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Are we enabling terrorism?

February 4, 2015

When does passivity and tolerance become complicity and enablement?

Much is being made of President Obama’s reluctance to identify the bad actors in the Middle East as Islamic terrorists. Defining them as an “organization” with a “bankrupt ideology” sounds like a campaign speech denouncing big banks.

In the words of a former Secretary of State “What, at this point, does it matter?”

It matters because it affects our ability to deal with them.

For instance, the acronym ISIL isn’t just a catchy term. We can look at a map and understand the size of Iraq. Understanding the geographical size of the original Levant region gives the interested a chilling look at the size of the region and the modern countries the group aspires to dominate.  Depending on the point of reference, the roughly kidney-shaped area comprises from 28,000 to 40,000 square miles.

To put that in perspective, it equates to the states of Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and two thirds of New Hampshire, or virtually the entire northeast United States. Getting along with your neighbors is a good goal, but if part of the population of seven states wants to kill you, it becomes difficult.

Frankly, we could call these psychopathic seventh century throwbacks anything, if our intent to destroy them was clear, unequivocal and effective. It isn’t, and the reason might be our overly tolerant view of them.

It has not been exactly a secret that the current President seems to visibly practice a sort of apologist passive isolationism. At least to some observers, he apparently doesn’t see the need or justification for war. The world should be one big happy place.

All politicians are controlled to a greater or lesser extent by public opinion. Some actively resist it while others pander to it at every turn.

Maybe this ambivalence toward terrorism is our fault. After all, the guy did run and win on a platform of getting us out of wars. Not winning them, just getting us out of them. At least for a moment in time, he seemed to be to doing exactly what the people that elected him wanted him to do. Maybe he still is.

In fairness, his insistence on a buy-in and even leadership from the Middle East countries isn’t necessarily a bad thing in theory. After all, the Islamic terrorist movement didn’t originate in Queens, NY.

It is both insulting and unreasonable for countries who take handouts at our back door while peeing on our front door to expect the U.S. to defeat the worldwide threat of terrorism singlehandedly.

It is equally unreasonable to expect that the largest democracy in the world shouldn’t participate in recognizing, opposing and defeating those who would destroy that world.

In a world where the horror that is war is now available in graphic visual detail almost instantly, it still is very difficult for most people to transfer that horror to themselves. Even seasoned war correspondents have commented that the video detailing the incineration of the Jordanian pilot has the feel of a slickly produced video game.

It’s not a game. It’s a blueprint. These jihadists would visit that fate on every person in the world if they could, and their goal is to be able to do just that.

The world, and particularly the U.S. has long confused tolerance with strength. In most parts of the world what we call tolerance is simply seen as capitulation at its best and cowardice at its worst.

In our zealous pursuit of fairness and equality, we seem to have lost sight of reason and justice.

However painful the reality is, there are some ideologies and the people who promote them that simply cannot be allowed to exist.

The people who would like to effectively annihilate us are not proclaiming allegiance to or inspiration from Jesus or Jehovah or Buddha. They are not creating videos praising Catholicism, Judaism or the works of Martin Luther.

What deity will reward these terrorists is not the question. The question is can we destroy them before they destroy us.

It is important to attach a label to what is happening because until we do, we cannot strategize against it.

Perhaps the Muslim world can come up with a properly descriptive term for them. Until such time as they do, calling them Islamic terrorists is the best we seem to have in our lexicon.

From → op-ed

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