Children and War
edited: Sunday, June 07, 2009
By Kathryn Seifert
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2006
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What does it take to make a terrorist. What in their make up allows them to kill innocents and non-combattants. The cycle of violence can affect generations in war torn countries.
As we all have watched the horrific devastation in the US, England, Spain, Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq on the news day after day. I have been thinking, "Where does it end? Will it ever end?" Periodic military and diplomatic solutions to terrorism and violence in the Middle East have been proposed and tried. And yet, here we are, still at war in Afghanistan and Iraq and considering sanctions for Iran because of its nuclear program. For terrorists, beyond violence in the name of patriotism and self defense, is the ability to kill innocents, non-combatants with no hesitation or regret. It becomes a strategy of war. What enters or does not enter the minds of terrorists? What does it take for someone to grow up to be a terrorist? It was reported that radical Islamists feel they will win the struggle with the West because they love death and the Western World loves life. How can they have no respect for human life? Many, if not all terrorists seek power and control over others regardless of means. They see violence as a means to that end. This is instrumental violence. It does not differ from criminal violence anywhere in the world. Some segment of the terrorist population is likely to have the same roots as violent criminals throughout the world. The leaders of these groups rely on having a steady supply of followers that do not value life and will do ANYTHING to belong somewhere. Criminal violence has it beginning in the abuse, neglect, loss of parents, and exposure to violence in early childhood resulting in disruptions in attachments. Those with disrupted attachments fail to reach pro-social maturity interpersonally, in affect regulation and self control, and in moral development. They do not understand human reciprocity. Relationships are superficial. They may have little or no empathy or remorse. To them the world is not safe and they must always be on the offensive in order to be safe. Generations of war and violence in the Middle East continues to produce more terrorists. Children are not safe and they become orphaned. They are exposed to violence daily during times of open conflict and always have the fear of a new attack. The effect of this environment on everyone, especially young children can be psychologically devastating. The world finds itself in a quandary. How do we defend ourselves against these people who do not value life as we do without creating more terrorists? The answer is we cannot. War and violence inevitably creates more terrorists. In addition to efforts already underway, massive humanitarian aid to the region is what will curb the growing problem of terrorism. Children and their families must be safe and well cared for so that they will not become cold, heartless and violent. Street children, one of the ripest recruiting grounds for terrorist organizations, must be well cared for and not left to be recruited by terrorists. Terrorism will not end of its own accord. People must protect and defend themselves, as terrorists will not stop. Additionally, terrorism will not end by humanitarian aid alone. Everyone knows that a long term solution is needed. However, peace in the Middle East, humanitarian aid and services for those who have lost loved ones, those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and children with attachments disrupted by war may have a chance of reducing terrorism in the future. Adequate care for street children and those orphaned by war can reduced the supply of youth who have been violated and feel justified in violating others and desperately need a place to belong.