Violence, Vengence and Retribution Serve No One

ISIS burned a Jordanian pilot alive, claiming its actions are justified by the pilot having flown missions for Jordan in which Syrian civilians, including children, were killed. It views the brutal murder as justified, under the Islamic equivalent of "an eye for an eye."

IS believes in a principle known as "qisas" which, in its broadest terms, is the law of equal retaliation. Put another way, it is the Islamic equivalent of "lex talionis", or the doctrine of an eye for an eye. Within Islamic law qisas typically relates to cases of murder, manslaughter, or acts involving physical mutilation (such as the loss of limbs) and creates a framework for victims (or their families) to seek retributive justice.


As a pilot fighting with the Western coalition, Lt Kasasbeh would have been associated with dropping incendiary bombs - so burning could be seen by them as appropriate retaliation.

Jordan responded with violence, executing two al Qaida prisoners who had been sentenced to death. The prisoners were not members of ISIS.

The U.S. issued a statement of support for Jordan. Islamic religious leaders denounced the burning of the pilot, and called for crucifying and cutting off the limbs of the perpetrators:

In Cairo, the head of Sunni Islam’s most respected center of learning, al-Azhar, said the Islamic State militants merit punishments under Islamic law such as “killing, crucifixion or chopping of the limbs.”.

Every reaction seems to be one endorsing a violent response. No one seems to be talking about the identity of the ISIS members who participated in the capture of the pilot, his torture, or setting him on fire.

There are videos and photos in which enough of their faces and body shapes are visible to allow for identification. Here's the fighter who lit the fire with a torch:

Some accomplices:

Just as no real effort seems to have been made to apprehend "Jihadi John", or those who participated in the mass killings of Syrian soldiers and Syrian pilots, or even the English speaking killer at Division 93.

The coalition countries are playing right into ISIS' grand plan. ISIS welcomes war and attacks. Dying for Allah is their greatest honor and a privilege. The violence fuels recruitment efforts, enabling ISIS to easily replace the fighters they lose through "Shahada."

The militants' posters advertise:

I've never seen an ISIS poster with this message:

Jordan's execution of two prisoners who had nothing to do with any of ISIS' atrocities served no purpose, other than to show it is as capable of resorting to senseless violence as ISIS. Not a single ISIS fighter or recruit will be deterred by Jordan's actions. As for its threat of increased air strikes against ISIS strongholds, ISIS will just say "Bring it On."

Why isn't it enough for those who participated in the pilot's murder and similar acts of atrocity to be brought to justice? If more militants were captured (rather than killed on the battlefield) and put on trial, they would likely be given life sentences for brutal murders. An 18 year old considering joining a militant group may be willing to die for Allah, but unwilling to risk spending decades in prison. If the Coalition captured, tried and imprisoned the Jihadi Johns, pilot executioners, mass killers of Syrian soldiers and tribe members, the recruits would know that fate is a real possibility. By focusing only on wiping out ISIS as a whole, would- be recruits have no reason to think about that prospect. It's about as likely as being hit by lightening.

ISIS has good reason to believe it can act with impunity. Despite all the intelligence and military power being used against it by a coalition that now includes dozens of countries, not one of its publicized mass murderers has been arrested and jailed. The West and its coalition forces appear completely ineffective in this regard -- not only have their rescue missions failed, they can't even find and apprehend mass killers who show half their faces in videos and photographs while committing brutal acts of murder.

More airstrikes and more military aid will not defeat ISIS, al Qaida or any other militant group. It will take decades to reverse the spread of their "ideology." Simple justice, on the other hand -- arrest, trial and lengthy prison terms for those who are convicted -- could have a deterrent effect on recruiting. Without the ability to replenish dead fighters, ISIS could well peter out or be weakened enough to be taken over by rivals, none of whom come close to ISIS as a global threat.

War in the Middle East is endless and likely to fail. Instead of taking ISIS' bait and sinking to its level of barbarity, Jordan and other countries whose citizens have been murdered while being held hostage should change their focus and try something different -- like capturing killers like Jihadi John, whose faces, masked and unmasked, have become as familiar to anyone with internet access as Osama bin Laden. A monk on a mountain top in Peru today would recognize Jihadi John.

Dead, Jihadi John serves no purpose beyond retribution There's no deterrent value in killing him, he will just become a martyr. Arrested and imprisoned for life in a U.S. federal or foreign prison, he can be used to send a deterrent message to fighters and recruits. Capturing and bringing his accomplices, and the accomplices in the pilot's murder, to justice may resonate even more with recruits, as they would realize before leaving their home countries this might well be their fate if they sign up with ISIS.

It's been 6 months since Jihadi John killed James Foley. ISIS' violence and brutality have increased dramatically since then. Our airstrikes have not made a significant dent. The borders are still open to recruits. Jordan's revenge killings are not much different than ISIS killings. Initiating World War III will just leave millions of casualties, mostly innocent civilians. It's time to try something different, something that befits a civilized world rather than the brutal world of ISIS, like bringing the individuals who participate in the murder of civilians and mass killings to justice in civilian courts of law.

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    Impractical solution.  There is not a police/military force that could arrest the leaders of IS without massive loss of life, and I don't think it likely that they could be taken alive. Having a court issue a summons or an indictment does not seem a real-world solution. Arrest and trial is a blessing of civilization.  Right now that region is in a state of war.

    You mention several times recruiting of new IS members- I think the main requiting tool that they have is the appeal of the savage mind and a savage theology.  Putting them in jail would not deter new members. Did the British jailing IRA killers drain support for Irish independence? Did the  USA jailing of extremists at Gitmo hamper recruitment?

    I would claim horse-shiite that the burning of the pilot has any type of justification under any rules of war or religion or law. (I know the claim was not made by you)  How could this murder have any relation to `qisas or lex talionis when IS has been killing journalists, aid workers, Christians, Kurds, gays, and girls who objected to being raped. None of those victims were a threat to IS, or had harmed IS first, or could have their killings justified under qisas or eye for an eye.

    There are three proven terror fighting techniques:  Kill them, Capture them, or Convince them to give up violence.  I think that the first method is more effective and practical.   I freely admit the paradox of using violence to stop more violence.

    I'm afraid I'm starting to agree with (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:07:54 AM EST
    most of that.  I'm sad to say.  

