Tag Archives: ISIS

Fighting Fear–Defeating ISIS

Tornados happen. Floods happen. Earthquakes happen. Wildfires happen. Car crashes happen. Mass shootings and terrorist attacks happen–like in the airport at Istanbul.

View of Istanbul Airport
From CNN.com

What?! Terrorist attacks happen? Yes, and more will certainly come. So what do we do about it?

Do people fear natural disasters? Some do, some more than others. Do they fear mass shooters and terrorists? Many more do, no doubt. Which is why they demand the government do something about it and politicians pander to those fears. In his 1933 inaugural speech, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said,

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.FDR in 1933

He spoke then of the people’s financial fears in the depths of the Great Depression, not of terrorism. But the notion applies well to our current state of affairs.

People who choose or who must live in the Tornado Belt have basement shelters, for the most part. People who live in areas prone to floods are prohibited by zoning laws from building other than playgrounds, parks and athletic fields in floodplains. People who live in areas known to be subject to earthquake must live and work in buildings that can survive them. New construction in Florida now must include roofs tied to the foundation and homes able to survive 160 mph winds of hurricanes. Trees and brush can be cleared around homes and building materials can be more fire-resistant. Still, nothing can prevent natural disasters, only lessen the consequences. People go on with their lives, unafraid of such potential catastrophes. In the wake of them, they rebuild–thankful their lives were spared even if their homes were not.

Few people stop driving cars in fear of crashes, despite the fact that they are far more likely to die or be seriously injured in one than be the victim of a terrorist attack. Few people stop going to the movies, to shopping malls, to airports, to stadiums, to work or to other places where masses of people congregate. Yet they still fear or at least demand government action to stop the terrorist attacks.

For decades, if not centuries, there have been those who would impose their will on others by the tactics of terror. They’re seldom successful in the long run. You can study the history of such movements on every continent of the world–save Antarctica. But our present concern is with ISIS and its fellow extremists extolling a perverted form of Islam as their guide. It’s only rarely mentioned that the goal of ISIS is to bring about the end of days in an apocalyptic war in the Middle East. As that goal eludes them, they become more desperate. Their finances have been diminished. They are losing at large scale warfare. They have lost Fallujah. White hat hackers are taking over websites and twitter accounts to mock or discredit them. In time, they will fade from existence and become an historical footnote of failure. But what should we do now, while the attacks continue?

The response of Turkey, in contrast to that of Belgium is instructive. The airport in Brussels remained closed for a week after the attack there. The airport in Istanbul has reopened in something like 14 hours, as cleanup and repairs progress. The more we cower in fear, the more we offer prescriptions for yet more ineffective screening such as, for example, inspections of all vehicles on roads headed toward airports once they get within a mile or two of the terminal?

In other words, consider the odds. We are all far more likely to die in any of those natural disasters than to even be in a 10 mile vicinity of a terrorist attack. Yes, continue going after ISIS and their ilk. Just stop being afraid and stop asking the government to do stuff that won’t work and will cost prodigious amounts of money that could be better spent on things that do–schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, etc.

Brussels and Bozos

Yet another horrific terrorist attack has occurred. The deaths and injuries in Brussels have saddened and troubled people around the world. These all too frequent events happen across Europe, in Asia, Africa and sometimes in America as well. Most are directed or are inspired by ISIS and other terrorist groups which proclaim that their interpretation of the teachings of Islam justify them. Of course, the genuine Islamic faith practiced by millions of adherents throughout the world condemns, rather than encourages, the killing of innocent people. Likewise, the genuine believers condemn genocide perpetrated against the members of other religions, the raping and enslaving of women and girls. Despite my pacifistic beliefs, I am completely in support of killing the leaders of ISIS and their counterparts. Normally, I would prefer persuading such people of the error of their beliefs and their actions. In the case of those at the top of these groups that seems clearly futile. On the other hand, there are the bozos that would go way beyond simply targeting the leadership of such groups.

Who are they and why do I call them bozos? Well, one is Crazy Cruz. The other is Dim-Witted Donald. To call them clowns implies in one sense that they are somehow amusing. A train wreck is not funny. Nor is terrorism. Glib political responses to acts of terror and terrorism doesn’t make one a clown, but it does make one a bozo. Yes, there was a clown by that name. But the term has come to apply to someone who is stupid, rude or incompetent. Try looking it up in any number of dictionaries or Googling the term. You will see what I mean. It could take several thousand words to expand on all the ways that Cruz and Trump are bozos. So let’s just address their responses to the Brussels attack, to ISIS and to their perspective on people of the Islamic faith. That’s sufficient to qualify the epithet.

