The rise of a new barbaric state in the Middle East has brought with it renewed threats of terrorism in the United States and Europe. The United Kingdom has recently upped its terror threat level as ISIS/ISIL threatens attacks. While we must always take seriously the threat of attacks on our homelands, we must also remember to stay strong and not cower in fear. That is what the terrorists want us to do, because it makes them look and feel powerful. If we abandon our liberties in the name of security, the extremists will have succeeded in destroying our western way of life, which is their goal.
This is not to say that we should not fight terrorism. I am simply saying that it is a fight that is as much mental as it is physical. If we as a people refuse to be terrorized and fearful, than extremists can’t win. They know they can’t win a conventional war against any legitimate western military, so they depend of psychological warfare to harm a population. We simply cannot give in to these tactics. So long as we remain steadfast in our dedication to liberty and use our military to destroy any imminent threat to our people, we will emerge the clear victor in this fight.
Much discussion has centered on the current situation in Iraq where Islamist militants from the group ISIS have gained control of large swaths of the country. Some say their success defeating a seemingly pathetic and unmotivated Iraqi army proves that Obama pulled out of Iraq too early. The problem with this claim is that the people who make it never explain when WOULD have been the proper time to pull out. Reports from Iraq reveal that the Iraqi military seems to flee at the first sign of conflict. Even the “stay in Iraq forever” pages of the Wall Street Journal reports that “Iraqi soldiers who are supposed to protect Baghdad are dressing in civilian clothes beneath their military uniforms in case they have to flee.” With the Iraqis unwilling to defend their own country from militants, it appears that if we want to keep Iraq a peaceful pro-west country, we would have to keep a permanent force there. This may have been what we did in Europe, Japan and Korea, but there were not insurgencies in these countries.
The situation in Iraq points to a glaring hole in the logic of neoconservatives. There are right that announcing a deadline for withdrawal only tells the enemy militants how long they have to wait us out, but the fact is that so long as we plan on leaving at some point in the future, militants know they only have to wait until that point. Unless we are willing to sacrifice American lives in the Middle East for decades more to come, insurgencies will always know they can wait us out. That is just the nature of an insurgency.
I do think that there is some “good” coming out of this situation, even if it comes from unfortunate human suffering. No one should want to see people die, but perhaps the seemingly likely future civil war in Iraq won’t be so bad for the USA. In Syria, for instance, Islamists and other enemies of ours seem content on killing each other instead of killing us. I rarely ever quote Sarah Palin, but she made a crude but interesting point when she said of Syria to “Let Allah sort it out.” One argument for the Iraq and Afghan wars was that we can fight em’ over there or fight em’ over here. The events unfolding today can have that same effect as fighting them over there, except we don’t have to do any fighting ourselves. Let them waste their lives and resources on each other.
Some claim that after such a civil war a “terrorist” state will emerge. First off, if it is a state, it is not a terrorist organization. We didn’t call Nazi Germany a terrorist organization simply because they attacked us. Terrorist is a political word. Secondly, so what if one emerges? We deal with lots of countries that hate us just fine. I don’t remember Iranian attacks on America. And if the new Islamic state did attack in any way, we would know exactly where to attack. The challenge all of these years has been fighting an insurgency that refuses to fight in the field. But if the insurgents formed a regular old nation state, it would be much easier to know where to drop the bombs.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, lets just all remain calm and rational and not jump to any pro or anti-war conclusions. At this point the only thing we know for certain is that Obama has been lying when he tells us terrorism is on the run.
I am not a Bostonian, but I do attend school in Boston and therefore was in the city when the Boston Marathon Bombings happened. As the one year anniversary of the event approaches, I’ve done some thinking about the bombings and terrorism in general. Here are a few thoughts:
1) Terrorism is rare. We all have a much higher chance of dying in cars on the highway than we do of dying in a terrorist attack. Therefore, as hard as it may be, we must not be afraid of terrorism.
2) If we do start to fear terrorism, we lose. Terrorists WANT us to cower in fear and ruin our way of life. They know they can’t win any sort of ground war against the United States so they instead try to wage a mental war, they try to strike fear into the heart of every American (despite the point I made above). If we give into this fear, we can no longer claim to be BOSTON STRONG, or any “strong” for that matter.
3) Keeping in mind the point above, I do not support the decision to ban/crackdown on bandit runners this year at the real Boston Marathon. Runners are not the danger. My gut tells me that they made this decision to ban the bandits because they wanted to show the public that they were “doing something” to increase safety. This is simply creating an ILLUSION of safety, not real safety. Creating illusions of safety is also why we have to get patted down at airports. Some quick research will show that even the TSA itself knows that they are not keeping us nearly as safe as out politicians claim they are. For example, the over-reacting TSA (they declared mashed potatoes a security threat because it was a “liquid”) and security experts decided that it would make us safer if we allowed people to carry pocket knives shorter than 2 inches on planes. But politicians (who are experts only in self-promotion) freaked out and demanded that pocket knives remain banned in order to maintain and illusion of security.
4) This kind of touches on one of my previous blogs, but at no point during the bombings on the day of the marathon or the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs did I feel SAFER because I didn’t have a gun. I was lucky enough to be on a college campus where there was a police force specifically dedicated to the safety of students, but my heart goes out to all the homes who did not have armed guards. I know that the police did the best they could during the crisis, but at the end of the day the terrorist was found in a stored away boat by its civilian owner. If I was a resident of the Commonwealth I would have wanted to have a way to defend my family in case the police were not present.