    Very well said (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:15:33 AM EST
    And that's sad.

    But there is no other way. And the sooner we start the fewer innocent people will be killed.


    The problem is (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 06:33:04 AM EST
    you can't kill an idea by killing those adherents you can seek out and find. What you can do, is kill a lot of innocent people in the process, as we did in Iraq, and creat new enemies Out of their family and friends.

    The idea that you can kill your way to peace against non-state actors in a war on terrorism is a dream of fools and sadists.  


    Your logic is false (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:33:52 AM EST
    as was shown in WWII.

    We killed thousands of innocent people along with the bad guys.

    Eventually we killed enough to win.

    Sad? Yes.

    Same applies for asymmetrical warfare.

    It is especially difficult when people in the country trying to eliminate the "non-state actors" are divided.

    BTW - "non-state actors?"  Really?? Can't you write "radical islamists?"


    Non state actors (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 12:45:33 AM EST
    is quite appropriate and descriptive given the discussion.

    The German High Command and the Emperor surrendered.   These state actors surrendered....

    With terrorists, it is not the same thing.

    Your approach makes an enemy of all Muslims...a holy war against a billion people.  Talk about going backwards..


    Jail will not deter them (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:41:11 AM EST
    I agree that the eye for an eye approach that the Jordanians are taking is pointless. As pointless as many of the actions we the US have taken since we invaded Iraq in 2003.

    I was a supporter of the spreading of the democracy movement started by GW Bush and company.  But the more I read and study the religion of Islam and read and study about the development of the middle east the more I realize what a futile and wasted effort all of that was. Even if the people of that region wanted as a group what we were selling (which they don't) doing so at the barrel of a gun just made the impossible that much harder.

    Now we are again facing trouble in that region but this time we should know that it is not an enemy we're fighting but the ideology of a Radical Islam.   This ideology has a simple goal. For everyone in the world to be Muslim and to live under their version of sharia law. They will get to this goal by any means necessary.

    What worries me is that the moderate Islamic world is waiting for someone else to fix their problem. In addition I don't feel we understand how many in the Islamic world are truly against everything ISIS stands for.

    Unfortunately I think the only way to defeat the present day threat is by wiping ISIS from the map. But this will do nothing to stop the long term problem which is that Islam has an issue with Radical Islam that only they can solve.

    We should be putting more pressure on moderate Islamic states to bring more rights to women, religious minorities, and homosexuals. Until we are willing to address the sins of our allies who we call moderates then we will do nothing to stop the spread of the more radical ideology.

    In the short term The local Islamic states that are against ISIS must defeat them militarily. We can help, we can advise, but we will not be putting our troops on the ground to fight their religious war. Obama should start talking about it in those terms instead of the way he does now.

    IMO (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:55:45 AM EST
    the most encouraging thing is that you are for the first time, afaik, hearing a real large scale rejection of the idea the represent Islam.  Many political and religious leaders have come out since the video saying this is not Islam.

    I read that the method of death, burning, is part of it.  Oddly if they had just cut off his head there would have been much less response.  So their tactics may end up being their downfall.


    You say... (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:05:26 AM EST
    I agree that the eye for an eye approach that the Jordanians are taking is pointless.

    They say...

    "(King Abdullah) cut short his previously unannounced trip to Washington after a quick meeting with President Obama, who expressed strong support for Jordan...

    On the other hand,

    The White House press Secretary said:

    "The United States stands with our friends in Jordan as they confront this awful, barbaric act. But as it relates to the decisions that are carried by the Jordanian justice system, I'd refer you to them. I just don't have the working knowledge of the Jordanian justice system to render an opinion on this."

    Between your comment, the statement of "support", and the "I dunno" by the Press Secretary, I'll go with your comment.


    First (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:13:02 AM EST
    why wouldn't the president support Jordan?  Second it would be a bit hypocritical for the SoS to start chiding other countries for executing people wouldn't it?

    It wasn't (none / 0) (#17)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 11:02:06 AM EST
    our wooden Secretary of State who issued that I don't know nuttin' answer. It was the President's Press Secretary... whoever he is.

    Why wouldn't the president support Jordan, you ask?

    What does "supporting Jordan" mean, exactly?
    That King is A-OK? A swell guy?

    "Women in Jordan continue to be denied equal nationality and citizenship rights with men. Women also face gender-based discrimination in Jordan's family laws and in provision of government pensions and social security benefits. Violence against women remains a serious problem in Jordan, and protection mechanisms for women victims of violence are inadequate."
    Oh well, nobody's perfect...???

    And, more to the point, does Mr. Obama have anything to say about the retaliatory executions?

    Saying that he "supports Jordan" doesn't tell me anything - except that he is schmoozing a member of the American-led "coalition" that he wishes to make us believe actually exists.

    In my opinion, of course.


    Jordan (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 11:57:06 AM EST
    is about as close as you are going to get to a moderate Islamic country.  Precisely why they are being targeted by these lunatics.   If you point is we should abandon them to their fate because they do not fully embrace what you consider western values my opinion would be that is a tragically naive and misguided path.

    We... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 01:18:26 PM EST
    "abandon" them?

    Personally, the description of a country that is "as close as you are going to get a a moderate Islamic country" is not quite what I want our soldiers dying for, and our severely limited resources diverted to.

    Also, personally, I can't consider the marginalization of women to be something I could describe, to paraphrase what you wrote above, as "not fully embracing what I consider to be a western value." Human rights are a universal concern.

    I think you, basically, are considering this war to be a war by the good, or not so bad, against the evil.

    It may be that, but it just looks like another power play to me.


    Slado, I agree with much of what you said (none / 0) (#16)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:41:53 AM EST
    but also have other views. The eye for eye isn't going to impact ISIS. However, Jordan's recent action does appear to be having a positive political reaction in Jordan. And, the burning incident does seem to be rallying much of the Arab world to speak out against ISIS.

    ISIS is a major problem, and it needs to be dealt with, now. While it would be great if the moderate Arab world took care of the problem, I doubt that will happen. The US and other Western countries are probably going to have to continue and increase their efforts. In order to push ISIS from even Mosul and Anbar, I think US boots on the ground may be necessary, if not in direct combat roles, in fairly significant roles on the ground. This is a choice the US may have to make. While weakening and clobbering ISIS has its problems and risks, I think that is necessary and will ultimately decrease the number of recruits, at least for ISIS.

