From zunguzungu and Hannah Arendt:
… as Hannah Arendt reminds us, recognizing violence as illegitimate is not the same thing as calling it senseless and, more importantly, that calling racism irrational or beyond understanding only tends to deprive us of the tools necessary to understand why it makes sense to the minds that perpetrate it, however warped they might be. After all, if terrorists are like the Joker, impossibly omniscient, inscrutable, and purposeless, then maybe George Bush is right that we have to close our eyes to the rationality by which they direct their lives. But if they aren’t, then maybe violence is not so much arbitrary as it is banal, directed by a rationality we simply find repugnant. And maybe why is actually a good question to ask.