When confronting an event like the Oslo terrorist attacks, people often look for rational explanations to explain why these events happen and who could be so cold hearted to open fire on a youth camp to protest some government policy, if news reports prove correct. Rational minds cannot operate in such an atmosphere because, put simply, they are trying to explain the absolutely irrational. What makes things doubly confusing is that terrorists have their rationality that allows this stuff to make sense. Like what in the hell did the Norway attacker prove by shooting up a youth camp? That’s the question a rational mind would ask.
The terrorist protesting government policies in effort to prevent the Islamization of Eastern Europe or whatever the latest claim is, would argue that because the camp was organized by the Labor Party its’ fair game because its’ an instrument of the government whose policies are hated. Rational minds would look at the bloodshed in Norway and wonder what a bunch of youth had to do with government policy they had no role in enacting. If we want to meaningfully fight terrorism, whether it be domestic extremist groups or Al Qaeda, rational people need to embrace what they consider the irrational motivations of terrorist groups, so that they can get inside the thought patterns or processes.
Dr. Dustin Berna, my former Middle East politics professor down at Northern Illinois once said about the Middle East “Your thinking about this too rationally.” Unfortunately, when confronting terrorists, rationality is a luxury we can’t afford.