Saturday, September 15, 2012

Libyan Attacks - Let's Fight Violence with Science

Cross posted at

By now, you've probably heard about the terrorist attacks on the US consulate in Libya where four Americans were killed in protest of an anti-Muslim film that was recently released.

There are many facets of this development that merit discussion, but this comment from Obama caught my attention:
As we mourn their loss, we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit. And we will never allow anyone to shake the resolve of the United States of America
The sentiment, that the US will do whatever is needed, where ever it is needed, as long as it is needed to bring those who committed these senseless acts to justice, is understandable.  It represents a respect and to the families of those that were murdered and a commitment to Justice.

Yet, I can't help but feel that this is a misguided approach, if it is truly intended to be implemented as Obama's remarks make it sound.  Is there no cost too high?  Its a tough line to walk: on the one hand terrorism should not be tolerated and society seemingly should deter terrorism through the pursuit of justice; on the other hand, resources are finite and the problems that face our country and the world are nearly infinite.

So here's my half-baked, semi-thawed, top-of-the-morning idea that probably makes no political or foreign policy sense to anyone that knows that a consulate isn't an embassy:
Instead of spending millions billions to bring the terrorists to justice for the non-trivial lives of 4 individuals, let us spend billions - as a direct response to these attacks - on research to cure cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. 
These three diseases accounted for 1,200,000 deaths in 2010.  So finding a cure for any of them would obviously be a huge benefit to society.

Sure it sounds ridiculous and non-sequitir.  But that's kinda the point.  Instead of responding to hateful, anti-free speech violence fueled by religious zealotry with imperialistic,  ineffectual (in that it seems to just fuel hatred and spur terrorist recruiting) violence fueled by the unfortunate combination of revenge-lust and a well-funded military industrial complex, let's try something radically different:

Instead of responding to violence with violence.  Let's fight violence with science.

What could be more devastating to those that hate America than to refuse to capitulate to their dream of pervasive violence, social instability, and hate?

Wouldn't finding a cure for the most costly, debilitating, and deadly diseases (and all the scientific and technological discoveries and applications that result) benefit society more than avenging the injustice of those murdered at the Libyan consulate?

There's a shocking disparity between our priorities and the things that threaten us.  So why not defiantly fight violence with science?

No comments:

Post a Comment