More Of The Same

« November 2015  

Memo to America: HERE WE GO AGAIN.

Another terrorist attack on a Western city. I'm not going to talk about how horrible it was, because obviously a hundred-plus people being shot and blown up is horrible. Unfortunately, the aftermath is going to be worse, because the aftermath is always worse.

One of the truisms of the post-9/11 era is that, in reaction to the suffering of innocents, we collectively decide that the moral high ground lies in making more innocents suffer. Intentionally or otherwise.

I've mentioned this before, but I'm not a pacifist. I think there are plenty of problems military force can solve and has solved in the past. I think there's a place for military force in the fight against terrorism. But I'm also a pragmatist, and the fact is, evidence-wise, what we're doing isn't working. It isn't working because of a thrilling combination of hidden agendas, xenophobia, kind-hearted incompetence, more xenophobia, and the fact that the problem we're attempting to solve can only be shot to death up to a point.

For example, our response to 9/11 wasn't a response to terrorism. It was a blatant attempt by a group of assholes to indulge their decades-long dream of using American might to remake the Middle East in their own image. PNAC, the neo-cons, you probably all know this if you're reading here. And since the neo-cons were almost exclusively old white dudes, the xenophobia was inherent in both the idea that they needed to remake the Middle East in the first place, and that it was OK for them to try.

Just one day before the Paris attacks, the big news all day was that the U.S. was pretty sure it had killed Mohamed "Jihadi John" Enwazi in a drone strike. They say pretty sure because apparenty he always wore the same baseball cap, so they tracked a guy with a baseball cap and then blew up the car he was in with high explosives. So he's probably dead.

Was anyone else hurt in the strike? We don't know, because that's not important. What's important to the media was that we not only got one of the bad guys, we got one of the bad guys who started as one of us, in London. But you don't drop a missile on a car, even in Syria, without wrecking some stuff and probably hurting some bystanders. And this kind of thing goes on constantly. In pursuit of our enemies, our death robots are blowing up shit every single day. It is very difficult to live a normal, productive life when shit is blowing up all around you. So, to answer Bill Maher's post-Paris question, this may be a contributing factor to why "they" hate us.

Obviously, the leaders of ISIS are driven by the same things that drive our assholes. A need for power, a casual disregard for human life, and an ideological worldview. But they couldn't do shit without support, and between the thousands of Western guns they've seized, taken, or been given, and the tactics of the US military, the fact is, a lot of their support has come directly from us.

And it'll keep happening. As an example of why, I present this quote from Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who, despite being a complete nutbar, is considered one of the "reasonable" alternatives who could rise to prominence if and when Trump and Carson self-destruct. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We must immediately recognize that our enemy is not ‘violent extremism.’ It is the radical Islamism that has declared jihad against the west. It will not be appeased by outreach or declarations of tolerance. It will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties, when the terrorists have such utter disregard for innocent life.'

Now, we're going to get into the ridiculous/deliberate right-wing obsession with nomenclature tomorrow, but what's important here is that Ted Cruz is saying that we are failing to defeat an enemy with utter disregard for innocent life because we have too much regard for innocent life. Not only is this based on a lie (that our airstrikes have zero tolerance for civilian casualties), it's morally bankrupt at the core unless you consider our innocent lives as more valuable than theirs. Which is also morally bankrupt at the core.

We need to fight terrorism. But we need not to suck at it. And we clearly suck at it and show no signs of learning from our mistakes.

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