Paris, Freedom Fries and The Problem of Jihadi Recruitment.
November 16, 2015

 
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The terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday brought back memories of 9/11 for a lot of people. But for me, I was more reminded of how all this leads back to George Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq in the first place… and the fact France warned us not to do it, calling military intervention in Iraq: “the worst possible solution.” (I bookmarked a great column back in September of 2003, six months after the invasion, comparing France to a “designated driver” that tried to “take away they keys” from drunk driver Bush. Recommended reading.)

Because of their opposition to invading Iraq, Republicans lambasted the French, calling them part of “the Axis of Weasel”, noting how “WE” rescued THEM from “Hitler” but THEY wouldn’t help us “defend ourselves” from “today’s Hitler: Saddam Hussein”. One outraged Republican demanded the Capitol cafeteria rename French Fries to “Freedom Fries”, and Bush himself renamed the French Toast aboard Air Force One : “Freedom Toast” (yes, that IS every bit as childish as it sounds) because of France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq as long as inspections appeared to be working (and they were). Republicans called the French “surrender-monkeys”. France’s response: “We think that military intervention would be the worst possible solution.” And they were right.

Friday’s attack was just the latest catastrophe to come out of Bush’s reckless & unwarranted invasion of Iraq 12-1/2 years ago. To paraphrase, the definition of insanity is believing that after 14 years of war, the way to end the war is by more war. That’s just nuts… pardon my French.

If the Paris attacks confirm anything, it’s that the greatest threat to peace comes from ISIS SYMPATHIZERS more than ISIS itself. As I’ve written MANY, MANY, MANY times before, the people in these countries simply want a better life. When you bomb the areas where they live, you don’t just make martyrs out of those you kill, but you make enemies of the innocent who see their lives… their homes… their country left in ruins by foreigners dropping bombs on them… and you attract sympathizers in other countries. It’s a great recruiting tool.

President Obama said earlier this year that we had “stopped the expansion of ISIL.” But ISIL/ISIS doesn’t need to control huge swaths of land to “grow”. ISIS now “expands” via recruitment. Our goal should NOT be helping them recruit sympathizers by turning them into martyrs.

Many (most?) Republicans already talk about Muslims like they are all terrorists. Even when they don’t… qualifying their statement by saying things like “not all”… there is still that sense of having to “prove your innocence first”. They feel unwelcome even in their own country, only making it easier for groups like ISIS and alQaeda to recruit them, giving them a sense of belonging from a fellow group of outcasts. Even willing to die for their new found friends/family.

I proposed a question to all the presidential candidates last July: “How will we know when the war over there is over?” I mean, think about it. After 14 years, one thing we know is this isn’t going to end with the signing of a declaration of surrender on the Battleship Missouri. You can’t win a “war on terror” anymore than you can “win” a “war on drugs”.

So how do we end the war? Simple, by taking the wind out of their sails and crippling their ability to recruit. Invest in building schools and hospitals and roads and bridges. IMPROVE their lives. ISIS & alQaeda can’t expand if they can’t convince people to attack the people making their lives BETTER. And it’ll cost a HELL of a lot less. Eventually the radicals will become marginalized, societies will stabilize, and the war will truly be over. (Ironically, this method also works on Red-State Republicans. Just ask FDR.)

I knew when I work up Saturday morning that Republicans would find a way to blame President Obama for the Paris attacks. And sure enough, later that morning and during the Sunday shows yesterday, the Republican presidential candidates were already blaming the president’s “weak foreign policy” for the tragedy. Now let’s be clear, these are the same Republicans who just last month were praising Vladamir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, only to see one of Russia’s passenger jets blown out of the sky with over 200 civilian passengers on board.

By Sunday morning, I added the Syrian refugees to that list of people the Right Wing wack-a-doodles would blame for the Paris attacks, and indeed, all the major network Sunday shows asked their guests what impact the Paris bombings would/should have on any decision to allow Syrian refugees into our country. Germany allowed in FAR more refugees than France, so why France? Russia is tough on ISIS and they are brutally attacked. France is far less involved and gets attacked too. So just whose “foreign policy” do Republicans think we should mimic to stay safe?

Speaking of which, what exactly do the Syrian Refugees have to do with the Paris attacks? Well, apparently, a passport was found belonging to one of the suicide bombers, revealing they were from Syria and had traveled through Greece (one of the lead destinations of the Syrian refugees.) Now, I’m not sure why a refugee would even HAVE a passport. It’s not like they entered the country through a checkpoint. It would be as if a Mexican immigrant was caught illegally crossing the border with a perfectly good passport in their back pocket. It makes no sense. Greece doesn’t issue Syrian passports, so why is anyone assuming this one terrorist was a refugee?

Two other bombers were identified as “French nationals” [ibid]. Evidence that they’ve even been to Iraq/Syria is sketchy at best, yet here they are killing Parisians in the name of ISIS. THAT is “expansion through recruitment” and is also why sending troops into Syria isn’t going to solve anything. I’m reminded of the old joke of the man searching for a lost quarter under a street light nowhere near where he dropped it only because “the light is better over here.” Bombing ISIS in Syria because of the actions of sympathizers in France is no less stupid.

Donald Trump said last January following the “Charley Hebdo” attack… and repeated last Saturday… that it somehow “is no coincidence” that ISIS would attack a country with “some of the strictest gun laws in all of Europe”. We’ve heard this before. It’s the: “mass murderers target gun-free zones” & “if only they had allowed guns in movie theaters” nonsense all over again. And I find myself wondering what his point is here. If France had the same lax gun laws as the U.S., France could enjoy 30,000 deaths a year instead of just 150? WTF are you talking about, Donald???

During the GOP debates last Saturday night, only Senator Sanders advocated for LESS U.S. military involvement in Syria… though not going as far as my “infrastructure-based” solution to ending the war… instead proposing to shift more of the burden onto those most directly affected by all this chaos in the Middle-East: The Middle-East itself.

As for the rest: Why on Earth would we elect anyone that thinks the way to end 14 years of war in the Middle East is thru more war?
 

MLK: Darkness can't fix Darkness

 


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November 16, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Infrastructure, Middle East, myth busting, National Security, Right-Wing Insanity, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War