How not to fight the problem of ISIS
If, in fact, you believe that Marie Harf was winging it and stating her own opinion about Islamic extremists (oh, wait, “frustrated job seekers”) needing jobs, etc., get a load of Sec. of State John Kerry:
“Why do people make what to many of us would seem to be an utterly wrongheaded choice and become the kind of terrorists that we’re seeing?” he asked. “It’s a question that we need to approach with humility, but also with determination, because you cannot defeat what you don’t understand.”
“Certainly, there is no single answer,” Kerry continued. “In our era, poisonous ideas can come from almost anywhere – from parents, teachers, friends, preachers, politicians – from the pretty woman on a radical website who lures people or the man in the next cell who proselytizes while in prison.
“They might grow from pictures seen on the nightly news or from acts of discrimination or repression that you don’t think much about on the day of occurrence, but which come back to haunt. It could come from the desire to avenge the death of a loved one,” he said.
“In some cases, they may come from a lost job or from the contrast between one family’s empty dinner plate and a fancy restaurant’s lavish menu. The poison might even come from within, in the form of rebellion against anonymity, the desire to belong to a group, people who want a moment of visibility and identity, or the hunger for black-and-white answers to problems that are very complex in a remarkably more complicated world.”
In general, he has a point. Depending on the problem, people are motivated by all sorts of things to become part of that problem. And it makes sense to remove that motivation. Figuring that out is how you put a strategy to defeat the problem.
Specifically, however, it isn’t at all hard to figure out what motivates ISIS and THAT is the problem we face today.
The motivator? Islam. The “holy texts”. The desire for the Caliphate set up under precise rules set out by Islam’s founder. That is why they fight. That’s why they do what they do.
Sometimes you just have to apply Occam’s razor for heaven sake.
So, to recap: what motivates those who proclaim ISIS and the Caliphate is their religion. That’s it. How they were “radicalized” is less important than the fact that they were and are now a threat. And understanding what motivates that threat is how you put together a strategy to defeat them.
Instead we get this institutional load of liberal angst that, for the most part, is nonsense. Why can’t they bring themselves to face and name the problem? They don’t have any problem in identifying “right-wing domestic terrorists” Why not religious terrorists?
As I said, it certainly makes sense to remove the “underlying cause” of the problem … if that’s possible. But if we think we can somehow be a credible force in doing that, we’re wrong. We – the US, Europe, the West – aren’t in any position to do that since we are identified as the enemy of everything they hold dear. More importantly, it has nothing to do with jobs or dinner plates. It is a religious movement.
So when you finally realize that attacking the “underlying causes” of something like ISIS is a fool’s errand, what should you do?
Well, this will be unpalatable to some out there who have been raised in the “precious princess” society we’ve enabled, but you have to “go medieval” on them. You have to obliterate them. You have to make it not worth pursuing their fantasy and something that those who might choose it decide to reject.
Jobs won’t do that. Dropping packages of money on them won’t do that. They have the job they want and they’re the richest terror organization going.
What we have to do is systematically and completely destroy them – root and branch – by using everything reasonable at our disposal. Now, I understand that’s sort of difficult with a religious death cult, but I’d bet, once the reversals started and the ISIS death toll rose, the marginal jihadis would think twice about joining up. Right now, there’s little downside.
Bottom line? If you want to stop the “pretty woman on the radical website” from having an impact, destroy her story so thoroughly that she can’t spin her web of lies credibly anymore – and then take down her freakin’ website.
But as long as we try to avoid naming the problem and take half-measures while wringing our hands like a bunch of old women, the problem will both persist and get worse.
And trying to lay the load of “nuanced” crap Kerry pushed out there on the problem of ISIS avoids naming the problem and thus identifying a workable strategy which certainly guarantees it will persist.
Anyone who is surprised by that simply hasn’t been paying attention. After all, look who is in charge.