Reader DXC on Insulting the Enemy

Reader dxc sends me e-mail responding to the notion of the effectiveness of insulting terrorists by sending this excerpt:

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim leads the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC, previously known as SCIRI), which is Iraq’s leading Shiite party and a critical component of Prime Minister al-Maliki’s coalition. He is the sole survivor of eight brothers. During Saddam’s rule, Baathists executed six of them. On Aug. 29, 2003, a suicide bomber, possibly linked to the Baathists, blew up his last surviving brother, and predecessor as SCIRI leader, at the shrine of Ali in Najaf. Muqtada al-Sadr, Hakim’s main rival, comes from Iraq’s other prominent Shiite religious family. Saddam’s Baath regime murdered his father and two brothers in 1999. Earlier, in April 1980, the regime had arrested Muqtada’s father-in-law and the father-in-law’s sister — the Grand Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr and Bint al-Huda. While the ayatollah watched, the Baath security men raped and killed his sister. They then set fire to the ayatollah’s beard before driving nails into his head. De-Baathification is an intensely personal issue for Iraq’s two most powerful Shiite political leaders, as it is to hundreds of thousands of their followers who suffered similar atrocities.

Reader dxc goes on:

People who operate in “terrorist” organizations are able to survive because they are committed and have community support. It isn’t difficult to imagine that al-Sadr and al-Hakim are strongly committed to their point of view given their experiences and that they have a lot of community support given the votes their blocs have received and the wide sharing of similar experiences by the suppressed Shia and Kurds under Saddam. The same can be said for anonymous Sunnis whose relatives’ bodies are found with electric drill holes in their joints today, courtesy of Shiite death squads last night.

So no, I don’t think denouncing “terrorists” as cowards will have any real effect. A lot of these people have had personal experiences that we cannot possibly imagine let alone share. It may make the 101st fighting keyboarders feel tough to hurl epithets across the ether, but otherwise? Not so much.