Image via WikipediaOne person had asked that how is Jihadists similar to the kamikazes during WW2, and how can people who aren't afraid to die be defeated?
My initial answer is simple: kill them. If they are dead, they cannot win.
However, the issue is a little complicated than that. To answer that question, we have to examine the motive. If we can prevent their ideal outcome, then they do not win, right?
Ever wonder what exactly the Jihadists are fighting for? What is their "ideal outcome"?
Osama bin Laden and many other Jihadists had stated before that Al Qaeda basically want to reestablish the Caliphate, a new Islamic superpower, preferably around the world. They see this conflict as a war between two value systems: Islamic, and Western.
Are there similarities between the Jihadists and the kamikazes? Yes. The similarities between them is they are trying to protect their "way of life", just as we are trying to protect ours.
However, upon closer examination, the Jihadist's arguments are much weaker.
The kamikaze pilots in WW2 believe they are sacrificing themselves to protect their country, their village, their family, and their emperor, and they'd be technically correct, as the US does have plans to invade and occupy Japan, if the atomic bombs were not dropped.
The Jihadists believe that they are protecting their faith against encroaching Western values. It is a MUCH weaker argument overall, because Western values is about choice, as one can choose to embrace it or not. Jihadists can argue that the encroaching values IS an invasion, but it is an invasion of ideas, new vs. old, and as the saying goes, "change is inevitable".
Or to put it another way:
Kamikaze rationale: invaders are coming to pillage and rape! Defend the village with your lives!
Jihadist rationale: boys are coming to the village to date our girls! Kill the boys! We can't let them corrupt our girls! Defend the village with your lives!
It is simply ridiculous by Western standards, but the Jihadists are deadly serious about it.
Jihadists are simply fighting on the wrong battlefield. They are fighting war of ideas with PHYSICAL weapons. So what are the chances they can succeed? Can you fight war of idea physical weapons? Unfortunately, yes. That's why they are called terrorists.
Or to put it another way: there are two ways to turn the world into Islamic empire: one, you convert all the non-Muslims, or two, you kill all the non-Muslims. Since Al Qaeda is not in the conversion business, it must be in the killing business.
So can you defeat people like that? Depends on your definition of "defeat". You can prevent them from winning, and they will never win. But can you root them out and destroy them once and for all? No. You can't DEFEAT an ideology, at least not with physical weapons. EDUCATION is the key. Teach the truth about Western civilization (something the Al Qaeda does NOT want), both good and bad, and teach the falsehoods about the Jihadists, how they have perverted the Koran, and let people make up their own mind.
And yes, the Jihadists have perverted the Koran. Jihad is not just about war, but about one's faith, and defense of it, and there's nothing in the Koran that states that the laws of war can be suspended for jihad. Prophet Mohammed specifically forbade killing of women, children, elderly, messengers, prisoners, and such, as well as outlawing treachery and betrayal, even collateral damage. The laws and edicts have been followed by major Muslim armies, such as King Saladin's army through the Crusades and such. It is only very recently that Jihadists decided to reinterpret the edicts so they don't apply to infidels.
So it is a war of ideas. Spread the truth about the Jihadist betrayal of their faith, and you can eventually defeat them. So, the question is, are WE fighting on the right battlefield as well?