    In the meantime, the US and Western countries need to protect themselves and are obviously stepping up efforts in that regard. That is going to result in civil liberty issues. Figuring out how to deal with and undermine some of ideology is obviously important, but that is not something that can be done in the short-term, and may also be an almost impossible task. The US and Western world can't sit back and wait/hope for that to occur.


    This is a long term ideological (none / 0) (#34)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:06:16 AM EST
    Battle similar to the battle we waste with communist government during the Cold War.

    The theology we are up against is after all 1400 years old and hasn't changed if you take it in the form that ISIS is presenting it. So thinking we can quickly discred it as you point is fools gold.


    You are assuming that "Islam" (none / 0) (#97)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 12:50:07 AM EST
    per se supports terrorism.  There are millions of Muslims who would disagree that Islam supports terrorism.....

    And our (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:53:37 AM EST
    president announces that, "...as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead."

    "As Americans"... all of us? Have we been asked if we want to dip into this morass - when so many of our needs are not being met... when the threat of retaliation is so glaring?

    "We"... "welcome"... Do "we", in fact, "welcome" this futile engagement? Was there a poll that I missed? Was there an opponent of this action that we could have supported in what is left of our democracy?

    Is it our "responsibility"? Why is our responsibility... Responsibility to do what exactly?

    Rudderless, we float onward into these regional conflicts.
    Republican or Democrat. They all tell us that we Americans not only are willing to sink into these pits of quicksand, but we welcome the opportunity to do so.

    An "eye for an eye"... Better known as "that old-time religion"...

    God help us.

    Miserable ROI (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 11:25:51 AM EST
    if you ask be, we have spent billions if not trillions of dollars over the decades arming our so called allies in the region and yet we cannot rely on them to stand up to this gang of thugs. Just the fact that we are once again having to even consider American "boots on the ground" speaks to the utter failure of our policies in the region. It's their region that is in trouble, it is their religion being hijacked isn't it time for them to step up to the plate.

    How would these factors impact your ROI (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 12:35:44 PM EST
    analysis? Assume the West gets passive in the region.

    ISIS or other terrorist groups gain control of all or most of Iraq's oil fields, or other countries' oil fields, and the price of oil skyrockets.

    Terrorist groups blow up major oil fields.

    Terrorist groups launch another 911-type attack in the West.

    Terrorist groups get a hold of nuclear weapons and attack Israel or some other area in the region.

    Terrorist groups blow up some dams, causing huge loss of life as well as huge economic damage. This could be in Iraq or elsewhere.

    Even withdrawing from Afghanistan may allow terrorist groups to expand and have time to plan and carry out more attacks on the West. I just don't see how the West can stand by idly. I don't see the problem going away on its own.

    Yes, it's a very difficult set of issues. But head in the sand is not an option, in my view.


    Excellent questions, Green26 (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 01:14:47 PM EST
    While myself tells me that we, as a country, need to take that collective breath and not jump pell-mell into the swirling chaos most recently epitomized by ISIL, I also consider that a strategy for our interactions in the Mideast is needed.  Not passivity; not hawkish cries of war.

    Your questions should be asked, cussed, & discussed among all the so-called cognoscenti as well as by all who have thoughts & ideas about war & peace in the 21st century.  It seems, also, that a good starting point is to take a good, hard look at what the 21st century means.  Contrary to the despair offered by some, I believe that human society has--bit by bit-- progressed. We can all create lists and give examples; and, we can then rebut our own examples with tales of horror like mass genocide in concentration camps and dropping napalm and the mutilations by ISIL. In spite of all over thousands of years, the world and humans on it survive.  And, in spite of all, we can choose to focus on the better angels and do something to help evolutionary progress.

    Talking about the 21st century and what it means in terms of global connectivity would seem to be a good reality check.  For example: Even if we choose to go the "let's ignore it" or "let's imagine the ISIL conflagration will disappear by itself," aren't we faced with an obvious downside of the world getting smaller via communication, travel, and all forms of technology?  How much isolation is possible in today's world?  Does "carrot & stick" diplomacy continue to make sense ... and, if so, what kind of incentives and disincentives make sense at this point?

    To tell you the truth, I have no idea where this all leads.  Other than expressing my strong sense that the best approach would be to balance somehow between our receding from fruitless bombastic endeavors in the Mideast and the real world call to assist those regional countries who must predominately respond to their immediate threat ... I can only say that we are back to what should be the level of "assistance?"  


    What if (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 01:15:49 PM EST
    your what ifs never went away. Like I said trillions of dollars and decades of efforts have not put any of your possible scenarios to rest. Do you think one more round of boots on the ground and another trillion dollars will make these risks go away ? What would be different this time to finally put all your fears to bed?

    FIJoe, I believe there have been far fewer (none / 0) (#32)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 11:08:57 PM EST
    major terrorist acts in the West and against Western interests, than there would have otherwise been, after the West stepped up security and offensive efforts following 911.

    Leaving Bin Ladin and others to continue to plot and plan, without intervention and pressure from the West, would have been a disaster and intolerable, in my view. While I don't know, I suspect that the spectacular success of 911 and certain other major acts were a huge recruiting benefit to Bin Laden and other terrorist groups. Military intervention by the US and the coalition has many downsides and creates issues and problems, but doing little or nothing militarily would create and has created issues and problems. Syria and ISIS are a good example of what can come from inattention and inaction.


    The lack of terrorist attacks here (none / 0) (#33)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:00:34 AM EST
    Is because of the billions we have spent to establish an intricate and quite frankly frightening supervisory state of electronic surveillance within our own country and the pursuit  and capture now assassination policy we've used over the last ten years.

    history will show that we could have done the same thing without starting  large ground wars and rebuilding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Unfortunately we didn't understand our enemy, the region and the predominant religion and thought we could bring democracy through force to people who not only didn't want it but whose  religion keeps them from being able to embrace it.  


    correct (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 06:20:38 AM EST
    Terrorism in the west is a criminal problem. The current military situation exists because we kicked over the apple cart in Iraq.

    I submit that the current situation (none / 0) (#38)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 07:14:04 AM EST
    exists because the US pulled out of Iraq prematurely and ignored what was going on in Syria. Things were significantly improved in Iraq and Al Qaeda was largely beaten when the US left Iraq.

