Beyond ‘Blowback’: Islam and Terror, by Justin Raimondo

Islamic terrorism is in part retribution, but it is also in part a strain of the Islamic religion, argues Justin Raimondo. From Raimondo at

The latest attack in London – the third to hit Britain within seventy-five days – is once again provoking a debate about the relationship between Islam and terrorism. On one side we have those who say Islam is inherently violent, and is incompatible with the basic canons of Western civilization. On the other side, we have liberals who say that this is a libel on an entire religion, and that advocates of religious violence are a distinct minority within the Muslim faith.

These two views have distinct policy implications: the former would impose what amounts to a Muslim ban on travel to Western countries, and would furthermore mandate State surveillance of mosques and other religious institutions of that faith. The latter stance would oppose these measures, and proceed as if Muslims posed the same danger to us as, say, Presbyterians, i.e. none at all.

Both views are simplistic nonsense. Furthermore, neither offers an effective policy to deal with the problem as defined.

The origins of Islamic terrorism are not in dispute: the idea that “they hate us because we’re free,” i.e. because of our secular values and Western lifestyle, was not even worth considering, at least initially. After all, Japan, for example, which is not exactly an exemplar of Islamic values, has never been attacked by Islamic extremists. South America has proved similarly immune. The focus of the Islamists’ wrath has been on the United States and Western Europe – not coincidentally, those countries which have a long history of intervention in the Muslim world.

Which brings us to the theory of “blowback,” the idea that the root cause of radical Islamic terrorism is simple retaliation. Here the writings of Chalmers Johnson, whose book, entitled Blowback; The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, was published before 9/11, and also of Robert Pape, who has done yeomen’s work on this issue, are very useful. Johnson put the concept in its historical context, and Pape shows, with extensive detailed evidence, that occupied peoples routinely adopt such tactics as suicide bombings to fight the overwhelming presence of occupiers. And this is not limited to Islamists, by any means: the Tamil Tigers, fighting for the “liberation” of Sri Lanka, for example, employed these same tactics.

To continue reading: Beyond ‘Blowback’: Islam and Terror


One response to “Beyond ‘Blowback’: Islam and Terror, by Justin Raimondo

  1. Reblogged this on The way I see things … and commented:
    Not only are Western governments uninterested in actually stopping terrorism, but the terrible truth is that there is no stopping it. Some problems have no solution, and this is one of them. We can wipe out ISIS in Syria, but they will scatter worldwide, returning as “refugees” to the cities of their enemies. We can restrict travel, reject Muslim immigrants: and yet the second and third generations, already embedded in Western societies, will take up their cause. We can spy on our own citizens, regulate the Internet within an inch of its life, restrict “hate speech,” bomb more Muslim countries – and still the monster’s tentacles will wriggle through the interstices and grasp at our throats.

    This is what we have unleashed on ourselves: a monster that won’t be killed. The idea that we cannot live with this is akin to the idea that we cannot live with our own history: it is an idea without meaning. The past is prologue: it won’t be repealed or denied. We invaded Iraq. We invaded Afghanistan. We funded and armed al-Qaeda during the cold war, in league with our Saudi allies, while Riyadh spread its ideology of hate on a global scale.

    In Greek mythology, the figure of Nemesis dramatizes our current predicament: she is the goddess of retribution, whose name is “derived from the Greek words nemêsis and nemô, meaning ‘dispenser of dues.’” She pursues her quarry relentlessly, visiting on them the consequences of their deeds.

    Her pursuit can be ameliorated, albeit not finally and immediately ended, by reversing our course of futile wars – in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. – and ending our alliance with the mandarins of terror in Riyadh and the sheikdoms of the Gulf. Yet still the monster will live: it cannot be slain by conventional means – it will have to die a natural death. The best we can do is to stop prolonging its life.


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