Once again, Americans are shaking their heads, listening to the stories put out in the media, and wondering how come the Arabs are such monsters. They do not understand how people can act in this way. Or rather, they do not want to understand.
Its quite simple. People are people, all the world over, and generally act in just the same way. The only thing that is different is the perspective.
If an American joins up to fight for his country, he is a hero, defending the motherland. If an Iraqi joins an army to fight for his country, he is a terrorist, hell-bent on murdering innocent Americans who just came to spread democracy on the country.
ISIS is currently the monster-du-jour, because they are fighting to found a state based on their religious ideals: submission before Almighty God, the elimination of perversion, and the imposing of these views on dissenters, heretics and atheists. Sound familiar? This course of action was common throughout pretty much all of Western History. Its not that long ago – hundreds of years, not thousands – that we burned atheists to death. Then came the Enlightenment, improved notions of justice, the right to free speech, and finally we just jailed blasphemers and excluded them socially. Maybe threw rocks in threw their windows. Finally, about 50 years ago, we abolished the laws against Blasphemy and Witchcraft, and today, we content ourselves with denying gays the right to marry, and simply treat gays and atheists with social exclusion. There are of course millions who would overturn this progress, those who thunder that “this country was founded on JudeoChristian principles” (it wasn’t – it was founded on Enlightenment ideals) and go back to “One Nation under Allah” -er, God.
ISIS are basically just the same as these people; they believe that the state should be run on religious principles, and that religious freedom and atheism should be outlawed.
Oh, but they cut people’s heads off, I hear you cry. Thats true, we merely flush Korans down toilets, bomb weddings from 20,000 feet, torture prisoners, and pile them naked in pyramids, tying wires to their genitals and hooking them up to the mains.
Oh but that’s an exception, you cry. But so are the extremists in ISIS (99% of whom do not cut people’s heads off). The big difference is that our soldiers usually have a better chain of command that prevents atrocities. Usually; but often, this does not prevent barbaric action, the few incidents we actually get to hear about that are not covered up.
My story here is not that we are just as bad as ISIS and all the rest. We are, given the circumstances, but that’s not the point. (If ISIS had the resources of the US military, they would be rolling tank columns and using predator drones, not machetes).
The point is that it is very easy to understand ISIS.
Just imagine what we would do if our country were invaded by Muslims like Iraq was invaded by Christians. Do you think that we too might join a Christian resistance, using all means at our disposal to drive out the invader and “take our country back”?
Of course, this does not mean that ISIS can be tolerated; this explains how they originated, why they became radicalized, and why they cut people’s heads off. It shows that invading Iraq because we felt like it was a very bad idea with predictably bad consequences. It tells us what NOT to do in future.
We took a stick and shoved it into a hornet’s nest. Hornets are peaceable enough until you stick a stick into their nest.
Now, however, the hornets are buzzing around, stinging everything in sight, and something has to be done about it. My suggestion would be to let them have Western (Sunni) Iraq, let the Kurds set up an independent Kurdistan to the North (and guarantee its protection against all enemies, including Turkey), let the Shiites in the south form their own state or join with Iran,
and then build a strong wall around the Sunni ISIS “Caliphate”. Take their tanks and artillery away, do not sell any more weapons to them (in fact, not selling spare parts will be enough because the desert isn’t kind on military equipment), set up laser security systems to guard the borders, and shoot anything that crosses except at approved crossings to kingdom come.
Within this Caliphate, ISIS would be free to regress to whatever century they prefer; like the Amish, we will protect their right to live as their God intended. But they would not be permitted to export their hatred anywhere else. Similarly, there would be no commerce with the rest of the world. No air travel, no land travel, nothing. Shut them up in their religious utopia.
Maybe in 20 years we can review their progress and see if they are allowed to rejoin the world.
Personally, I would give one-way plane tickets to radical Christians to go fight them in the desert, kill two extremists with one stone, but I guess thats not realistic.
In short, give ISIS what they want; a medieval world where they can live, unencumbered by science and technology.
Just make sure they don’t get out and annoy others.