I'm tired of hearing the crap about how we need to bring the troops home because all we're doing is nation building. They all cry, "what's so important about nation building? Why do we need to stay the course? We've won; bring the troops home." I'd like to take a few moments to offer an education to those of you asking these questions. They are good ones and deserve answers. But, before you proceed any further, you really need to put your learning hats on and set aside your partisan hoodies.
One of the root causes of terrorism is simple: poverty. Poverty breeds illiteracy. Illiteracy breeds ignorance. Ignorance breeds susceptibility. Susceptibility breeds extremism. Extremism is the motivation for terrorist acts. The reason that most terrorists these days tend to come from Islamic nations is because most Islamic nations tend to be dirt poor. With Saudi Arabia being the main exception, you just don't see Muslim extremists coming out of places like Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain or Djibouti.
Practically every Islamic extremist is illiterate and unable to read the words of the Koran on his/her own. The only way they are able to hear the word of Allah through Mohammad is through the teachings of a cleric. Most Muslims don't even own a copy of the Koran because they can't afford to buy one. But, even if they could, they wouldn't be able to read it. So, they have to take the word of their extremist clerics who say that Koran is about jihad, killing, revenge, etc. They skip past the peaceful parts and turning the other cheek. Don't get me wrong; there are violent parts in the Koran just as there are violent parts to the Bible. The key is context. The ignorant and illiterate don't get context. While I was in Iraq, I picked up every copy of the Koran I found in decimated building or after raids of terrorist safe houses. As I went about my business, I would put these books into the hands of people that had never owned one in their lives. Automatically, I had made a friend. This little act of compassion brought kisses and warm embraces from lukewarm initial impressions. ...
CJ has more to say, of course, and you can read it at A Soldier's Perspective here.