That’s the headline of a USA Today article. There is a lot of hope along those lines from a number of high ranking politicians. I think they believe that because they want to believe that. I don’t think there is empirical evidence or a logical basis to support the conclusion that this will have any more than a very short term benefit.
I think giving aid to those victims is the right thing to do but I’m nearly certain the net results is that we will still have just as many enemies in the Islamic world as before we gave aid. Sure, we will get some “moderates” to be more friendly to us. But those that believe we must convert or be killed, and are our real enemies, are driven by a mindset that no amount of aid will change. Their mindset is driven by religious conviction. How does giving them aid change that in the slightest? They may be extremely grateful for our aid, but that doesn’t change the fact that “god” has given them orders to convert or kill us. The extremists among them will eat our food, drink our water, accept our medicine, then laugh at us for the folly of giving them the strength to kill us.
This is a war for the hearts and minds of an entire culture and I suspect the only way we can win this war is to destroy their culture as it presently exists. Giving them aid doesn’t help accomplish that task but we should do it anyway.