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Monday, October 13, 2014
Today's Blog: Thinking about the ISIS Crisis
ISIS is a terror organization. That is, they use terror as a tactic to obtain what they want. They also are a revolutionary enterprise: they have a concrete plan to create their own state within the greater area of Syria and Iraq. This sets them apart from Al Qeda, which seems bent on destruction for its own sake. Al Qaeda are anarchists with no plan to replace what they destroy. We all know how dangerous and brutal the members of ISIS are, and if we did not, our press and our President will make sure we do.
I put this to you: if ISIS did not exist, we would have to invent them. we need an enemy to justify carrying the biggest military in the world and the history of the world, and to explain our military and political excursions throughout the world. This is not a comfortable or politically correct observation, but it stands. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are still out there, but diminished or at least apparently diminished. But ISIS is real, and imminent. Conversely, if WE did not exist ISIS would have to invent US.
ISIS is growing. By about 10,000 each time the total membership is announced in the press. 30,000 in all. 30,000 against the world. Over forty countries with all their resources are poised against this relatively small force, and yet we are talking about taking years to mop them up. Really? Years? We have more drones than they have warriors . . .
But I ask you: between ISIS and America, which poses the greater threat to world peace? Another way of asking: how many civilians have Americans killed since 2001? Bombed or beheaded – it makes little difference to the dead. Whatever the figure, you van be sure our enemies will inflate it. But one civilian’s death is one too many, and war makes monsters of us all. The trouble for Americans is, we intellectualize it, we find ourselves repulsed by it, but we do not live it. Our military is an army of avatars. The people in the region do live it, daily, from bombs to beheadings, as soldiers and as victims, with terror and by terror.
Does this mean I sympathize with ISIS? Not in the least. ISIS only proves that Western Man has no monopoly on cruelty – but neither does ISIS – and none of us is civilized.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..