Respond to Terrorism: Embrace the Hate

embrace the hate
August 21, 2017  
Categories: Op-Eds

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#PrayForBarcelona. But only if you’re done #PrayingForLondon. Which you might have been doing when you were interrupted to #PrayForManchester, because you weren’t done #PrayingForLondon the first time. And of course London distracted you from #PrayingForParis(Twice), and #PrayingForBrussels, and #PrayingForBaghdad, and #PrayingForNairobi, and #PrayingForPeshawar, and, and, and…

Respond to Terrorism: Embrace the Hate

Chris Hernandez

Might one be forgiven for starting to think that praying is useless, and terrorism requires a response slightly more intense than good wishes? Might one think that maybe – just maybe – it’s time to embrace the justifiable hate we should all feel toward terrorists? Since the recent spate of terror attacks in Spain and the UK, just as after major attacks in France, Belgium and America, many people are speaking out about “defeating hate.” These people seem to think the real fear is that we in the west will hate the jihadists who want to kill our men and rape or enslave our women and children.

After The Manchester bombing attack, where a jihadist deliberately blew little girls apart, Ariana Grande tweeted a message that included “We won’t let hate win.” A Frenchman whose wife was one of 137 innocent people brutally murdered in Paris in November 2015 proclaimed to terrorists, “I won’t give you the gift of hating you.” Early this year a Huffington Post blogger wrote, “At the end of the day, your chances of being in a terrorist attack are minuscule and you’re more likely to end up being crushed by your TV than being killed or injured by a bomb. Don’t give in to the fear and hate.”

Terrorism - Embrace the Hate - Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez

Fans at the Manchester bombing tribute concert.

Some of the responses to terrorist attacks have been a little…confused. After a jihadist terrorist massacred 49 innocent people at the Pulse Nightclub last year, one group pinned the blame on “Republican hate.”

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

Call me hateful, but I just don’t see the problem with hate, in its proper context. And I have to ask: what kind of sick, twisted person doesn’t hate people who revel in the bloody, brutal massacres of innocent people?

Should I not hate the cowards who shot, blew up and burned children in Beslan, Russia?

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

How should I feel about the savages who massacred 141 people, including 132 students between eight and eighteen, at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan?

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

What about the disgusting pieces of human excrement who walked into the Westgate Mall in Kenya and shot anyone not able to run away?

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

Or the Mumbai, India attackers, who slaughtered 164 people?

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

I suppose I shouldn’t hate the man who did this in Stockholm, Sweden, or the others who would do the same thing if given the opportunity.

I’m having a really hard time understanding the reluctance to hate terrorists. Historically, we’ve hated when we needed to. Around 75 years ago, we as a nation rightfully hated people who did this:

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

And this:

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

Does anyone think the Nazis or Imperial Japanese should have been defeated with love? Should the Chinese have responded to the Rape of Nanking with promises that “We will not let hate divide us”? Should Londoners have made huge banners, visible to the attacking German Air Force, assuring them that “Hate never wins”? Or would a better option have been to kill the attackers until they couldn’t fight anymore?

No, we didn’t shriek to the world that we’re loving rather than hateful. We chose to hate those enemies. We hated them so much we destroyed their ability to commit the atrocities they believed were fully justified. No, we didn’t hate all Japanese, and we didn’t hate all Germans. But we hated the ones we needed to, and we kept hating them until they were defeated.

British writer Douglas Murray, in response to the Manchester bombing, said, “We remain stuck in the John Lennon response to terrorism. They blow us up, we sing Imagine.” As much as I admire those who eschew violence and work toward world peace – and yes, I honestly do admire those who take action and make sacrifices for peace, rather than hashtag empty platitudes – I don’t believe for a moment that “choosing love over hate” actually does anything. Love can’t stop suicide bombers from detonating themselves in a crowd of concertgoers. Love can’t prevent an attacker from firing an AK-47 into a mass of civilians at a train station. Love can’t block a jihadist in a stolen truck from running down pedestrians on a sidewalk.

Or maybe I should say love alone can’t do it. Men and women who love their countries can stand against those attackers, but their love would be pathetically ineffective without training, dedication and weapons. In contests between suicide bombers and people armed with nothing but love, suicide bombers always win.