    All Qaeda (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 08:22:49 AM EST
    did not exist in Iraq until after we invaded, once they took root there is no military solution to the problem. Things were never "improved" in Iraq, just tamped down from the maximum level of violence. Al Qaeda by now is merely a label so it can not really be beaten. Sure we could keep thousands of troops there indefinitely and continue to play referee in what essentially is a civil/sectarian war that has been brewing for centuries, but why ?

    Okay, but the US did invade Iraq. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:21:22 AM EST
    The US and future presidents have to deal with what occurred in the past. Blaming Bush and the invasion of Iraq for things occurring after that and occurring now, is not a strategy. The US has to deal with the current situation and make the best decisions it can.

    So what if Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq at the time of the invasion. It was in Iraq and elsewhere after the invasion. When the US pulled out of Iraq, that allowed Maliki to go after Sunnis and allowed Al Qaeda to regroup and ISIS to develop in Syria.

    I find it so interesting that some people continue to blame the invasion of Iraq for so many things, and seem to be unable to look forward and move forward to deal with the situation occurring at this time. Why is it so hard to look forward?


    How do we move forward (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:24:39 AM EST
    Without learning from our mistakes in the past?  

    Repeating the same mistakes (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:39:30 AM EST
    is not moving forward. You propose to ignore the lessons of the past. Your only point of historical reference is the date we left Iraq. Endless occupation by American troops the only solution you offer although it has already proven to be counter productive.

    Of course, repeating the same (none / 0) (#64)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 11:34:01 AM EST
    mistakes is not what the US should do. However, just because something has not been effective, or some think it wasn't effective, in one situation, doesn't mean it won't be effective in another situation. Also, saying that the US invasion of Iraq wasn't effective, therefore any military action in that region won't be effective, is not correct either. Not saying you said any of those things. Also, pulling out of Iraq when we did, has proven to have caused problems. I assume you don't  think that means the US should never pull out of any conflict regions?

    I don't propose not looking at the past, or lessons of the past. Of course, that should be done. What I'm saying is that refusing to look forward and just dwelling on past mistakes, or blaming Bush, is not a strategy for moving forward.

    I have not offered any solutions. I don't know what to do, other I think that the US can't be passive and needs to take action, including some military action, in the region (even Obama apparently agrees with that, as he has taken some action in the past 6 or so months).

    I have merely pointed out several things. Pulling out of Iraq, prematurely (my view), and ignoring Syria, helped allow ISIS and the current situation to develop. Pulling out of Iraq allowed Maliki to run wild against the Sunnis, and that caused some of the current problems. Not bombing immediately allowed ISIS to take Iraqi/US weapons to Syria. in my view, taking out those weapons before they got to Syria would have been a good idea. I have said I believe that more boots on the ground will be necessary to push ISIS out of important parts of Iraq and Syria. I have never advocated endless occupation.

    Multiple current and former US leaders and politicians, including Obama to some extent and Hillary Clinton, have shown that they don't believe the region can be left alone. I agree.


    I don't always agree with you on things (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:08:07 PM EST
    But I do agree that constant blogging that Iraq War should have never happened is worth zero.  I don't even know a wingnut in uniform who argues for the Iraq War anymore.  Everyone except John McCain and Mr. Graham wants it magically undone.  And that's not an option.  That isn't one of our choices.

    It is important (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:31:12 PM EST
    to never forget our mistakes. Maybe it is redundant but not useless. Americans are extremely historically challenged so we must constantly be reminded of our failures or they will soon be disappeared and probably repeated. Sorry, but anytime I hear the drumbeat for war I will point this folly early and often.

    So anytime anyone wants (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:59:57 PM EST
    To prevent genocide in the region, all you want to talk about is how the Iraq War should have never happened?  I don't find most Americans THAT historically challenged.  Just Jim

    In other words (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:15:14 PM EST
    knowing history is not the same as being cowed into timidity by it when action is needed.

    I feel like our President is (none / 0) (#83)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:20:31 PM EST
    Demonstrating how to do that.  And I'm glad it's him and not me :)  Could anything be more difficult?  I predict in another two years he'll be completely gray and not just 50/50.

    The overreach statement (none / 0) (#85)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:36:14 PM EST
    would seem to support that

    I would never rule out military (none / 0) (#87)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 03:29:42 PM EST
    but it should mostly be last option. The 13 years in Afghanistan and 8 years in Iraq should be a giant cautionary tale about the limits of American military power. Instead I hear;  "should have stayed the course in Iraq" , "we are letting" Isis do this or that, we need "boots on the ground" to "take care of Isis", "get involved in Syria" and on and on.

     Unfortunately there are plenty of Jims out there ....    


    Okay, fine, but I hope (none / 0) (#80)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:02:06 PM EST
    you don't believe the lesson is that the US should never take military or other aggressive action in the region or world again. This would be like me saying that WWI and WWII basically worked, so we should proceed with fighting world wars when presented the opportunity. I hope you don't think the US should be paralyzed by what came out of the Iraq invasion.

    If the Iraq invasion had not occurred, what do you think the region would look like now?

    Do you think Hussein would still be in power? Would the Shiites still be oppressed in Iraq, or might they have had a uprising or an assassination?

    Would the Arab Spring have occurred?

    Would anything have occurred in Egypt?

    What about Libya?

    What would Al Qaeda look like? Where would they be?

    Would ISIS or something similar not exist?

    What about Yemen, and Africa, and Indonesia?

    What would be going on in Syria? Stable?

    Or, if the US had stayed in Iraq, would ISIS have been "invented"? Would the US have reigned in Maliki, would there be less Iraqi/Sunni-generated terrorism?

    Or, if the US had intervened in Syria earlier (as H. Clinton and others believe), would Syria be a smaller problem?

    I don't want to minimize the unintended impacts of the Iraq invasion, but I just don't believe that all or most problems in that region now were caused by the Iraq invasion, or by the US.


    Cause is a tough term (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by CST on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:14:08 PM EST
    It created an extra country of instability in a place that was previously stable - whatever you want to say about Hussein, Iraq was a relatively stable country - like Saudi Arabia today for example.

