After news broke on Thursday that the Trump administration had authorized the military to use the so-called “Mother Of All Bombs” (MOAB) on ISIS in Afghanistan, killing 36 ISIS terrorists and destroying underground tunnels and ordnance, Daily Beast columnist Dean Obeidallah tweeted:
Mother of all bombs cost $16 million meaning it cost us $440,000 for each of 36 ISIS guys killed. Couldnt we pay them less $ to quit ISIS?
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@Deanofcomedy) April 14, 2017
There are several reasons this is incredibly stupid.
1. You Can’t Pay Terrorists To Stop Being Terrorists. It’s one of the great myths of the Left that crime and terrorism spring from poverty, rather than the other way around. The fact is that culture trumps economic status, which is why the uber-wealthy Osama Bin Laden became a global terror leader, why the hijackers on 9/11 all came from middle class families. In 2002, this stupidity was debunked by economists Alan Kruger of Princeton and Jitka Maleckova of Charles University in Prague. They found that over half of Palestinian Arab suicide bombers had post-high school education.
2. All Attempts To Try To Pay Off Terrorists Have Caused More Terrorism. The same leftists who decry American intervention in Afghanistan on behalf of the mujahideen thanks to the rise of Al Qaeda think that paying off terrorists is good strategy. Israel has been attempting to pay off terrorists for years, handing over millions to the Palestinian Authority; Palestinians promptly elected Hamas, and the PA is now in a unity government with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. President Obama handed over billions to the Iranian government in the hopes it would mainstream them; instead, they’ve used some of that cash to expand terror operations.
3. American Lives Are Worth Something, Too. The notion that we should hand over $440,000 to terrorists means we’d first have to capture them. As Kurt Schlichter, a lieutenant colonel, says, how many American lives would have to be expended in that effort, even assuming it worked? And wouldn’t those lives be worth more than $440,000?
You can’t pay terrorists to stop being terrorists. You have to kill enough of them that they realize their cause is futile and turn to other action. That’s how every successful counterterrorism operation in history has worked. While the Left always thinks throwing money at problems makes them go away, when it comes to terrorism, it only makes terrorists that much richer and that much more aggressive.