An integration framework has the merit of highlighting the social alienation and disenfranchisement of certain youth, and the need for intervention well before radicalization occurs. It points to the need for instilling a sense of community, values and belonging into youth who are desperate for meaning in their lives and are at risk of finding it in all the wrong places
As a journalist who covered extremism across the world since the 9/11 attacks, I fear the reaction to al Qaeda attacks more than the attacks themselves. The attacks are aimed at making young impressionable Muslims believe that al Qaeada's words are true. In reality, the attacks themselves don't accomplish that, but the reactions do.
So far, a climate of national unity is prevailing in France, just as it did in America immediately after 9/11. But how long will national unity prevail? The scars of colonialism are fresher in France than anywhere else in Europe; the country has Europe's largest Muslim minority; and, with moderates seeming particularly weak and divided, the extreme right is cresting in opinion polls. These ingredients could constitute a recipe for disaster.
Moral and intellectual clarity about the world we live in are not compatible with self-exculpating glibness. Our adversaries' wrongness does not mean we are in the right. The substance of the terrorists' victory lies exactly in their success in having persuaded Western societies to empower our own authoritarian regimes.
This week, the Senate released its report on America's use of torture after 9/11. The revelations were appalling: a detainee being chained naked to the floor and dying of exposure, another forced to stand on broken legs, more widespread use of waterboarding than previously known, and forced "rectal hydration" (in other contexts, known as rape). And not only did the CIA mislead Congress, but its claims -- repeated this week -- about the program's effectiveness were also unsupported by the evidence. It was a small step in accounting for one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. But it's not enough to, as the president did, simply say we won't do it again. The larger question is: Why aren't the program's architects being prosecuted? The methods used, the president said, are "inconsistent with our values as a nation." And so is placing some people above the law for political expediency. Thankfully, there is no statute of limitations on torture.