    And while it's hard to say that all of those things would or wouldn't have happened had we not gone to Iraq - you also can't discount our presence there.  We did go.  So there is no way of knowing what would have happened.  But it certainly created favorable conditions for many of these things.  It wasn't the only factor, but it was certainly a factor.

    What if is not particularly relevant at this point.  But the reason people keep bringing up Iraq is because others keep suggesting that US military involvement is the way forward.  And so we bring it up as a bit of a warning.  But before Iraq, Vietnam was the warning.  And yet we still went to Iraq.  So there is a reason people keep beating this drum.  We don't want to let anyone forget.


    Maybe not endless occupation (none / 0) (#66)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:30:34 PM EST
    you are endorsing but your ideas do seem to point to an open ended one, given the nature of the beast that would simulate an endless commitment.
    Pulling out of Iraq, prematurely  
    Should we have stayed another 2 yrs, should we be there now, would another 8 years suffice ?

    ignoring Syria
    should we get involved in every civil war?

    that more boots on the ground will be necessary to push ISIS out of important parts of Iraq and Syria.
    and they will just retire to the less important areas to become goat herders ?
    Any large commitment of American military to this fight screams quagmire in both theoretical and historical terms.

    The problem is more than different views (none / 0) (#71)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:56:55 PM EST
    Green: Your writing indicates a minimization of "cause."  It is one thing to admit, grudgingly (as you seem to do) that the invasion of Iraq by 2003 precipitated the spreading instability/mess in the Mideast ... it is something else to understand full the "why" and to comprehend fully the historical "how."  IMO, the well-maybe-Bush & Co--sort-of-initiated-a-problem approach that you retreat to in response to reminders of the predictability of the unforeseen consequences of that misbegotten war in Iraq is little more than a can't-we-just-forget-about-it mindset that allows you to enter the future without learning from the international mistakes of the past.

    Here is what I believe that most Americans re-learned from the Iraq fiasco with its huge loss of our blood & treasure: Be careful with bravado, Be careful with beating the drums of war, Be careful not to fall for the false premise that warlike responses are the best/only responses, and Take care that the rush to traditional military response from us isn't foolhardy in any assumption that asymmetrical warfare in the powder-keg Mideast is winnable.  It comes down to who ya gonna punch, how ya gonna punch, and--then--be careful because, as soon as you turn around, there will be a new & larger group to hit you.  

    Look: Justifiable anger is an important survival asset.  But, your argument suggests an undifferentiated lashing out without regard to strategy, goals, purpose, effects.  Certainly, our country must remain alert ... we did learn a lot, I'd think, from the intelligence failing shortly before 9/11 when the document entitled "Osama bin Laden Determined to Attack within the US" was ignored (per reports not repudiated.)  

    But, remaining alert and focusing on the future cannot be separated from what we have learned about the failure of precipitate & ill-defined warfare.  Remember who actually presided from the WH over the final take-down of bin Laden, remember that actuality did not have all the bluster and smack-talk to announce our strength, remember the competency demonstrated in the actual necessary accomplishment.  I trust that kind of methodical approach ... I trust this President to show what genuine strength is.


    Christinet, I agree with much of what (none / 0) (#78)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:49:22 PM EST
    you said. In particular, your 2d para and the 1st sentence your last para.

    Not so sure I've minimized cause. In fact, I've stipulated a couple times on TL that I'm fine with everyone saying that Bush and the Iraq invasion caused everything, but now we need to figure out how to deal with the existing issues and the region.

    I have also said that other things and forces have contributed to the current problems, and that it's wrong to think that there wouldn't be huge and similar problems if the Iraq invasion and other Bush actions had never occurred. If people want to learn from history, and I assume everyone does, then it's important to take as objective as possible look at the totality of the history.

    I completely believe that lessons must be learned and considered from what the US did previously in the region, but I don't believe the lesson learned is that the US should never take military or aggressive action in the region.

    Don't think I have ever advocated lashing out, at least not for the US. Also, the beheadings and recent burning haven't influenced my view much. I'm fine with Jordan/Abdullah lashing out, because they are right there and Abdullah is the leader of the country.

    Yes, Obama was the president when Obama was killed. However, the operation was planned and carried out by the military, the intelligence started coming before Obama was the president, and I believe Obama's killing was more symbolic than substantive. I'm glad Obama was killed, I'm glad the Seals showed well, and I'm glad Obama authorized it and pulled the trigger.

    Do you support or oppose what the US is currently doing in Iraq and Syria? Just curious.


    In your penultimate paragraph, Green (none / 0) (#84)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:26:34 PM EST
    Revisit where you use the President's name ... you might want to correct that formally.  (Oh, and as for credit in history, the President gets the "credit" for when things go right, and the "blame" when things go wrong.  'Just the way it is; the "buck stops here" as Truman said.)

    As for support of specific responsive activities by the US today in Iraq and Syria:  Our assistance level in Iraq--the tightrope of providing limited assistance without getting ensnared into the Iraq sectors doo-loop again--seems appropriate; and, I support our response to date.  When considering Syria, I think we have all come to realize that there are more traps than the devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea.  Initially, I acknowledge my personal preference for a more muscular response in support of the "rebels" ... but, as it became apparent that what you saw there may have been a series of cave images or manipulated images--about which the several intelligence sources (and the potential allies) had no cohesive approach--I moved more toward the caution that the President displayed.  One thing we know about Syria, as time passed, is that there did not and does not appear to be a an option without a boomerang.  For that reason ... and for the reason that individuals not part of the high-level State & Defense decision-making are not privy to all the facts ... I would err on the more cautious, step-by-step, limited incursion approach that President Obama has displayed.  Some adages are very helpful: Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.  Better to build a natural coalition within the field of Mideast competing & overlapping interests; and, stay alert for when a real opportunity to make a difference presents itself.


    The disintegration of Iraq (none / 0) (#98)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 12:53:07 AM EST
    was inevitable once we pulled out....

    Iraq is a made up country in the first place....Biden's plan of a tripartite arrangement was right on the money.


    LOL. You're both wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:06:26 AM EST
    The real reason for the lack of terrorist attacks here is that Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al, placed a huge number of much more accessible targets, our armed forces, within reach.

    The electronic surveillance (none / 0) (#39)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 07:21:39 AM EST
    has probably been a significant part of protecting the US, but I think it's been more than that. The invasion of Afghanistan also disrupted  Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and put them on the run. The US and the West have stepped up their defensive measures significantly since 911.

