If muslim terrorists aim to convert us to their way of thinking, then there is no rational action that we can take, except to support a war to the death. This is what Government propaganda wants us to believe, but as is so often the case with Government propaganda, the facts are otherwise.
Osama bin Laden has 'clear, focused, limited and widely popular foreign policy goals', including: 'the end of U.S. aid to Israel and the ultimate elimination of that state;
the removal of U.S. and Western forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Muslim lands;
the end of U.S. support for the oppression of Muslims by Russia, China, and India;
the end of U.S. protection for repressive, apostate regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, et cetera; and the conservation of the Muslim world's energy resources and their sale at higher prices.
This is a quote from Michael Scheuer, who served in the CIA for 22 years, and who headed the CIA Counter-Terrorism Centre's bin Laden task force (1996-1999). Scheuer, who retired in Nov. 2004, wrote two recent books as 'Anonymous': "Through Our Enemies' Eyes" and "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror".
(Source: Justice not Vengeance website)
Scheur observes that, 'Bin Laden is out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world, not necessarily to destroy America, much less its freedoms and liberties. He is a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon.' (Imperial Hubris, p. xviii)
This is not to support or exonerate Bin Laden or the violent psychotics who act for and with him. It is simply to try to get inside the mindset of our enemy, which all the military manuals agree is necessary for a successful outcome.
Government wants us to believe that the terrorists' demands are that we should all convert to Islam, because that takes the pressure off the contribution made by their own foreign policy mistakes.
In fact, the USA has been quietly withdrawing from Saudi soil since 9/11, which is a wise move. They should complete their pullout from Saudi Arabia, since it is the Islamic Holy Land and it is an offence to have infidel troops on holy soil.
There is no single simple answer to terrorism, but there are many feasible policy changes which can be expected to "drain the swamp" in which Islamic fundamentalist terrorism flourishes. Here are a few:
We should get out of Iraq, as I have argued above.
Israel has to start to compromise with the Palestinians, instead of simply trying to repress them, as has been argued above.
Muslims have to come to accept that Israel is a fact of Middle East life.
Middle East policy has to focus on making the place inhabitable with a massive effort in terms of water management and reafforestation. The effort will divert attention away from conflict into co-operation on ecological projects.
Human rights performance worldwide, and particularly in Middle East countries, must be improved.
So there is stuff we can do, and in curing the problem of terrorism, we can cure a lot of other problems also.