Unrestrained hate is stupid. Religious hatred is stupid. Racial hatred is stupid. Any hatred based solely on a person’s identity is stupid (and yes, that includes the incredibly stupid hatred against all whites because they’re allegedly responsible for racism today). But hatred against someone for their actions is not just understandable, it can be admirable.

I don’t hear much fretting over hatred for the Klan, or the Aryan Brotherhood, or Skinheads. Those groups hate innocent people for stupid reasons, commit crimes against innocent people because of their stupid hatreds, and deserve all the hate they get. After the Charleston Church Massacre, and the Charlottesville ramming attack that left an innocent young woman dead, I don’t recall anyone telling me not to hate white supremacists. I’m not ashamed to hate Dylan Roof, I’m not ashamed to want him dead, and I’m not ashamed to hate and wish death on those like him.

Breach Bang Clear - Chris Hernandez - Embrace the Hate

Likewise, I’m not the least bit ashamed to hate jihadists. I’m proud to hate anyone who would happily destroy children with a suicide bomb vest. I’m proud to hate the jihadist in France who chased down an eight year old Jewish girl, grabbed her by the hair and shot her in the head. I can’t imagine not hating the men who walked into a temple in Luxor, Egypt, spent 45 minutes shooting 62 innocent men, women and children including a five year old girl, and mutilated women’s bodies with machetes.

I hate those terrorists. I hate those who support them. I’ll hate them until the day I die, because not hating them is irrational.

When I was in Afghanistan I didn’t hate the local Taliban (even so, I smiled when we managed to kill some). I wouldn’t have blamed them for smiling at my death. I’d be willing to meet them someday, shake hands, break bread, share hot tea  and talk about each other’s experiences. As odd as it may sound, I think we can find enough common ground with regular Taliban fighters (not the terrorists carrying out suicide bombings) to eventually make peace with them.

Jihadist terrorists, on the other hand, are different. Once someone believes they’re justified in massacring innocent children as a means to reach heaven, they can’t be reasoned with. All we can do is kill them. And if we hate them, we can more easily kill them.

So embrace the hate, because no other response makes sense.


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breachbangclear.com_site_images_Chris_Hernandez_Author_BreachBangClear4About the Author: Chris Hernandez, seen here on patrol in Afghanistan, may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of Tacos Are Racist, Females in the Infantry – Yes Actually, The Military Within the Military, and several other delightfully opinionated bloviations. He has also penned several modern military fiction novels, including Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog. You can find his author page right here on Amazon.

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Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez

About the Author

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin' team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles - the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn't groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.


  1. Thorn

    “No, we didn’t hate all Japanese, and we didn’t hate all Germans…”

    I mean… who is ‘we’ here? Cause ‘we’ kinda did, particularly the Japanese, until ‘we’ were told not to anymore. Sure, there might have been distinctions made in official statements, but humans think in shortcuts and the racism against people of Japanese ethnicity (even American citizens) is VERY well documented. And that brings up the problem in this situation: after World War II Japan signed a peace treaty and it was over. There will never be such a treaty signed with ‘radical Islam’ or ‘Jihadi Terrorists.’ And how do we know who to hate, anyway? Sure, after someone blows themselves up we can say “alright, we hate THAT guy… or what’s left of him” but how useful is that?

    And it’s not hard to find plenty of people who very easily make the jump from “Radical Islamic Terrorist” to “Muslim” in terms of that hate. After all, to many people it’s hard to know the difference until after the fact. That’s why I worry about embracing the hate (although I’m not big on turn the other cheek platitudes either).

  2. Randy Shaum

    Thanks, Chris! A voice of clarity in the midst of bizarre confusion. Scares me to think back to the 60’s.


    Righteous stuff Mr Hernandez. I’m gonna show this to my wife, who has been feeling bad because of her anger at the terrorists. Anger and hatred is the only appropriate response to these arsehole monsters.