    I just don't believe that leaving these bad parts of the world alone, and trying to protect the US and US installations/interests abroad, would work. What about the rest of the West? Doesn't seem like a long-term solution.


    the idea that this time, we'll (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 07:30:23 AM EST
    intervene efficiently and support only the good guys so that everything will come out right is a recipe for disaster.

    Perhaps, but sitting back and doing (none / 0) (#41)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 08:10:49 AM EST
    little or nothing isn't going to work either.

    Jordan is now pounding ISIS. A video of the bombing is on YouTube. Article.

    "Jordan promised in the video that it would continue the strikes against the militants "until we eliminate them."

    "members of the country's military wrote "for you, the enemies of Islam," in chalk on the missiles of various Jordanian planes."

    King Abdullah of Jordan seems to be totally irked with ISIS. He was formerly a Cobra helicopter attack pilot and commander of Jordan's special forces, and went to prep school at Deerfield.


    We had over (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 08:18:16 AM EST
    400 million dollars worth of weapons go unaccounted for in Yemen.  How many of those weapons were given/sold to ISIS forces to use against the Yemini government?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


    A lot more weapons were lost (none / 0) (#46)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:12:29 AM EST
    when the US failed to take immediate action after ISIS started advancing in Northern Iraq and eventually took Mosul. Why didn't the US take fast action to prevent some of those weapons from being transported to Syria? Article.

    Exactly my point (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:17:51 AM EST
    not to mention the money we spent on training the Iraqi Army seems to have been for naught as well.

    Could you re-state your point? (none / 0) (#51)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:24:58 AM EST
    I assume it's not that: the problems in that region are still significant, and the US military has been involved there and has supplied weapons in the past, so therefore the US military should not be involved there again and should not supply weapons?

    At the very least (none / 0) (#54)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:35:06 AM EST
    there should be robust controls on the accounting of where the arms are going, and we shouldn't expect other forces to do he fighting on our behalf.


    The concept known as the law of the instrument, Maslow's hammer, Gavel or a golden hammer[a] is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."[1]

    We clearly need more tools than the U.S. military to solve our problems back there.


    I agree with both of your points. (none / 0) (#65)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 11:36:11 AM EST
    More weapons controls/accounting. More tools.

    What good will that do? (none / 0) (#69)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:49:03 PM EST
    90% of the stuff ISIS is using was given by the U.S. to Iraq.  No amount of audit trails could have prevented its subsequent transfer to ISIS.

    Soldiers I know have gone over the lists (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:33:45 AM EST
    Of what they got, almost none of it can be used effectively without specific training and very very specific munitions loaded and fired in very specific ways.  Ever wonder why you haven't been treated to an ISIS video of them using any of this great stuff to beat anyone's arse with yet?  They must be saving it for something super special :)

    Yeah, I remember (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 01:08:02 AM EST
    when ISIS got a bunch of tanks and were driving them around....But they are sophisticated pieces of equipment.   We send our troops to Ft. Hood for months to learn the basics of tank maintenance and operation.  Let alone armor strategy and tactics.

    Just knowing how to drive a tank that is handed to them in well maintained condition does not mean they know how to effectively deploy it in combat.  The Soviets made mistakes with their armor in Afghanistan.  They sent the tanks in without infantry....and they got picked off one by one.  A protective skirt of infantry is generally advisable--as counter-intuitive as that might sound--to protect against enemy infantry maneuvering to place just the right shot.  Infantry and armor working in tandem is among the most awesome displays of raw power.  But it takes frankly an expertise the jihadists do not have.  

    Yet, so many here were panicked that ISIS was going to run a tank column through St. Louis--or least through the Middle East.


    Wikipedia on tanks and infantry (none / 0) (#100)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 01:27:50 AM EST

    The conflict between Islamic nations in the East Mediterranean region and Israel in particular would serve to become a testing ground for development in armoured warfare during the decades of the Cold War. Both sides in the Arab-Israeli series of conflicts made heavy use of tanks and other armoured vehicles. Up until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli armoured units typically had the advantage, mainly due to good tactics and unit cohesion.

    However without tanks and infantry working together, problems can arise.

    During the Yom Kippur War, Israeli tanks operating alone in large numbers were decimated by Egyptian infantry with anti-tank guided missiles. This is an extreme example but exemplifies what has been fairly thoroughly documented since the Second World War: tanks and infantry work best by taking advantage of each other's strengths and combining to minimize the weaknesses

    Heh, I wondered. I was a little concerned (none / 0) (#106)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 09, 2015 at 10:31:39 AM EST
    But I was told that it would take more than even finding experienced US soldiers to fire them.  I would need to find someone specifically trained.  There is a team effort required for just firing them, and the efforts of additional trained others assisting to fire that munition at a chosen target.

    I'm sure there are more than a few (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:55:31 AM EST
    Iraqis who received that training as part of the Iraqi Army under the tutelage of the U.S.military who shared their knowledge with ISIS trainers after defecting to them.

    And even if they can't be used by ISIS, wouldn't it have been better that they never got a hold of them in the first place?


    It takes more than one highly trained (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 10:08:23 AM EST
    Individual working as a team to even run a tank though :). It's complicated, really complicated.  You have maintenance issues too, things that have to regularly be preformed to keep it operational.  Did they even confiscate ammo for it?  Even if they manage to figure out how to fire something (which I doubt very much), the ammo they could have is limited.  I was told the very best they could hope for was to fire in a straight line at something in direct sight, even that's doubtful though.  They shipped most of that stuff to Syria too, getting farther and farther away from anyone who could have been trained and needed maintenance equipment and possible resupply of ammunition.

    That's why I said more than a few Ex-Iraqi (none / 0) (#63)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 11:25:39 AM EST
    soldiers would be needed.  Let's just hope a lot of spare parts and necessary lubricants weren't left behind as well.

    We need to remember too (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:35:39 PM EST
    One of the reasons why ISIS advanced quickly in the Sunni populated regions and gain this equipment was that all the military and police were Shia and unsupported by the Sunni population they served.  Not many Shia Iraqis are going to fight for ISIS.  And ISIS specifically murdered all the Shia in authority positions they could find.

    to a great extent (none / 0) (#70)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:55:33 PM EST
    ISIS is made up of former Sunni Iraqi military who were disenfranchised by The US and the Shia who we enabled. To think we could gloss over centuries of sectarian strife by military action is the height of neo-con hubris. No more of that please.

