All is not well within the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). There is growing discontent, including revulsion at the relentless brutality.

ISIS is motivated by rage at its enemies, and as spiritual teacher Ram Dass observed, “Anger may be great for starting your engine, but don’t let it get hold of the steering wheel.” ISIS is running on road rage, which is inevitably self-destructive.

We won’t defeat terrorism by killing terrorists. We must limit their capacity to do harm, but we must recognize that every terrorist we kill becomes a hero, a martyr.

I was in grade school during World War II, and remember the gold stars on the windows of the homes of slain servicemen.

They strengthened our willingness to sacrifice, to buy war bonds, to plant Victory gardens, to accept rationing, to recycle tin cans and newspapers. I applaud our effort to limit civilian casualties (so different from World War II’s carpet bombing), but deplore our blindness to the powerful side effects of the necessary killing, limited as it is. How can we offset it?

Terrorism is a state of mind, so to defeat it, we must win minds. Rabbi Baal Shem Tov offered the parable of a deaf man who saw people dancing in the streets to the music of a violinist. He thought they had gone mad, because he couldn’t hear the music.

Hearing my wife and daughter delightedly laughing in the next room yesterday, I was struck by the thought that this was music that a terrorist may never have heard.

There is profound, practical wisdom in the Gospel command to love our enemies. Once they hear the music, they will become our friends. Impossible?

No, the “filthy Nazis and dirty Japs” of my boyhood are now, unthinkably, among our staunchest allies. ” ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

George F. Dole

Bath