The Cost of War Project can be found at http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/. I hope readers of my blog will access the information on this website.
Suggested Alternatives to War
The authors of the Cost of War Project have suggested that policing is an effective deterrent to terrorism, rather than going to war. The following contains two excerpts of a 15 page document from the Cost of War Project.
If states have a choice to address terrorist threats without resorting to war, they are likely to be more successful, because they avoid the backlash that can breed further terrorism.
How did the urban terrorism of 1970s Europe end? Here the generalization that seems most convincing is that political systems and social and political organizations became more inclusive and more open to the concerns that had earlier found expression only in political violence. By addressing the main grievances that underlay the violence, the authorities could isolate the relatively small number of terrorists from the much larger population of potential sympathizers.
The point is not that every terrorist is motivated by a legitimate political grievance that should be addressed. The point is rather that for terrorism to persist on any meaningful scale it has to have some at least passive support from a broader group of individuals who themselves might not consider engaging in violence. If those individuals find their concerns addressed by the government and society, they are more likely to withhold their support from the terrorists who remain committed to violence and even endorse state efforts to maintain order.
A Lesson from the Sermon on the Mount
Jesus’ powerful Sermon on the Mount invites us to come to terms with those who oppose us. The principles of Christ are difficult when individuals deal with other individuals. They appear to be a higher reach when applied to state sponsored terrorism.
Here is what Jesus taught in his sermon: “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny” (Matthew 5.23-26).
Here is a challenge to our thinking. What accusation can those who hate America bring against us? Is it worth our time to ask the question? Can Christians pray for the best response of our nation’s leaders, based on Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount?
Prayer for Today
Dear God, please help us to make peace with our accusers.