  4. Ruth

    Chris . yes noted about the southern white boy did a horrible sick hateful act ,but you never pointed out all the BLM /ANTIFA groups that have been the most by nature and by repetition for the thousands of acts they have been committing . You choice one isolated act to represent all the people defending the monuments . First of all the KKK is all but a broken down infrastructure of what it was 40 years ago. Both ANTIFA AND BLM are the same group of people they are both paid for by George Soros ,the defenders of the monuments were not paid infiltrators . Just like the products of the CIA the ISIS , ISIL , ALQUEADA are all founded and funded by the same group . These groups are paid infiltrators thats obvious . In case you doubt my stats on the KKK heres is one of your own Dr. StevePiezniak Pieczenik was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance and James Baker.[2] His expertise includes foreign policy, international crisis management and psychological warfare.[6] He served the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the capacity of deputy assistant secretary.[7]

    In 1974, Pieczenik joined the United States Department of State as a consultant to help in the restructuring of its Office for the Prevention of Terrorism.[1]

    In 1976, Pieczenik was made Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for management.[1][4][8][9]

    At the Department of State, he served as a “specialist on hostage taking”.[10] He has been credited with devising successful negotiating strategies and tactics used in several high-profile hostage situations, including the 1976 TWA Flight 355 hostage situation and the 1977 kidnapping of the son of Cyprus’ president.[1] He was involved in negotiations for the release of Aldo Moro after Moro was kidnapped.[11] As a renowned psychiatrist, he was utilized as a press source for early information on the mental state of the hostages involved in the Iran hostage crisis after they were freed.[12] In 1977, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Mary McGrory described Stephen Pieczenik as “one of the most ‘brilliantly competent’ men in the field of terrorism”.[13] He worked “side by side” with Police Chief Maurice J. Cullinane in the Washington, D.C. command center of Mayor Walter Washington during the 1977 Hanafi Siege.[14] In 1978, Pieczenik was known as “a psychiatrist and political scientist in the U.S. Department of State whose credentials and experiences are probably unique among officials handling terrorist situations”.[1]

    On September 17, 1978 the Camp David Accords were signed. Pieczenik was at the secret Camp David negotiations leading up to the signing of the Accords. He worked out strategy and tactics based on psychopolitical dynamics. He correctly predicted that given their common backgrounds, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin would get along.[2]

    In 1979, he resigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State over the handling of the Iranian hostage crisis.[3]

    • Mad Duo Chris

      There is not one single word about statues in my essay.

      The rest of your comment sounds like “Zionist conspiracy” nonsense.

      • Ruth

        LOL Call it what you may Chris doesn’t make it so . I expected more of you on an intellectual debate but got nothing but nonsense calling it a conspiracy theory . What a cheap way out . this had nothing to do with a ” zionist conspiracy ” it had to do with Steve Pieczenik with all his credits above validating my facts that the KKK is not the huge strong bunch you make them out to be and how silly it was for you to say that they are . That group is about as fractured and broken as any group can be and almost completely non functional .I take it you didnt bother to listen or just are arguing to be argumentative . all in all you gave a good article but the rest of your 3 defensive arguements to me were just hot air and had no facts to back up what you said .

          • None

            Ruth is just upset because you didn’t point out the group she (he?) hates in your article. Rather than get the fucking point, they want to focus on minute nonsense.

  5. Eric Haines

    Great piece, as usual brother. You’ve hit the nail on the head, I only hope that it doesn’t take a truly monstrous evil event to wake people up, and allow us to once again fight to win. It’s been too damn long. I thought that 11 September 2001 was going to be enough, but saw the truth within a few weeks. Historically speaking, we all know that Pearl Harbor bound us together as few events in recent history have. What will it take for this troubling society to put aside their petty quibbling, and political ambition. Most mothers are at least honest enough to admit, no matter how pacifist their views, that if their child/children are hurt or threatened, they let the momma bear out. I’ve heard many people complain about “our country has been at war for sixteen years”, but the reality is that our country hasn’t been at war!! A very small percentage of our country has been at war, and acquitted themselves gloriously along the way. We desperately need to come together and destroy these vile enemies, whether foreign or domestic. We understand that. Let’s help our less martial brothers and sisters to understand it as well.