Ted Cruz says police should “patrol Muslim communities (in America) to prevent the residents from becoming radicalized!” He has also called for “carpet-bombing” ISIS inhabited areas in Syria and Iraq. Donald Trump has previously said he would quickly eliminate the ISIS threat by “bombing the s—t out of them.” In response to the Brussels attack he reiterated his proposed ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. (No matter that there are many already here—including ones serving in Congress, the U.S. military, state and local government and law enforcement) and urged the use of waterboarding (at a minimum) to extract useful information from the Paris attack suspect arrested several days ago in Belgium.

First, terrorism is a tactic and sometimes a strategy. It’s been practiced throughout the world for centuries. It’s not the same as a conventional war between one country and another. It often happens within a civil war, whether the combatants agree to the description of the conflict as a civil war or not. If it were easily ended, the war in Syria would be over. If the answer to a cessation were simple, it would not have taken a few hundred years for the Protestants and the Catholics to stop fighting (including mutual use of terrorism) in Northern Ireland. If it were simple, Russia wouldn’t have left a fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan long before the United States went there for its own very long conflict.

How much bombing will stop terrorists, a civil war or some other insurgency? In my war, Vietnam, the U.S. and its allies dropped 2 ½ times the total tonnage of bombs that tiny country that were dropped during all of WW II! No, not exactly carpet-bombing, but it left the terrain like a moonscape. We did drop a serious amount of bombs on North Vietnam. Perhaps that led to the “successful” conclusion of the Paris Peace Talks—for which U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho won Nobel Peace Prizes. Kissinger took his and Le Duc Tho refused his—perhaps because he and the North were not intending to honor the treaty. It was dishonestly called by then President Richard Nixon as “Peace with Honor.”

I bring up Vietnam to correlate with Brussels. In South Vietnam, the National Liberation Front (its members more popularly known to Americans as Viet Cong) lived in and were supported by (not necessarily voluntarily or with eagerness) by villages. American soldiers and their allies wore uniforms; even without them, they were easily distinguished from the Viet Cong and the villagers. The VC didn’t typically wear uniforms. In Brussels, as in other cities across Europe, Muslims are not well assimilated or integrated into the general population. Instead, they are concentrated in communities of fellow believers. Like the VC, the ISIS terrorists are indistinguishable physically from their less radical neighbors. It is no easy task to embed undercover operatives within these enclaves. Police can and do patrol but don’t necessarily get great cooperation from the communities. Contrast Europe with America. Here, Muslims are dispersed and relatively well assimilated. Where are the Muslim communities to patrol, that bozo Ted Cruz would keep from being radicalized? How are the Muslims here being radicalized? Well, Ted, it’s not by their neighbors, but by the sites they frequent on the internet. Stupid idea, Ted! [New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says Cruz “doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about”] Not to mention, it most likely would result in the very radicalization he thinks such patrols would prevent.

Carpet-bombing? Well in Vietnam, because it was difficult to determine who in fact was VC, the one sure way was to observe if an individual was deceased. If dead, ipso facto he must have been VC. ISIS members live in cities and communities they have taken over by force. They weren’t welcomed in with open arms in most cases. So who dies in carpet-bombing? The innocent victims of ISIS and other civilians. Great idea, bozos Ted and Donald! Or, even more extreme, target the families of ISIS members as Donald previously suggested. They might not be 100% but that’s what’s called a war crime, bozo Trump.

So let’s just torture the suspects. Well, the Senate report concluded that doesn’t really work. Oh yes, suspects will talk. They’ll say anything to get the torture to stop. Unfortunately, what they say isn’t true. Ask John McCain about torture. He spent six years as a POW in Vietnam before becoming a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate. Well they do worse, says Donald. So why should we hold back. Wow! Remember the elementary school mantra, “just because he jumped off the cliff doesn’t mean you should.” Yup, definitely a bozo.

The bottom line? These bozos are not fit to be a President of the U.S. They are too irrational, too stupid and too immoral.

Syrian Refugees and the GOP

It’s early for the political silly season but then the GOP political candidates have been pretty far out there for a while. Now their governors have joined the party. They should serve crackers and cheese with all the whining they’re doing.  They whine about debate moderators. Now they’re whining about the Syrian refugees possibly bringing terror to America. They whine incessantly about everything that President Obama says. Ted Cruz says if Obama wants to insult him, do it to his face and debate him. Did Cruz buy his degree from Harvard Law or did he skip class when Constitutional Law was taught? Maybe he doesn’t know about American law because he was born in Canada. [No offense to my Canadian friends.] I’ll put my Georgetown JD up against his Harvard (?!) degree and let him know that allowing Christian refugees into America but denying Muslims entry runs afoul of that picky little detail about religion in America’s First Amendment.

