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ESSAY OUTLINE (How far) Can violence be a solution to terrorism


Intro : Stand : The use of violence could be necessary, but it is far from being the only solution and it is not the biggest part of the solution to terrorism. TS 1 : Violence begets more violence. Collateral damage is extensive i.e. loss of life, damage to property, disruption to economic activity. Do pre-emptive strikes target the right suspects or merely annihilate the masses, in hope that the suspects will coincidentally also get hit ? There are less destructive alternatives to carpet-bombing and other displays of military bravado. These can include covert operations, espionage etc. Local people will be enraged and want to respond in kind / to defend themselves. Tit-for-tat strategy prolongs the conflict. TS 2 : Responding with violence is exactly what terrorists want. Onlookers wonder why terrorists have taken extreme measures. So, terrorists will get attention for themselves and whatever cause they are fighting for. Worse still, they could actually gain sympathisers and be successful in recruiting members. Violence discredits whoever uses it. When victimised countries or communities respond with violence, they appear to be as aggressive and vicious as the terrorists. If they use disproportionate force, they undermine the sympathy that others have for them as victims. TS 3 : Other alternatives are less destructive and have long-term benefits. Using violence is temporary. Terrorists will stop for a while in order to restrategise. Their next move could be worse. Next, violence does not address the root causes of conflict which could include :

- fighting for independence - struggling against economic deprivation & corruption - distorted ideologies due to manipulation of scripture Political, economic and education reforms have a more positive lasting impact than violence because govt retaliation sends terrorists the message that the govt will not listen to them. Violence can undo initiatives for peace. TS 4 : Attacking entire cities or countries is tantamount to labelling the whole society terrorist, which is not fair. While it is true that some of their arguments, especially against corrupt governments may be plausible and accepted, this does not mean that any layman who is swayed by their arguments is a terrorist. The layman may not have violent intentions or the means to spread terror. The remedy is not violence, but re-education. TS 5 : Violence does not work when terrorists do not value their own lives or the lives of their comrades (or anyone else). If one dies, many others could come forward. Warped concept of martyrdom (of Muslim extremists connected with some of the most recent acts of terrorism) : Dying is good & honorable. It is alright to take innocent lives in the process. [This very different from the more mainstream religious standpoint : while fighting to defend oneself can make one a martyr, suicide is blasphemy because it is a reflection of the utter loss of hope in divine help, while killing innocent lives is a grave sin.] Because of their very strong beliefs, - Capital punishment & - Torture tactics to get information will not work on terrorists TS 6 : Can violence be a last resort ? The terrorist groups and the govt will say the same thing : They each have no choice but to use this last resort. So, does claiming that violence is now being used as a last resort suddenly make it effective as a solution to terrorism ? The simplest answer is No. There is hardly any instance in history that suggests this last resort resolves the issue. As mentioned earlier, violence breeds violence. Non-violence may not work, but violence never does. TS 7 : Violence, does have a role. Eventually, when faced with an armed enemy, force is needed to capture him and bring him to justice. Capital punishment could have a deterrent effect on potential terrorist recruits.

Conclusion : Despite this part that violence could play, it can be hindrance in the fight against terror. This is because counter-terrorism is a battle for the hearts and minds of the masses so that terrorists lose their much-needed support. Retaliation lowers the status of the avenging victim to that of belligerent extremist. Writer Isaac Asimov put it plainly : Violence is the last refuge for the incompetent. Hence, I believe that it is, more often, not the solution to terrorism.