The cowardly and pathetic terrorist attacks Friday in Paris have once again shocked the modern world. How can young men still in their prime carry out mass shootings and bombings where their own lives are certain to be lost too. Why suicide attacks? Why attacks at all?
In all societies there are mentally deranged people who for a wide range of reasons undertake unprovoked acts of murder and mayhem. These mass killings also end up with the “whys”. Why did he/she do it? Why that victim? What was there to gain? The Paris attacks raise similar questions but the first “why did they do it” is much less uncertain.
Radical Islamic terrorist are responding to attempts to rebuild a caliphate and the Western world has a habit of throwing obstacles in their way. This is like theater of the absurd. A Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS, or what ever group follows seek first and foremost economic power for its leadership group. Surprise, surprise, this is about money first.
As in all ancient societies, in the new Caliphate, the average person’s task is to work and contribute money to the leadership group. To help induce the average person to contribute, these radical Islamic groups serve up a brew of harsh, repressive Islam which still promises a great day in “Paradise”, with earthly reminders (like dismemberment, caning, and stoning). This mix is intended to emphaize that the Caliphate is the right way.
ISIS is the current top dog in terrorism. Its message falls upon receptive ears around the world wheres some local Muslims find their lot in life less than their neighbors. For reasons unknown, some of these Muslims find ISIS’ message convincing and sign up to “drink the cool aide”. Hence, the West gets “home grown” terrorists.
For the American press, the Paris attacks is another gratuitous event where there is suddenly a large audience awaiting reports on the details. The Paris attacks represents a double win for the press since both Presidential primary races have gone flat with little of interest emanating from the candidates. A little rest from the Trump’s, Bush’s, Clinton’s and Sanders’ would be welcome by readers.
Ah, but not so fast.
The candidates have little sensible to say about fixing the American economy, couldn’t the bluster about what they might do to eradicate ISIS?
Two of the best in terms of beating dead horses, Lindsay Graham and John McCain are making the TV rounds rattling their sabers.
Graham and McCain are still unapologetic about championing the Iraq invasion and occupation made famous by George W Bush. The world, according to these two, is better off today without Saddam Hussein.
On Monday’s talk shows, Graham and McCain have recommended that President Obama should recall former General David Petraeus and ask him to lead our efforts to defeat ISIS. Hmmm.
The lesson which every school child should be taught is that in the event of war, strange and unexpected outcomes usually happen. Hussein was a dangerous dictator surviving in a dangerous area of the world. He used by necessity cruel methods to maintain power but his victims lay within Iraq. Hussein’s removal, like the proverbial genie once the cork was removed, unleashed all sorts of unexpected (but predictable) consequences.
General Petraeus recommended the “surge” which increased the US troop count by 20,000 at a time when the occupation was going poorly. Soon, however, the level of fighting subsided and the Administration once again declared “mission accomplished”. Time has shown that simultaneous with the increased troop level, large payments were being made to Sunni militias who suddenly stopped creating problems. Hmmm.
Stabilizing the Middle East will not be resolved with a silver bullet. Peace will require a comprehensive plan and will take time. What peace efforts do not need is cheap political talk from former “Iraq Invasion and Occupation” apologists.