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May 10, 2010 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-05-10

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Monday, May 10, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

i5

Beyond jihad

BRUNO STORTINI

E-MAIL BRUNO AT BRUNORS@UMICH.EDU

April 26, a video surfaced
depicting Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab training with
Al Qaeda in Yemen.
The "underwear
bomber," along
with other Muslim
radicals, is shown
firing AK-47s, prac-
ticing shooting
rocket-propelled
grenades and TYLER
preaching Al Qae- JONES
da's global jihad.
The video serves as
an uncommon glimpse into the real-
ity of terror indoctrination. Following
September 11, the psychology behind
indoctrination into terror organiza-
tions quickly became its own psycho-
logical sub-field, as the world asked,
"Why?" and terror experts asked,
"How?" This question of how individ-
uals are lured into a life of terror has
been extensively written on, lectured
about and taught in universities since
9/11. However, as government agen-
cies and academia continue to focus on
how individuals become terrorists, a
vital portion of terror psychology con-
tinues to be neglected: how to undo the
radicalizing effects of terrorism and
show our enemies a life beyond jihad.
After capturing a terrorist, the goal
is to extract as much actionable intel-
ligence as possible. But what happens
next is not exactly subject matter that
can be Googled. From what is known,
the individual is generally either
detained indefinitely or released. This
begs the question: Once a terrorist is
captured, is the goal to lock him away
forever or transform him into a peace-
ful member of society?
The field of terrorist de-radicaliza-
tion is relatively unknown. It involves
a vast knowledge of psychology as
well as regional understanding. It
requires an individual to say, "Sure, I
understand how you were recruited.
Now how do I bring you back?" Not
exactly the car chases and heart-
pounding material that makes for a
good episode of "24."
The Munasaha rehabilitation pro-
gram in Saudi Arabia is one of the
leading organizations that seek to
undo the radicalizing effects of ter-
ror groups. After an individual is
captured, he or she is assessed by two
sheikhs and a psychologist to deter-
mine the individual's psychological
state, ideology and how one affects
the other. The individual is then
enrolled in classes with the hope that
one day he or she can be reintegrated
into society.
The question now becomes why
America isn't implementing such
programs in its detention facilities.
Sure, every academic who has stud-

ied the Middle East has an opinion as
to why people become terrorists. But
that understanding is worth nothing
if we have no intention of tryingto fix
it. Understanding why an individual
becomes a terrorist - be it for psy-
chological, ideological or financial
reasons - will not better prepare us
to stop radicalization before it starts.
It is only valuable information if it is
then used to undo the radicalization
process.
Terror will not be
beaten with more
bombs or troops.
Of course, nobody wants to watch
Jack Bauer sit with an enemy com-
batant to discuss emotional attach-
ment problems. But this is where
real progress can be made in combat-
ing extremism. The ideologies that
threaten our nation do not disappear
with well-aimed Hellfire missiles, nor
can any ideology be combated sim-
ply with guns and treops. These are
intangibles that grow in coffee shops
and Koranic schools that will not dis-
appear with those who preach them.
In order to win the war on ter-
ror, we must turn the foot soldiers
of hatred against the ideologies they
so willingly die for. To accomplish
this, we must deprogram those who
inhabit our detention facilities, as
Guantanamo Bay and Bagram cannot
simply be warehouses for the world's
most dangerous terrorists. Along
with interrogation, these facilities
must work to undo the effects of ter-
ror indoctrination and show radicals
there are alternative means to exact-
ing change. This, certainly, is not easy.
It takes a tremendous understanding
of what these individuals want, what
they stand for and what voids within
themselves they are seeking to fill.
With every bomb we drop and
every village we raid, we give another
otherwise peaceful civilian a reason
to take up arms against America.
only when we establish programs
that address the real problems within
our enemies can we truly claim to be
uprootingterror. More than our Pred-
ator Drones or our surge of 30,000
troops into Afghanistan, our enemies
should fear our understanding. When
we understand who they are, we can
effectively turn enemies into allies
and show every Abdulmutallab that
there is life outside of jihad.
- Tyler Jones can be reached
at tylerlj@umich.edu.

