As the recent attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia have shown, Al Qaeda does not kill civilians as collateral damage during strikes on military targets, non-muslim civilians are the target and will always be the target. People say we should ‘understand the root causes of their anger’ and I agree. And so, after understanding, that should help us to resolve to kill as many Islamists as is needed to make their cause collapse in ruin.
Of course the usual paleo-libertarians and paleo-conservatives will take this to mean I think we should use carpet bombing in cities or nuclear weapons just to make sure we got ‘em all. Yeah, yeah, whatever. But a commenter on Samizdata.net said the other day in a succinctly manner I really cannot improve on:
I just propose that the only rational way to fight a war is to fight a war, and that means using whatever force is needed to defeat your enemy. This is not exactly a revolutionary concept in most military circles.
In the case of Iraq, this just means using the usual range of weapons and tactics and applying them with resolution. There is nothing about Iraq that is at all unusual or outside historical experience to suggest this need be more than a footnote in military history.
And the same applies to Al Qaeda and its confreres wherever they can be found. You find them and then you kill them by whatever means it takes. What you do not do is talk to them or negotiate with them, unless of course it is just a tactic for getting them to stand still for juuuuuust a moment.