    I think it has all grown far beyond that now (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:00:09 PM EST
    As MT said in a post, it's probably (none / 0) (#76)
    by Green26 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:29:57 PM EST
    time to move forward from the Iraq invasion, etc. stuff. Yes, learn and be mindful of the lessons, but much time has passed and the world and region have changed significantly.

    Yes, some of the ISIS leaders are former Sunni Iraqi military leaders, but ISIS is much more than that now. There is sectarian, religious and historical strife almost everywhere in the problem areas of the world. We need to move forward and deal with it. It is just not answer to world and regional problems to keep saying general stuff like you seem to want to do.

    My son fought in Iraq several times, and still follows the region fairly closely. Yes, there was sectarian strife, but it was and is much more than that.


    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 08:39:01 AM EST
    just don't believe that leaving these bad parts of the world alone, and trying to protect the US and US installations/interests abroad, would work. What about the rest of the West? Doesn't seem like a long-term solution.

     We don't leave it alone, but our military should not be a major tool in the solution. The only "long-term" solution I have heard suggested by you is some open-ended commitment of troops to the situation.

    Israel has a lot of nukes (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 01:18:02 PM EST
    and supposedly a fantastic air force.

    If they want to stay on the receiving end of the gravy train and keep expanding the settlements, let them pitch in a little more against ISIS.


    How? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:08:43 PM EST
    By overflying Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt?

    Indeed... (none / 0) (#101)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 01:34:05 AM EST
    we spent billions if not trillions of dollars (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 11:59:33 AM EST
    Royally f*cking up a country.  We are a huge part of the reason that region is in the trouble it's in.  You break it, you bought it.

    Gotta wonder if Dubya ever thinks about that (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 12:14:06 PM EST
    (Ok; I realize there's an unwarranted premise in that statement.)

    Me?  I'm looking forward to Dubya's doggie Guernica.  On velvet with big sad doggie eyes.


    We indeed broke it and bought it (none / 0) (#23)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 12:22:45 PM EST
    but as long as we continue to "own it" it will never be fixed. It is way past time for that region to face up and fix themselves, our interventions will never be able to fix the problems even if we did cause many of them.

    Violence, (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 01:28:38 PM EST
    vengeance and retribution.

    The chicken and the egg.
    Which came first?

    To the Muslim world, as they have enunciated it, every thing they are doing - from 9/11 on - is retribution.

    And we, we are positing that every thing that we are doing is retaliation - retribution - for what they are doing.

    In this scenario - both sides are right - and both sides are wrong - and someone has to call a halt before this absurd cycle of violence results in the annihilation of everyone.

    I would send your essay to Obama (none / 0) (#2)
    by leap on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 08:35:08 AM EST
    if I thought he would read it, let alone understand it. Or to members of our feckless Congress, if I thought they could read it. You are right. This planet is getting too crowded and dimwitted for the usual violent reactions to violence, something that never works in the long run. Thank you for putting that down in words.

    My view is that one of the reasons (none / 0) (#11)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:03:49 AM EST
    Obama stood by idly for so long, while ISIS developed and took over large parts of Syria and Iraq, is because Obama does in fact believe that US and coalition involvement in wars in that area lead to more and stronger terrorist groups and more recruits for them. While that is presumably true, at least to some extent, Obama allowed that view to influence and even overwhelm other considerations. Other factors should have had more influence on his strategies and actions, in my view. The result was/is that he believed or believes in withdrawal and inaction. This, in my view, has led to bigger and developing problems in that area, for the US and the world.

    Identification (none / 0) (#3)
    by RickyJim on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:05:12 AM EST
    There are videos and photos in which enough of their faces and body shapes are visible to allow for identification.

    I have never heard of such constructions used in legal cases.  Would such "evidence" hold up in say, a US Court?  Have any pictures of what they look like when unmasked appeared online?

    I'm afraid I also agree with most of this (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:39:21 AM EST
    however, this horrific event really seems to be waking up the Islamic world.   They seem prepared finally to rise up against these people.  While it's not really our fight I do think we should help them if they are finally willing to stand up.

    I hope you are right (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 09:44:32 AM EST
    But I worry that too many in the Islamic world are only upset by the tactics and not upset enough about the ideology to do what it takes to defeat it.

    Again I hope you're right but we shall see.


    Those at a distance are outraged. (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 10:19:20 AM EST
    Those who live closer are terrified.

    that comment was deleted for (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 05:05:09 PM EST
    name calling and personal attacks on ISIS. As I've told Dadler numerous times, that vitriol has no place here.

    I wonder if any potential ISIS recruits would be (none / 0) (#22)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 12:19:03 PM EST
    influenced by reports of foreign militants being executed and beheaded when they changed their minds and decided to leave? Here's one report.

    "The paper on Thursday cited an unnamed Kurdish security official as saying that a Chinese man was "arrested, tried and shot dead" in Syria in late September by the Islamic State after he became disillusioned with jihad and attempted to return to Turkey to attend university."

    "Another two Chinese militants were beheaded in late December in Iraq, along with 11 others from six countries. The Islamic State charged them with treason and accused them of trying to escape,"

    Violence serves no one! Since when? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Feb 05, 2015 at 07:59:02 PM EST

    Violence put paid to Nazi Germany.

    BTW, the video of the burning of the Jordanian pilot serves ISIS's recruiting purposes. Think about that for a minute or two.

    National Prayer Breakfast (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 06:22:26 AM EST
    The remarks by the president once again show how little he understands what we're up against.

    He will not even call radical Islam by name but he will let everyone know that the entire religion of Christianity committed horrible crimes a thousand years ago.   What is his point exactly?

    Why wouldn't he say that Islam like Christianity before it is now suffering through a stage of inter turmoil that has to be solved by Islam?  Why wouldn't he meet with activist trying to reform iIslam  from within?  

    Because that would take leadership so it's easier just to play the crusades card and move on.

    Pretty disappointing.   It's times like these that I am reminded  we elected a professor not a leader.

