Terrorists seem better defended and have more tears shed for them by the media than the numerous people they have killed. Whether it is Ishrat Jahan, Afzal Guru or Burhan Wani, the media has inflated their importance, turning them into propaganda images. – Dr David Frawley
The war on terror has become a big media event, perhaps the biggest today. It is also a big political event. Terrorist attacks can be viewed for possible major electoral gains. India is perhaps more caught up in media news about terrorism than the rest of the world. That Pakistan has been a jihadi state promoting terrorist attacks on India highlights the issue.
Part of this media event consists of glorifying terrorists as victims or heroes, posting their pictures and expressing sympathy for their causes. This includes questioning whether such individuals should be called terrorists, and if it is lawful to try to eliminate them by preemptive measures.
Some journalists emphasise protecting the human rights of terrorists, making sure they have fair trials before being punished, to the extent of trying to ignore their atrocities. Unlike India, the USA promotes its war on terrorism by trying to eliminate as many terrorist leaders as possible by drone attacks. No media reporting or scrutiny is part of the process. India has terrorist encounters along its borders and inside the country. The media expects to be given all possible information and to monitor the battles against terrorists in person if possible. It appears that the media feels that without their presence and approval such battles cannot be legitimate. The media seems to function as if they were an independent branch of government, necessary for validating the veracity and success of terrorist operations. But they seldom keep track of the victims of terrorism.
While terrorists gain fame, those they kill fall into obscurity. The media fails to note that by excusing terrorism or overemphasizing the rights of terrorists, they may further abet terrorism. Since India has a sizeable Muslim minority, raising questions about Islamic terrorism has special possible electoral advantages.
We are reminded of Digvijay Singh of Congress who went so far to promote the release of a book claiming that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were actually done by the RSS, not by Islamic terrorists at all. Not surprisingly, after terrorist attacks, the opposition seems to come together to defend the rights of terrorists against India’s central government, which they want to denigrate as anti-Muslim. This use of the terrorist card in an effort to gain the Muslim vote is cynical and manipulative.
Don’t be naive
Terrorists seem better defended and have more tears shed for them by the media than the numerous people they have killed. Whether it is Ishrat Jahan, Afzal Guru or Burhan Wani, the media has inflated their importance, turning them into propaganda media claims that there may be something illogical about the details of terrorist encounters.
Naturally if there are terrorist attacks, or any type of fighting, there are bound to be uncertain or unexpected factors, as in the chaos that surrounds any battles—as well as different accounts as to what exactly transpired. Terrorists cannot be treated like professional soldiers or ordinary criminals, expected to fight or surrender in a predictable manner. Terrorist groups, which now include suicide bombers, are not rational people that you can have a fair discussion with.
Can there be excesses in the war on terror? Certainly, perhaps more than in ordinary wars. A major consideration on the battlefield is to try to avoid civilian casualties along with those of your own soldiers. In dealing with terrorists, the best way to be certain of this is to deal with terrorists quickly. It is better to err on the side of protecting the possible victims of terrorist aggression,rather than trying to insure terrorists are always treated kindly and with due legal process. Terrorism is not a law and order problem. Terrorism is a proxy war that has not only religious but also political implications.
Terrorism today is supported by various nations, either directly in the case of the Islamic State or Pakistan, or indirectly in the case of other countries. Terrorists are not criminals but guerilla fighters, specially trained to inflict as much damage as they can, and deception is one of their primary modes of operation. To treat them like misguided criminals is naïve, and may provide them more opportunities to inflict damage and further harm the innocent. – Daily-O, 5 November 2016
» Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is the director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the author of more than 30 books on yoga and vedic traditions.