Are we placing too much emphasis on ideology and/or alleged grievances rather than the mindset and social development of the perpetrators? Such ideology and/or grievances may be rationalization for some immediate need, gratification that swells from within -- after all, perpetrators of sexual violence and rape tend to frequently blame the victim. Terror suspects are overwhelmingly male, young and frequently feel disengaged or perhaps that society will not engage with them. They decide to force themselves upon society and blame its members indiscriminately for the consequences of their terror.
One Person's Terrorist is Another Person's ...?
Terror has been the methodology offered in the name of a variety of causes. "Islamic militancy" has been most frequently associated with terror. Offenders though have ranged from Tamil suicide bombers in Sri Lanka to Timothy McVeigh who was responsible for the most horrific bombing in U.S. history prior to 9/11. The Norwegian white/Christian supremacist mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik most certainly was a terrorist and appears to have been frustrated by his interaction with society as a whole. Is U.S. Sergeant Robert Bales a terrorist who murdered at least 16 Afghan civilians, mostly children and women, in one night of rage? He may differ from other U.S. soldiers accused and convicted of such crimes in that the others are overwhelmingly young, immature, and in search of recognition and glory. Many of the purported causes, rationale and/or grievances are at cross-purposes, but the most common link is a surge for instant gratification regardless of the rights and wrongs with respect to innocent members of society.
Sexual Violence as Terror:
In some current conflicts, sexual violence (see Democratic Republic of Congo for example) is deployed as tool of terror against purported enemies, even if the victims are innocent women and children. When Serbian commanders/soldiers were brought to trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for mass rapes against Bosnian women, they attempted to further a defense that the victims were to blame. Unfortunately in many societies, the standard question still is did the woman ask for it -- her and/or broader societies alleged promiscuous character frequently presented as rationale.
Suppression of Sexual Attitudes?
Is there anything though that has made Islamic radicalism more vulnerable to sink to terror? By seeking the cause in the differences of "the other," do some in all but particularly western societies believe that this would discount the possibility that persons most similar to them would or could commit terror? Has this also become a rationalization for us versus them? Native Norwegian Breivik has generally been overlooked as a terrorist even as condemned as mass murderer. Nonetheless, it is fair to ask do broader sexual attitudes and suppression of sexuality enhance proclivity that such may be expressed in violence against society as whole and then rationalized by presumably some more noble objective of grievance and revenge? Whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Hindu, is a terrorist more likely to emerge from more suppressed attitudes toward sexuality? Do the broader freedoms offered by more open societies further frustrate those who feel that society will not intimately engage with them?
By Seeking Motive in Cause, Ideology and/or Grievance, Are We Offering Rationalization for Future Terror-Rape?
Putting aside my efforts at amateur psychology, nonetheless it is fair to broaden the question beyond ideology, militarism and/or grievance as cause. It gives too much credit and may absolve past and potential culprits. Are we providing moral rationale to frustrated individuals in our society to justify their actions against innocents that in hindsight should deserve no greater credit than rape? Further, are we now going to allow terrorists to define the issues? Is the terrorist anymore representative of the grievance, injustice or issue than rape is of sex?
Social Media as Political/Ideological Dating Service?
Undoubtedly there are legitimate grievances and injustice, from an objective and/or subjective perspective, and such may even run at counter purposes -- see Palestinian/Israeli divide. The more someone claims the high ground or God on their side, the more likely that responsibility toward fellow man/woman and society may be ignored. We need to engage toward solutions for injustice, poverty, economic opportunity, environmental abuse, dis-empowerment and so many more, but encourage a form of interaction that will not necessarily result in immediate gratification. Change may be incremental at best, but the engagement will itself seed new opportunities and genuine intimacy in exchanges of views, ideas and ways forward. The internet is too frequently mentioned as tool to connect eager terror aspirants, almost as a form of political porn. However, social media also offers the opportunity for discussions and activism, perhaps a new type of political dating as well as engagement. (See re: Digital Diplomacy and new Social Media - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ambassador-muhamed-sacirbey/re-tweeted-by-the-un-secr_b_2719721.html )
However, we need to emphasize that nothing will ever be fully satisfying and rejection is part of it as is acceptance. In discourse, it is not about the instant gratification, an orgasm, but about the engagement and foreplay.