Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dealing with today's Nazis

The Islamic State (I.S.I.S/I.S.I.L) has to be dealt with.  The worst way to deal with it, it seems to me, is to try to find someone in the West to blame for its emergence.  Conservatives want to blame Obama, liberals want to blame W.  But, it's the extremist jihadists who are Islamic State.  No one forced them to saw off the heads of those they despise.  No one forced them to wage a religious war in the Middle East and declare an Islamist caliphate.  They are who they are because of who they are, not because someone else is to blame for who they are.

Roger Cohen did a good job of summarizing the mistakes of the U.S.:

"The list of American errors is long: Bush’s ill-conceived and bungled war in Iraq; a failure to deal with the fact that two allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have been major sources and funders of violent Sunni extremism; an inability to seize opportunity in Egypt, home to nearly a quarter of the world’s Arabs, and so demonstrate that Arab societies can evolve out of the radicalizing confrontation of dictatorship and Islamism; a prolonged spate of dithering over the Syrian war during which Obama declared three years ago that “the time has come for President Assad to step aside” without having any plan to achieve that; a lack of resolve in Syria that saw Obama set a red line on the use of chemical weapons only to back away from military force when chemical weapons were used; an inability to see that no one loves an Arab vacuum like jihadi extremists, and a bloody vacuum was precisely what Obama allowed Syria to become; and inattention, until it was too late, to festering sectarian conflict in a broken Iraqi society left to its fate by a complete American withdrawal."

So what?  It is the religious fanatics who are acting fanatically.  They are simply taking advantage of a situation where they think that there centuries long grandiose dreams can be made real, world domination for their religion and for themselves to be Great Rulers of the world.  Ego coupled with pious rhetoric.

I believe Richard Cohen makes a key point as well when he says that any attempt to explain who else is to blame is a way of making their savagery and evil acceptable.  They are no more acceptable in today's world than the Nazi's were acceptable in the 20th century.  His summary:

"The Islamic State, in whose name Foley was beheaded, murders with abandon. It seems to love death the way the fascists once did. It is Sunni, so it massacres Shiites. It is radical Sunni, so it eliminates apostates. It is Muslim, so it kills Yazidis, a minority with a religion of its own, and takes as plunder their women as concubines. Men are shot in graves of their own making.
The Nazis are back — differently dressed, speaking a different language and murdering ostensibly for different reasons but actually for the same: intolerance, hatred, excitement and just because they can."
So, what do we do with today's Nazis? I really hate the idea of getting the U.S. involved in the Religious and Civil Wars of the Middle East, but we have to apply U.S. power to the region.  I hope Obama, and Europe, use as much financial, diplomatic, economic, military training and weapons for the least radical Muslims on the ground, maybe some air power support, intelligence support, selected special forces missions, etc etc.  And I hope we don't put ground troops into that briar patch.  
But I don't see how we can remain aloof and removed as we watch this al Qaeda offshoot, more vicious, better organized, better funded jihadist savages continue to rampage.  We are definitely on their target list.