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The Only Way to Defeat Terrorism

A former covert CIA agent learned some hard truths about terrorism, and how to defeat it. Are we capable of listening? Can we ever learn this lesson?

If this doesn’t make you think differently about terrorism, then nothing will.



  1. PatriotST wrote:

    Ms Fox is a peace activist with hardly a career in the CIA, with 2 years as an analyst while completing her Phd and 5 years in the clandestine service. While certainly her points can be listened to and yes I can appreciate the idea of sitting down to talk with my enemy to learn about them. Because of her lack of experience, she learned pert of the job, but walked away before her lessons were complete. She see’s her life and the world through a particular prism having sent most of her youth traveling and living in the under developed countries of the world because of her fathers work.

    I don’t think 5 years constitutes a career. I am 15 years into my second career having spent over 20 years in my first. In each I learned more after the first 5 years then in them.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink
  2. Jwhat wrote:

    The video is a statement of her opinion and seems well thought out to me. Are you implying that a peace activist is a bad thing or less qualified to have worked in the CIA? I would hope that most of the people serving in the CIA are peace activists.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    I certainly agree with much of what she says. Is the problem that it’s a woman advocating for a different approach? I don’t have any experience in the CIA or much of anywhere else, but I can think and rationalize that perhaps, most of the time, this is a much better way of doing things. Perhaps all negotiations should be done by mother’s and grandmothers.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    no I don’t have a problem with a womens point if vuew, ask my wife. I do have an issue with someone saying “after a career as a foreign operative” that barely made it past the intern stage, passing themselves off as an expert. If she had done 20 years in that jib and gained a breadth and scope of knowledge it would be something different. I regulary provide training and pass on knowledge and experience to government employess who are still in the journeyman stage at 10 years of work.
    Yes, sone of her thoughts are logical, but the how to is where experience is lacking. I’m sure if we just had a meeting with Bin Laden in 2000, we wouldn’t have had 911, right? There us an ideological divide between the 2 cultures of radical islam and the west. There are significant divides between muslims and non.
    But a US citizen, born here, who is Muslim should not be a terrorist, if they have alk the rights and opportunities she claims, yet it happens. So there is way more to it, the us as the evil empire.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    sorry, on the road writing on a tiny keyboard. Ughh

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  6. John wrote:

    Whether she has worked five years or 50 the point still stands. We only seem to be interested in our perspective and no other much like a child. Does this justify terrorist acts against us? No. But it can easily be surmised with even a moments empathy that a drone strike on civilians is an act of terrorism in their eyes.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    absolutely John. But then what. When the genie’s already out of the bottle, how do get those who say convert to our beliefs or die, to sit down and talk? I am not opposed to trying, but it would be like trying to convince Hitler’s minions that jews were not the root cause of everything bad. Its alittle ideolistic and naive.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think we can all agree that treating American muslims like crap won’t help either.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  9. redjon wrote:

    How many times had anyone in the Western World been attacked by any organized force from the Middle East prior to the creation of what is now known as Israel in 1948? How many Western lives have been taken since then, and how many Western countries have been occupied by armies of Middle Eastern countries or their surrogates since that time?

    The statement that bin Laden and his ilk are a result rather than the cause of conflict in the Middle East is such low hanging fruit because it is so disturbingly obvious, and we Westerners do seem to have very little capacity (or patience) for self-criticism.

    Does villainizing the enemy solve the problem? That doesn’t seem to have worked very well so far, either. Perhaps we could examine honestly the motives of the people we have chosen to be our enemies (we had as much hand in making that choice as they have) along with our own motives and those of our allies. And decide whose motives are the most honorable and peaceful and lead to the least amount of bloodshed all around and try to judge by those simple standards.

    We do spend a lot of time talking about freedom from the fear of being attacked from the outside… for ourselves.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK, I agree that ostracizing american muslims is not appropriate. I also recognize that the most recent son of ISIL was born here, his parents were offered the opportunity to come here to escape the soviet occupation of Afghanistan as refugees 30 years ago. So this son is a first generation Afghan American, how many more are out there. How many 1st gen Syrians will born here and be taught by their fathers.
    The ideology of the Taliban, (those incedentally who tried to kill Malala, the sons of Al Quaida, Isil, and on and on, do not want western values and that is a major point of their mantra. When they come here they will bring that ideology. Women are property, and not worthy of education. Of course it is all to maintain control and power. Tolerance of the differences of others is not taught. This confused gay son of Isil was conflicted. His American religious teachers told him the humane tging to do was kill a homosexual, but ehe was one. His father also believed this. He was taught to beat his wife, likely by the father, because that is not even punishable where they are from. So if American Imams are teaching our 1st gen Muslim refugees, what do we do. If it was Fred Phelps, we protest and go after them. But we don’t because we can’t offend a Muslim? When do we go after the hate speech of th Imams like we’d go after any other hate group. Why are they being protected and sheltered? Lets treat hate equally.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  11. ebdoug wrote:

    Muslims came to this country as captured slaves in the 1800s. Some converted, some didn’t. Believe me they have been in this country much longer than some running for President who are only third generation running from Germany.