- z\\
y )
Knowing where you live

Throughout middle school
and high school, I ate
breakfast every morning
over a copy of _
the Detroit Free
Press that sat
on the kitchen
table. Munching"
shredded wheat _
and mulling over
the day's most
interesting head- CAROLYN
lines, I learned LUSCH
about not only
national poli-
tics and global events but also local
power struggles and community
events. For a kid who couldn't even
drive a car around the block, I knew
quite a lot about local goings-on.
Something happened, though,
when I went to college. I moved
away from my parents' house and
their breakfast table, and I didn't
want to spend the money for my
own subscription to the Free
Press. I transitioned from a knowl-
edgeable high school senior to an
oblivious college freshman, gath-
ering scraps of information from a
hodgepodge of Daily articles, web-
sites and briefings from my mother.
Unlike before, I had to work to
know what was going on around
me, and when an intensive Spanish
course and Nietzsche seminar took
over my life, I didn't have time for
such an effort.
Campus is a beautiful place,
especially in the spring and sum-
mer. On days when the sky is blue,
the lawnmowers are roaring and
the Triton fountain is sparkling,
it's hard to imagine being any-
where else. It's difficult to remem-
ber that this state has a 14-percent
unemployment rate, that this city
is a bright spot for development in
a slumping region and that we live
35 miles from the border of a city
in which 47 percent of adults are

functionally illiterate. It's much
more fun to just play Frisbee.
But think more broadly for a
moment. Find a computer, open a
web browser and zoom the Google
map out from Ann Arbor. It's time
to see where you live.
You're looking at southeast Mich-
igan, which is not easily defined,
but which I would call the cluster
of Detroit's suburbs and Ann Arbor.
You can try counting all the munici-
palities in this area, but it'd be tough.
There are currently 160 members of
the Southeast Michigan Council of
Governments, connected by at least
seven interstate highways and a web
of crisscrossing north-south streets.
While the sheer geographic span
seems daunting, the conflicting
interests and ideological differences
across the area can be overwhelm-
ing. The region encompasses every-
thing from bustling downtowns
to fields of grazing cows, from the
80-percent black population of
Detroit to the 95-percent white pop-
ulation of Livonia, bastions of both
Republican and Democratic lead-
erships, avenues of mansions and
blocks where only a few crumbling
bungalows remain.
History has shown that getting
this diverse group of cities and
townships to agree on something is
close to impossible. Whether it be
public transit funding, water distri-
bution or even library card access,
each municipality has its own stub-
born agenda: to protect and provide
for its unique segment of citizens in
the way that its leaders and resi-
dents see fit.
Being such an independent and
thriving city, Ann Arbor has had
the privilege of avoiding much of
the southeast Michigan squabble.
It provides its own water from the
Huron River, maintains an excel-
lent public transportation system
and stays partially isolated from

the region's economy thanks to the
University. But no unit of govern-
ment can avoid interconnectedness
and interdependence completely,
and eventually what impacts the
rest of the area will change Ann
Arbor as well. This city is part of a
region facing complex, distressing
problems but also a region in which
creativity, resourcefulness and
selflessness spring up in the most
unexpected places. You are also
a part of it, and you share in both
its setbacks and its advances. You
should get to know it.
Southeastern
Michigan is not
easily defined.
During my years at the Uni-
versity, I've learned how to stay
connected with the local commu-
nities that are important to me.
I still have pre-exam days where
the world seems less important
than the books in front of my face,
but in general, I know where to get
the information I need. Experien-
tial classes and internships have
also taught me that the only way to
really know what's going on in the
world is to see it for yourself. Go to
the farmers' market and talk to the
food providers about independent
farming in southeastern Michi-
gan. Go to local parks and see the
variety in municipal services. Go to
southwest Detroit and talk to resi-
dents about the plans for a second
international bridge. Whatever you
do, be interested, be inquisitive and
be engaged.
- Carolyn Lusch can be reached
at Icarolyn@umich.edu.

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