Friday, November 20, 2015

A Nobel Prize for War?

Alfred Nobel
The Times headline read, “Boko Haram Ranked Ahead of ISIS for Deadliest Terror Group," (NYT, 11/18/15) and the story went on to report that “Boko Haram, the militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, was responsible for 6664 deaths last year,  more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic state, which killed 6073 people in 2014.” The figures come from an organization The Times identifies as the Institute of Economics & Peace, but it makes one think that there's a crying need for a central clearing house where the success of terrorist plots, murderers, beheadings are all tallied with the aim of presenting year end awards to organizations which have been most successful in promoting terror. Boko Haram and ISIS may have ranked first and second, but where how did al-Qaeda fare? Competition is one way to build excellence in any field and there are undoubtedly many other fledgling terrorist organizations who would be helped if they could have their sights set on some kind of prize which like the Nobel might even come with a financial reward. We hear about how wealthy ISIS has become, but there are terrorist groups in Chechnya, in Malaysia, in the Philippines and Myanmar, (where there’s the seemingly oxymoronic prospect of militant Buddhists who want to rid the country of Muslims) all in sore need of funding so that they fulfill their dreams of killing thousands of people and one day finding glory as the winner of a prize. Studies will undoubtedly show that terrorist groups who win awards are also more feared than those who remain relatively low on the food chain in terms of recognition. Perhaps there should also be a terrorist hall of fame, like the one that celebrates our great baseball players, in Cooperstown. We vilify the Nazis, but during the Third Reich, many of those we regard as criminals today were considered heroes who would definitely have been qualified to be championship terrorists. If the world continues on its present course, perhaps someday there will even be a Nobel Prize for War.

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