed to roam within the EU infecting vulnerable youngsters).

Certain principles apply when eradicating or eliminating disease. It is striking how apt this is when applied to murderous behaviour:

Eradication means zero disease globally as a result of deliberate efforts and control measures no longer needed

Elimination means zero disease in a defined geographic area as a result of deliberate efforts. Control measures are needed to prevent reestablishment of transmission.

Several key principles are inherent in an eradication or elimination campaign:

  1. the need to intervene everywhere the disease occurs, no matter how remotely located or difficult to access occurrences of disease are or how minor the perceived problem is in an individual country or area;
  2. the importance of monitoring the target disease and the extent of interventions closely;
  3. the need for flexibility and urgency in response to ongoing monitoring and operational research; and
  4. the need for an intense focus on the goal of stopping transmission of the targeted disease, even when the costs per case rise sharply as the number of cases declines.

Common difficulties faced by such campaigns include sporadic or widespread political insecurity in areas where the disease is endemic, inadequate or delayed funding, and the challenges of motivating officials, health workers, and affected populations.

Our propensity for murderous behaviour is partly genetic and partly by upbringing. But I have no doubt that it is finally a manipulation of the mind which then results in murderous behaviour or the further transmission of such manipulation. And that is perhaps best treated as a disease to be eliminated and eradicated.


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2 Responses to “Murderous terrorism must be treated as disease to be eradicated”

  1. Willem Says:

    It is hard for me to believe that the turkish army, which has a rich history in executing coups, now has blundered so much. I wouldn’t be amazed when in time it turns out that this whole show was orchestrated by Erdogan himself.

  2. France has closed 20 radical mosques and over 100 more could be closed | The k2p blog Says:

    […] all mosques harbour the radical preachers who infect the vulnerable with the murderousness virus. But some certainly do. Not all madrassas are totally focused on brain-washing impressionable and […]

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