#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
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.”
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.”
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?
How should I feel about the savages who massacred 141 people, including 132 students between eight and eighteen, at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan?
What about the disgusting pieces of human excrement who walked into the Westgate Mall in Kenya and shot anyone not able to run away?
Or the Mumbai, India attackers, who slaughtered 164 people?
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:
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.
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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About 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.