By Chet Yarbrough
Anatomy of Terror (From the death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State.)
By Ali Soufan
Narrated by: Aaron Abano
Ali Soufan (Author, former American FBI agent, Lebanese heritage from a Sunni Muslim family.)
This is Soufan’s characterization of the western world’s effort to quell the beast of middle eastern terrorism.
The terrorist event that sets the tone for Abano’s history is, of course, America’s 9/11/01 disaster.
Osama bin Laden’s plan for the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York is hatched by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM).
Abano offers a brief history of KSM’s addition to al Qaida. In KSM’s early introduction to bin Laden, the dramatic idea of using an airplane hijacking to create a terrorist event is skeptically dismissed. As KSM’s reputation in al Qaida grows, the idea gains support of bin Laden. The impact of a singular terrorist event changes the world.
Abano tirelessly assembles so many facts about this Hydra’s growth that one becomes numbed by terrorist events and names. Only a CIA or FBI agent is likely to be interested in Abano’s research. However, a listener who perseveres realizes Abano is not just a problem bringer but one who has an idea of how terrorism can be defeated.
Abano’s solution, as is true for any complex problem, begins with understanding. As difficult as it is, one must try to understand another’s reasons for carrying out a terrorist act. With understanding, one can constructively rather than destructively respond to a terrorist act. Murder for murder simply leads to further senseless murder.
Only with understanding can the causes for terrorism be either exposed as hypocrisy or dealt with as a reason, though not justification, for a murderous act.
The causes of terrorism must be exposed. Stories need to be told and re-told in ways that explain causes. These stories must come from nation-state leaders who have influence in their countries and reputations in other countries. Abano suggests these nation-state messengers can cultivate community leaders to spread the word, whether of God or mammon, to address the true and false reasons for terrorist acts.
Exposure of true and false causes offer hope for a solution that eliminates or, at least, ameliorates conflicting terrorist ideas, beliefs, and acts.
Abano argues money should be invested in schools and teachers who educate children in their own countries.
Through education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, children will grow to understand reason, truth, and falsity.
The expense of incarceration should be supplemented by rehabilitation with the objective of re-introducing the captured to society.
To Abano, captured terrorists should not be demeaned, tortured, or executed.
A listener may feel Abano is being altruistic. In truth, he is altruistic but the path presently being followed is not working.
By putting oneself in the terrorist’s shoes, Abano implies one is taking a first step in attacking the fundamental causes of terrorism. Without understanding there is no solution.