Contrived Controversy Fomenting War

A contrived, fake controversy erupted last week when media war mongers attacked President Obama for not using the term “Islamic Extremism” when speaking about ISIS.  These words and the air time devoted to them cause lives.  President Obama held a forum on extremism last week and refused to label ISIS terrorists as “Islamic Extremists.”  For this he was vilified by Fox News.  The discussion also spilled over to the Fox Light Network CNN.  

The President refuses to fall into the right wing media’s trap of making this war one of Christian versus Muslim.  Ever since President George W. Bush’s giant mistake of calling the Iraq War a crusade much of the world has taken that to mean that these have been religious wars.  There have been  countless religious wars over centuries and this should not be one of them.  This is a war against terrorists using ancient forms of torture and terror.  Let’s remember that their use of torture, however barbaric, is being justified by them because of our use of torture against Muslims.  We opened this can of worms.

ISIS is no more Islamic and representative of that faith than the Ku Klux Klan and the Westboro Baptist Church are of Christianity.  Nothing they stand or fight for is justified in the Quoran.  This is not the Muslim faith practiced and observed by a billion people across the globe.  Demonizing all Muslims for the actions of a few fundamentalist extremists is no different than if we condemned all Christians for the KKK.

Stereotyping people is evil and immoral.

Networks beaming footage of pundits calling for religious war is irresponsible war mongering.  People die from such actions.  The President is doing the responsible thing by recognizing ISIS as terrorists and not simply Muslims.  The term “Islamic Extremism” connotes that we, as a Christian nation (which we are not) are at war with Islam.

The result of such madness is that average Americans are targeted simply because of their faith.  Muslim Americans should not be afraid for their safety because reckless “journalists” choose to put them at at risk.  The fact a once respected network like CNN chose to jump on this topic last week on Carol Costello’s program was disheartening.  This is basic war mongering and an attempt to foment hatred not just at ISIS but towards all Muslims.

ISIS

President Obama is bombing ISIS targets in Syria, an act of war against that country, in a widening of Mid-East conflict stemming from the ill fated Iraq War begun by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.  The destabilization of Iraq caused by our invasion and overthrow if its government (under false pretenses) has resulted in the creation of ISIS.  It is a direct result of horrible foreign policy decisions and until Iraq develops a fully inclusive, effective central government which isn’t a US puppet regime such destabilization will continue.

We can again invade Iraq and bomb ISIS and, perhaps, destroy the group’s capabilities only to watch another such organization form and threaten stability in the region.  These are the results of having an idiot in the Oval Office who started a war for regime change without even understanding the dynamics at work in that nation.  Bush wanted to avenge his father’s honor and in so doing opened a Pandora’s Box of trouble which will last for decades.

Many foreign policy experts predicted this sort of long lasting instability after Bush and Cheney’s bloodlust and thirst for defense industry profits (Cheney’s Halliburton made $39 billion in profits from the war) motivated them to lie to the country about Saddam’s non existent WMD’s.  These are the fruits of the biggest foreign policy blunder of the last century.

ISIS does not pose a threat to our strategic national security.  They beheaded two American journalists who chose to enter a war zone voluntarily to do their jobs.  While regrettable we cannot choose to go to war every time an American makes a foolish or dangerous decision.  At some point they must accept personal responsibility for their entering a dangerous region.  Israel murdered thousands of Palestinians and many Americans sat back and cheered the slaughter.  What this says about pr priorities is sickening.

ISIS simply doesn’t have the capability to strike definitively inside this country.  Their 20-30,000 untrained fighters have to hold and secure the areas already under their control plus battle opposition forces in Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish region of Iraq.  Their estimated $3 million/day in revenues sound impressive until one understands they actually have expenses.  Since they control a considerable area in both Syria and Iraq remember that now, as the governing body, they must administer governmental services in this region.  Schools, prisons, road construction and repair, security and all those other normal governmental services normal in today’s world are now their responsibility.  This costs money.  Those government workers expect to be paid as do their fighters.  Their army also needs training and weapons.  These things cost money.  Three million a day won’t go far especially now that Obama is targeting their sources of revenue.  Bombing of their refinery and a tightening of contributions from wealthy Arabs and closing the black market for their oil will reduce their revenues considerably.

