In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris the other night, that ISIS has claimed responsibility for, (or any abhorrent act of extremism) our initial visceral reaction is to literally fuck’em all to death, nuke the entire Middle East, or bomb it back to the pre-Cambrian. And it would be satisfying to annihilate our enemies. People say they don’t like violence, but they’re lying to themselves most of the time- we fucking love it when we can justify it.
But ISIS is an ideology that’s giving people in a massively fucked up region a direction and a purpose. And every time we kill innocents in a drone strike, or air raid we create more angry people who want revenge, or arguably justice, for those killings. We’re in their sacred land and that pisses them off too. Make no mistake, I have no sympathy for ISIS, but it’s important we understand them, their culture, their history, their motives if we want to fight them and win. Unfortunately you cannot bomb an ideology into extinction with the possible exception of mass genocide.
So what the fuck do we do? Well, I have a few ideas:
First, we should probably stop being the world’s police. We’re not good it anyway and we don’t right wrongs in foreign nations unless it directly impacts our national interest. However, in this case, we have a moral and strategic obligation to defeat ISIS.
Second, we need to study them like aliens study abductees. We need to know their hopes, dreams, and reasons for living. We must know our enemies like we know ourselves. Then, and only then, can we devise a strategy.
We already send a lot of aid money to countries all around the world. Instead of placing in the hands of corrupt regimes who keep most of it, let’s build schools. Better yet, let’s create jobs and pay locals to build their own schools, hospitals, libraries, better housing, infrastructure, etc. If we can give people in the region a better alternative than joining ISIS they’ll probably take it. They’re people just like us for the most part- there are certainly some crazies in there too I’m sure. But since most of them are regular folks we need to realize they’re joining ISIS, by and large, because they have few other options. They could resist and most likely be killed in a gruesome manor, perhaps getting their families killed in the process, or at the very least leaving them with one less member of their family. The region is filled with sectarian violence, oppressive regimes, people have lost their means of making a living as a massive drought hit Syria in the recent past compounding existing problems and eventually leading to the refugee crisis we have now. With livelihoods destroyed and no voice in their government, many have taken up arms as the best way to achieve both.
If they have jobs, secure livelihoods, representation in state matters, and most importantly a purpose, they’ll not only have no time for blowing shit it, but probably no desire to either- at least no more so than the rest of us who love watching “Mythbusters.”
This is obviously a massive, intricate undertaking and would probably require boots on the ground for a while, be it UN, or a coalition. You can’t build a new school if terrorist armies can just roll up, kill everyone, and destroy all progress you’ve made.
We spend enough money to probably fill one of the ships from “Independence Day” on war and all we’ve gotten is more violence, a new, stronger enemy, and a much less stable region. So, maybe it’s about time we try some actual nation building and not necessarily in our image. The tenets of Islam are being used to justify cruel and draconian laws, but that’s something they need to fix for themselves. Imagine Canada, Russia, or China, coming into the US and saying something like “No more eating meat. It’s cruel to animals!” Or even “No more assholes like Kim Davis are allowed in government!” They might have a point, but we wont give a shit because it’s our culture and because fuck you.
Believe me, I want to see those fucker swaying from a noose, but there’s a time and a place for violence in conflicts and this may not be one of those times.
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”
~David T. Kukulkan~