Before I go and do another news chum post to start clearing the links, a few thoughts that hit me over lunch while I was reading the news and seeing all the articles about how bombing Daesh is the answer to the terrorism (why do I use Daesh? Read this).
Simply put, the notion that we can bomb Daesh off the map and have the terrorism stop is so World War II. It comes from a mentality of nation states waging war, and more importantly, nation states that can stop the war when they surrender and admit defeat. We really haven’t had a war like that since World War II or the Korean Conflict, and perhaps Vietnam.
It is clearly not the case in the “War on Terrorism”. Terrorism is distributed, with cells throughout the world. We saw this after 9/11. You clean up one area, and the problem moves to another. You get rid of one acknowledged leader (Osama Bin Laden), and another pops up.
Suppose — just suppose — that we carpetbombed Daesh out of Iraq and Syria. Sheet of glass, however you want to do it. Conventional. Nuclear. Would that stop the terrorism threat from Daesh?
Nope. They’ve got sympathizers around the world. New leaders will pop up. New cells will vow revenge. There will be retaliatory attacks and the problem will go on.
There are those who will say the problem is Islam. It isn’t. Most Muslims are peace loving. The problem is fundamentalism, and fundamentalism combined with (to put it bluntly) brain-washing. Militant fundamentalism is a problem whether it is Islam militant fundamentalists from Daesh, Christian militant fundamentalists in America (or on the crusades), or Jewish militant fundamentalists in the occupied territories.
So how do we address this problem. First, we think about how to do it right. Simple retaliatory strikes are not the answer; in fact, it may aggravate the situation. Strikes that speak the language they understand would help (read “From Beirut to Jerusalem” to understand what I’m saying). Strikes that don’t walk into the PR game they are playing would also help. Everytime we do a carpetbombing strike and kill civilians as collateral damage, we give Daesh ammunition to recruit. Weeding out militant fundamental throughout the world would be a good start.
I think the real answer is to see this is a long game. Militant fundamentalism often arises out of class struggle; rarely do you see the militant fundamentalists being part of the 1%; instead, they are near the bottom of the 99%. If we can raise the standard of living, improve education, improve critical thinking, empower men and women (especially) to excel; if we can make it so that no one needs to fight for the underclass because there is no underclass — then we can create a world where the terrorism is no longer needed.
Now to go write the news chum.