Frankly I’m more concerned with the threat of ebola more than I am ISIS.  Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham can inflame passions all they want in their bloodlust for war but remember these two, a year ago, were screaming that we should align ourselves with ISIS against the Assad regime in Syria.  They have no credibility when it comes to national security.  I’d rather see us concentrate on eradicating ebola in western Africa before it migrates to other areas of the world.  This is the more serious threat.

A Quacked-Up Strategy to Stop Terrorism

by Walter Brasch

Just about everyone has an opinion of what President Obama should do about the ISIS threat in Iraq. Many of the suggestions have come from the architects of America’s latest invasion of Iraq who claimed the nine year war that led to more than 25,000 deaths and 110,000 injuries among American and coalition troops would last not more than six months.

Whatever the President does or doesn’t do, a rabid minority will attack him and stuff their suggestions with the vileness of hate and politics. Most suggestions are based on ignorance and are easily dismissed.

But, there is one possible suggestion that may have merit.

On Sean Hannity’s Fox TV show, Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch and one of the world’s greatest military and diplomatic strategists, suggested that America tell ISIS fighters either to convert or be killed.

Millions of Americans-who called radical Muslims who preached such a doctrine, “barbarians” or “terrorists”-don’t seem to have a problem with converting Muslims to Christianity, the one true religion.

While Robertson had a good idea, he didn’t explain any way to implement it.

I do.

First, take a couple of Marine infantry regiments. Place them into Iraq. Make sure each soldier has an M-16, which in fully automatic mode can fire 800 rounds a minute and is one of the weapons the NRA believes all Americans should have a right to possess but only, they caution, as an AR-15 in semi-automatic mode. After all, those deer can be quite elusive.

Next, make sure every soldier also has a duck call. I recommend Duck Commander’s Homeland Security duck call. It’s only about $150 each, or about $1.5 million retail if both regiments are at full strength. This sale will help spur the American war economy. The soldiers will use the quackers to lure and mesmerize the ISIS fighters.

The Robertson clan needs to be on the front lines as decoys. Because the clan looks like terrorists, the ISIS terrorists will think long-haired, bearded scarf-wearing camouflaged Robertsons are kin-folk.

When the terrorists are rounded up, bring out the support troops-a company of white Southern Baptist preachers. The terrorists will be given a choice. Allow the preachers to dunk them into the Tigris or Euphrates rivers, the source of what we believe is civilization, or face hell-fire-and-brimstone from M-16s.

Some may suggest that Islam, primarily a peace-loving religion whose Koran shares much of the Old and New Testaments, is tainted by a minority of radical terrorists. They may claim that to even suggest a convert-or-be-killed philosophy is in itself not just the reflection of bigotry and hatred but can be seen as little more than a terrorist threat. Nonsense. Isn’t it no less than treason to doubt the wisdom of a millionaire duck call manufacturer and his legions of followers who drool over Reality TV and the “fair and balanced” network that gave air time to present the best suggestion that Fox News ever transmitted?

History suggests the convert-or-be-killed strategy that the Chief Duck Caller proposed should be effective. After all, Roman Catholics during the Inquisition converted about 100,000 Jews, most of whom took Christian names. The ones who weren’t “convinced” that Christianity was the one true religion were burned at the stake or exiled.  Of course, most of the converts also practiced Judaism secretly, but as long as they pretended to be Christians, that’s all that matters. Naturally, the Jews weren’t alone-there were and still are many pretend Christians.

Certainly, Jesus, who was born, lived, and died a Jew, would want everyone to be killed who doesn’t believe in the religion that others founded in his name. Disregard the fact that the Koran and the Bible share much of the same wisdom and history embodied within the Jewish Torah. Disregard the reality that that Islam and Christianity are brother religions, descendants of Judaism. This is 2014, and Christianity is the one true religion.

The convert-or-kill philosophy, espoused by the duck callers and millions of others, is just what the American democracy needs to wipe out terrorists, Muslims, and all non-believers.

Quack. Quack.

[Dr. Brasch, an award-winning columnist and satirist, is author of 20 books that combine history and contemporary social issues. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania.]