  6. Kellogg

    The love not hate crowd have no defense at all against terror. They know this, and the only way they can live a normal life is to pretend that love will overcome. I don’t mind this psychological crutch, it is literally all they have got. They are the lambs that need to be protected by us, the warriors in society. Unfortunately, the lambs keep making it harder for us to protect them; they insist on gun free zones, disarm their warriors, and refuse to properly secure their “safe spaces”. They incorrectly assume that anyone willing to fight must be filled with hate, regardless of what they fight for. However… ” True warriors fight not because they hate what is in front of them, but because they love what is behind them.”

  7. Unclean

    Aristotle said once (and I’m paraphrasing) that it not only ethical, but it is a categorical imperative to be angry in the proper amount, at the proper time, and at the proper person. “Hate” is simply “anger”, so I won’t mince words here, but as a culture we must attempt to instruct that anger is not a vice. It is necessary in the maintenance of justice, and is absolutely critical if we are to ever advance past where we currently find ourselves. Pushing the anger down doesn’t solve anything. We’ve got to deal with it in the manner that Aristotle indicated.

  8. Christian

    First, tremendous opinion piece Chris. Thanks for writing it. The photos, while extremely gruesome and graphic do help lend perspective that killing (and violence in general) should not be tolerated in a civil society. So yes, hating the people and groups of people which commit these acts is not un-natural, no more than showing love and compassion for your fellow man, even if he or she stands against everything you believe in politically or intellectually, as long as we all salute the same flag, we have common ground from which to negotiate from. E Pluribus Unum. Love may not cure all problems but likewise, Hate does not make us all bad people, just more human.

  9. Phil

    Chris, thanks for the article, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Ruth, thanks for NOT saying “it’s heritage, not hate.” I’m pretty sick of hearing that one.

  10. DH

    That white southern boy is Dylan Roof, who murdered a bunch of people because he didn’t like the colour of their skin.

  11. Ruth

    Absolutely one of the best articles I have read on the subject of “hatred ” . Actually , the best article I have read on common sense too . Since when are we suppose to have anything but hatred for people that are violently killing ,raping , maiming and destroying people . I think Chris is among the few more qualified to address this . I must say to be fair and I’m not trying to distract from the substance of the article because its brilliant honest and well said . It was consoling to hear our own thoughts be said so eloquently and clear. I will however point out one part that didn’t sit quite well with me and since its one of the latest acts of hate I will address your mention of Charlottesville now. I noticed how you brought up every group you could possibly think guilty of hate crimes from the Japanese to the likes of KKK , and White Supremacists. You mentioned groups involved in that town that day but you failed to mention a couple of important factors to be fair . You didn’t mention ANTIFA , one of the worst violent groups out there today , and certainly more active than the KKK has been in the past 40 years . You failed to mention that ANTIFA AND BLM have been beating ,stabbing and maiming clear back to attacks on Trump supporters . You don’t know that it was white supremacist only that were there defending their right to their monuments ,their history the nations history . Some of those people had no affiliation with white supremacists and by the way ( HAD A PERMIT TO BE THERE ) ANTIFA was the ones that came to a SMALL legal protest and started the hate and violence . I noticed you put a picture of a white southern boy with a confederate flag as your display .I have no doubt Chris when and if the time comes you will be on the side that is right it wont matter if its ANTIFA or white supremacists . Most of these terrorists are nothing more than useful idiots that have no clue as to who is responsible for their operant conditioning .

    • Mad Duo Chris

      A couple things:

      1) Antifa hasn’t killed anyone yet, to my knowledge. They are dangerous because of the ideology they espouse, and they’ve definitely assaulted many innocent people, but they’re not equal to the Klan or other white supremacist groups in terms of violence or history. They need to be very closely watched for the lethal violence I think they’ll inevitably commit, but they’re not the Klan. Likewise with BLM. BLM itself has a reasonable point, although BLM supporters have committed murders. There is nothing inherently violent or evil about BLM’s foundation.

      2) You are correct that antifa and other left-wing protesters repeatedly assaulted Trump supporters during and after the campaign, and that routine violence was routinely ignored by much of the left and most of the media.

      3) As has already been noted, that’s not a random white southern boy with a confederate flag. That’s Dylan Roof, the terrorist piece of crap who massacred nine innocent people in a black church in Charleston. His picture represents terrorism, not white southern males.

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