I suppose we could excuse non-lawyers Trump (shut down the mosques) and Ben Carson (no Muslim president) for being unaware of American constitutional provisions. But as President of the US, there really is no excuse. Many, if not most of those Republican governors that want to keep out suffering Syrians are probably lawyers as well. They should know better. For all those supposedly evangelical and otherwise devout types among GOP presidential candidates and their supporters there is another little problem–what the actual religious leaders say about the matter.

The National Association of Evangelicals says this:

“Of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country, but let’s not punish the victims of ISIS for the sins of ISIS,”  Leith Anderson, NAE president.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says this:

“I am disturbed . . . by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris.

. . .

Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.” Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration

Ah, but those politicians know what voters want, forget what the religious leaders think–what do they know anyway!

Hey, if it were up to Trump and some of the others, if they were in the White House they would probably round up all the Muslims and put them in an internment camp annex to Guantanamo. Too dangerous to lock them up in America! None have proposed that publicly (yet) but you know some of them are thinking it.  It worked for the Japanese Americans in WWII; why not the Muslims now, eh? I suppose I shouldn’t be giving Trump, Carson or Cruz ideas–but if you happen to be Muslim, you should  just hope none of them are living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year. Maybe the DSM will add Islamophobia to its list of psychiatric disorders soon.

Free Speech or Provocation?

When two men opened fire in Garland, Texas, Pamela Geller called it an attack on free speech. The men, Muslim roommates from Phoenix, Arizona, took it upon themselves to attack a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon event sponsored by Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative. It’s important to distinguish Charlie Hebdo from Geller’s group and the attack in Texas. Hebdo was an equal opportunity offender against any and all religions, not just Islam.  As most anyone who reads print news, watches TV or gets information from any other sources knows well, Islamist extremists attacked and killed members of Charlie Hebdo, a French publication. Geller’s group specifically targets Islam for criticism.

The event in Texas was intended to award a prize for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. As it happens, Islam has an express prohibition on depicting Muhammad, God and any other religious figures. They have no images, idols or other sacred objects as are common to other religions. Instead, they revere, for inspiration, geometric shapes. So it is to be expected, based on past events, that Muslims would take great offense at the cartoon contest. Most would stop short of trying to kill someone for the insult to their religious sensibilities. But knowing what has gone before, it came as no great surprise that some would. The upshot? An ostensible confirmation of the violence that Geller and her cronies attribute to Islam generally.

Is that a fair assessment?  The Southern Poverty Law Center labels the American Freedom Defense Initiative a hate group in it’s Intelligence Watch list. Here is what the SPLC says about Geller:

Pamela Geller is the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead. She’s relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam and makes preposterous claims, such as that President Obama is the “love child” of Malcolm X. She makes no pretense of being learned in Islamic studies, leaving the argumentative heavy lifting to her Stop Islamization of America partner Robert Spencer. Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists, spoken favorably of South African racists, defended Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic and denied the existence of Serbian concentration camps. She has taken a strong pro-Israel stance to the point of being sharply critical of Jewish liberals.

In Her Own Words
“Islam is not a race. This is an ideology. This is an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth.”
— Pam Geller On Fox Business’ “Follow the Money,” March 10, 2011

Geller also runs the Stop Islamization of America group. The Anti-Defamation League (a Jewish organization) has called out Geller and her groups for promoting hatred and intolerance. So if a Jewish group is critical of an anti-islamic group as being extreme, that might be a clue that it really is.


Irony Abounds as Female UAE Pilot Leads Attack on ISIS

Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, the United Arab Emirates’ first female fighter pilot, prepared for takeoff on a flight last year. Credit Emirates News Agency, WAM, via Associated Press

In ISIS controlled territory within Syria, women are required to be covered from head to toe. Among the five Arab countries participating in strikes on ISIS positions within Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE) sent squadron leader Major Mariam Al Mansouri on the bombing run. Learning of this must set the hair aflame on the heads of the ISIS wackos.  Western news media, in the meantime is happy to supply the story. See more on this from the New York Times.

ISIS or ISIL–It’s Their Actions That Make Them Unfit to Live Among Other Humans

People and groups that purport to know God’s will and attempt to force their supposed understanding are at best offensive. When they couple it with savage cruelty, again, in supposed concert with their interpretation of how God wishes them to establish His will, they become pathological lunatics. ISIS could as well be an acronym for Irrational Sadistic Islamic (self-identified) Savages. If they were an actual state, they would be chargeable with war crimes. As it is, they are simply organized, serial sociopaths. Continue reading ISIS or ISIL–It’s Their Actions That Make Them Unfit to Live Among Other Humans