    And RedJohn thank you for your points. This country stole from the Native Americans, the Palestinians had their lands stolen. the Ancestors of the Mexicans crossed this land, probably staying here for generations and generations from the Bering Straight down into what is now Mexico.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
  12. Mike wrote:

    It seems to me that the key issue is whether Muslim communities in the US identify “us” as being them and the rest of us, or “us” as being them and only their fellow Muslims. The rhetoric of a Trump pretty much assures that they are part of the other, not part of us. And until we welcome them as fully us, they will be other, and have no particular interest is protecting us.

    I don’t understand why we don’t – at a policy level – grasp this very human issue.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  13. Hassan wrote:

    PATRIOTSGT, I am not sure if you are suggesting all first generation muslims are like parents of the recent terrorist?

    Secondly, let’s try to agree on few things, and I am speaking as first generation muslim immigrant:

    1. Western values.. before we come here, most of us are exposed to hollywood and we only know western values from that point. So morality of left was no surprise to us. What is surprising to us (and I am hoping you are not going to take that away) that the real American values are that there are no values. We are in mutual contract (US government and immigrant when coming legally through visa). We respect and obey the laws of land (which includes not harming others) and can hold values and ideas very different from anyone already here. We are not supposed to conform to values of Bill Maher or Ted Cruz.

    2. No sane religious teacher of Islam will tell anyone to go and kill someone. Since there is no concept of mosque membership, I float around different mosques, I have never encountered any imam who would not condemn terrorism.

    3. If you are suggesting to do mosque surveillance, we can keep constitutionality of it aside, and I welcome anyone to do spying in every mosque in America. It will be huge waste of money.

    4. A fact that even surprisingly acknowledge, despite being quite anti-muslim, is that if you look at terrorists starting 9/11 around the world, who committed the acts in USA or Europe, they would never or rarely attend mosque, will drink, do drugs and all sort of things that you could not associate with practicing muslim. So I am not sure if terrorism was in their drugged unislamic mind was a quick way to rectify their past sins, or just their nature of violence pushed them to commit and they used religion as justification.

    5. Lastly many thwarted attacks by FBI etc turn out to be entrapment. Glen Greenwald has many articles detailing many incidents.

    Sorry I been busy in Ramadan, and being huge soccer fan, in watching Euro 2016 and Coppa America, so did not get time early to talk about recent event.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
  14. PatriotST wrote:

    Hassan, thank you as always for providing a sensible clear other side of the coin. You are absolutely correct in that there are many good Muslims both here in the US and abroad and good clerics and teachers. I served with many good Iraqi, Afghani, Kuwaiti and Pakistani Muslims and still keep in touch via facebook. I sometimes forget those truths because in my job I only see the worst that humanity has to offer.

    So I will try to just focus on the facts and realize that while I encounter a lot of bad characters, they are still statistically only a small part of the population as a whole. During my time in the Army, I had a saying, you spend 90% of your time dealing with the 10% that are a problem. And inadvertently we sometimes forget the other 90%.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink
  15. John wrote:

    May I just say what a refreshing dialog this blog provides. Respectful, well thought out comments, viewers who disagree but do so in a humanistic manner. Been a very long time reader of this blog and this is why I come back.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    I absolutely love the fact that we can discuss issues in a way that is both enlightening and respectful. It is why I keep writing this blog. Thank you to Hassan, PatriotSgt, and everyone else for helping to educate me. I may not always agree with what you say, but I have lots of respect for the people who contribute to this blog.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  17. ThatGuy wrote:

    Redjon said: “How many times had anyone in the Western World been attacked by any organized force from the Middle East prior to the creation of what is now known as Israel in 1948? How many Western lives have been taken since then, and how many Western countries have been occupied by armies of Middle Eastern countries or their surrogates since that time?”

    Actually, quite a lot of Mid-East->West violence before 1948.

    Persian Empire, Sasanian Empire, Umayyad Caliphate, Ottoman Empire, Barbary States (fine, technically part of the Ottomans), Irgun, Lehi, Haganah… Really plenty of examples of organized Middle-Eastern (not even exclusively Muslim) groups going after the “Western World” before the establishment of Israel. Sure, it’d be wrong to ignore 1948 as a source of extreme pain and anger in the Muslim world, but East/West violence certainly wasn’t invented or even particularly magnified by the formation of Israel.

    P.s. if we wanted to get pedantic we could also note the involvement of the colonial Middle East (and North Africa, if we’re talking Muslim armed forces) in conflicts with the west. Egypt in Mexico, Zouaves in WWI…

    P.p.s. if we wanted to get REALLY pedantic we could remember that Christianity itself was an organized force out of the Middle East, and has been responsible for no small amount of violence in/against the west (political or geographic).

    Okay, I’m good on the pedantry now.

    Friday, June 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink