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Senator Calls For Tolerance

Senator Calls For ToleranceThe only way to understand why Tuesday's events occurred is to get into the mind of a terrorist, says a Tufts dean and former U.S. ambassador.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.19.01] Despite the lingering shock of Tuesday's attacks, Americans across the country have been slowly returning to their daily lives. But one question continues to loom over the country: "Why?" The answer requires a close look inside the mind of a terrorist, says a Tufts dean and former U.S. ambassador.

"It is tempting for us to stamp such terrorism, and those who perpetrate it, as crazy," Tufts' Stephen Bosworth wrote in a Boston Globe opinion piece. "But few terrorists are in fact crazy. By their own logic, twisted though it is, they act rationally."

Their motivation has some common threads. According to Bosworth -- the dean of Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy -- many terrorists believe they are the victims of history and attempts at modernization.

"They believe that the failure to achieve modernization -- for which they blame others, not themselves -- has destroyed their traditional cultures," he wrote.

And the U.S. makes a big target for their anger.

"To some extent, of course, they blame us because we are so big, so powerful and always so visible," Bosworth wrote in the Globe. "But more fundamentally they associate America and American culture with the materialism and secularism that they see as so threatening to their religious purity and traditional values."

Their passion makes them extremely dangerous.

"Driven by political and religious fanaticism they are willing -- even eager -- to die as martyrs for their cause. They are very, very, very dangerous and we know that we must take them seriously," Bosworth wrote.

But the Tufts dean and former U.S. ambassador warned that terrorism cannot be associated with just one region -- it can come from any corner of the global community.

"The political, economic and social conditions that breed a willingness to inflict pain and death on innocent people for political ends are found in many places, including, of course, in the United States," he wrote.

And the response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks must take that into consideration, Bosworth wrote in the Globe.

"We need to respond in order to deter, not just punish," Bosworth added. "We also need to redouble our efforts to address the underlying political and social conditions that create the breeding ground for terrorism."

Efforts at peace in the Middle East are a good example and should be continued by the United States.

"For us to abandon efforts at conflict resolution there and elsewhere risks creating more generations of young men for whom political and religious extremism are so tempting."

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