The July/August 2010 issue of The Atlantic carried an article that blew me away. “Why We Should Mock Terrorists” has as its alternate title “The Case for Calling Them Nitwits.”
I confess that something inside me likes this.
Finally, someone has struck the right note about these terrorists. They are truly fools. The author makes a case for such extreme behavior:
They blow each other up by mistake. They bungle even simple schemes. They get intimate with cows and donkeys. Our terrorist enemies trade on the perception that they’re well trained and religiously devout, but in fact, many are fools and perverts who are far less organized and sophisticated than we imagine. Can being more realistic about who our foes actually are help us stop the truly dangerous ones?
Something inside us insists that these jihadists are purists in their faith and disciplined in their devotion to their God. Not so, we are told. In fact, a great many terrorists can’t even read and write. All they know is what their wrong-headed leaders tell them. And like dunces, they believe all they hear and never turn a critical eye to anything.
Such people are not only our foes; they are their own worst enemies.
That brings us to my question: When is it all right to call your enemy an idiot and a nitwit?
Wrong answer: when it’s true.
Right answer: When your goal is not to win him over, but to destroy him.