    First of all, alienating Islam (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:24:56 AM EST
    When they are beginning to face the extremism is not what I want, and is not productive in any fashion...will not end the violence.  If this is a problem within Islam, it was always going to take ISIS doing something too horrific to Muslims to be the beginning of the end of ISIS.

    perfect is the enemy of good (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by CST on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 11:19:43 AM EST
    On this.

    We cannot remake the middle-east in our image.  We need to support the people who are being harmed by, and have the ability to defeat ISIS.  Those people are Muslims.


    I'm just tired of him (none / 0) (#58)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 10:39:14 AM EST
    And others dancing around reality when it's pypise is meaningless.  

    They're goals are clear and they repeat them over and over if we would only listen.  Coddling moderate Islam in my opinion doesn't do any good. It only alleviate some of the pressure that should be feeling.

    This forum was neither the time nor place to address this issue. Especially since IMHO he doesn't really understand what we're fighting he should save the lectures for the speaking circuit he'll be on in 2017.


    But Islam is not being coddled Slado (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 10:56:23 AM EST
    Islam is hurting right now.  That is Islam will seek solutions.

    In spite of Liberals lamenting that we are up to our necks in fighting ISIS, we are not.  And in spite of Conservatives lamenting that Obama has no strategy and isn't doing enough..not true either.

    He has been slow to save anyone from ISIS, and appropriately so because this is about extremism and other countries in the region using extremism to wage proxy wars.

    If we jump right in the middle of it, it distorts the social issues, masks the proxy wars too.  We can prevent genocide when able, but we cannot solve the extremism proxy war and we can't fight in it either.


    slado: MT states is well (none / 0) (#75)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:25:39 PM EST
    I can tend toward impatience about a number of things too ... but, impatience can foul up systematic responses in complicated areas.  The Mideast is nothing if not complicated.

    International problem solving and international crises resolution can become all the more complicated when religion is a stated element.  If the President of the US--any president--focused primarily on the religious aspect, as opposed to addressing the terrorism that is occurring, we would quickly feel extensive and widespread anger from throughout the globe as well as from the major religious communities.  To give vent to why-don't-Islamic-leaders-rein in-their-subjects might let off some steam here, but we would scald ourselves from our momentary outburst.  You know that.

    What I heard from President Obama's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast was a statesman-like approach to building co-operation among prominent adherents of various religions AND a firm, direct condemnation of ISIS as a perversion of all that is spiritual.  The President specifically called on Islamic leaders and others to renounce/reject the use of God's name and religious to spread murder & mayhem as a perversion of Islam and any faith.  Take a look at what was actually said ... it is strong, courageous, straightforward ... and the venue is a near-perfect place to make such a public & publicized statement.  

    Peace to you, Slado.


    What speach are you talking about? (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jim in St Louis on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:43:34 PM EST
     You stated that the President made these three points:

    • a statesman-like approach to building co-operation among prominent adherents of various religions

    • a firm, direct condemnation of ISIS as a perversion of all that is spiritual

    • specifically called on Islamic leaders and others to renounce/reject the use of God's name and religious to spread murder & mayhem as a perversion of Islam and any faith.

    Nowhere does he mention cooperation among religions. You made that up.

    Nowhere does he specifically call on Islamic leaders.  If he had that would be a headline making moment. He does say at one point: "And so, as people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion -- any religion --for their own nihilistic ends."   So again you are making up stuff. Since this is about as general (as the opposite of specific) as you can get.

    He does call ISIL a few names- but what else would you expect?  You feel that condemning the live burning of a prisoner is 'strong and courageous?'  EVERYONE condemns ISIS and their actions. How is that brave or courageous?

    Here is the link- read it again and please post the relevant parts of his speech to prove me wrong.  Cause I think you are the one who did not actually read the speech.  



    Then, jimbo, we must understand (none / 0) (#88)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 03:53:23 PM EST
    English as well as diplomacy differently.  For example: The mere address by a President of the US to a national gathering of high-level representatives for a spotlighted National Prayer Breakfast is a notable use of interfaith diplomacy.  The speech was straightforward--unusually so for any elected officeholder--in an area that was a potential minefield.

    He did not dishonor any religion; he did not bash, evade, nor avoid.  Yet ... in a gathering where every word counts (religious and diplomats), he pinpointed clearly what may seem obvious to so many and what is so very rarely stated by any public official:  Do not use religion and call upon God's name as reason/justification for unjustified violence, killing.  In front of religious leaders, he openly called upon them to reject that kind of perversion that ISIL exemplifies.

    I applaud that courageous statement in public.  Unlike so many politicians, this President has the courage to say openly what so many others whisper ... and, he does it with respect for everyone's religious affiliation.  Now ... let me top my assertion with: This statement, long overdue from any major American public figure, is right up there with the honest advice that Pope Francis stresses.  

    Oh, btw, I have absolutely no intention of being suckered into a game of citing this word or that word of a statement.  The words, the demeanor, the time & place of delivery says it all. And, if you have a problem understanding, then it is YOUR problem.


    Please stay on topic (none / 0) (#102)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 04:56:01 AM EST
    It's ISIS, Jordan, the pilot and violence. Not the economy or Obama's statements at a prayer breakfast on other topics.

    Thank you for the reminder, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#105)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 12:12:11 PM EST
    My comment was too windy. I would point out, tho, that the Prayer Breakfast addressed violence & ISIS in conjunction with the central issue(s) in a direct sense.

    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 10:59:11 AM EST
    It's times like these that I am reminded  we elected a professor not a leader.

    We just elected a politician not a theologian. Why do you think that just applying the label "radical Islam" is leadership ? How does applying labels in this context  in any way  make things better?  The history of religiously fueled violence is as long as the history of violence itself, why is it wrong to point that out? All to many people are willing to ignore history and embrace jingoism and that my friend is the worst path of all.

    Why should the whole of Islam (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:45:47 PM EST
    be tarred with the same brush as groups like ISIS? It isn't the religion of Islam that is committing this atrocities; it is individuals.

    The Catholic religion was not condemned for the priest sex abuse scandal. The Catholic religion as a whole was not held responsible for the horror that was the Magdalene Laundries and the Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland.

    No government leaders demanded that the Catholic religion and its practitioners accept collective blame for these horrible acts, acts which went on for years and were aided and abetted by the Church hierarchy.

    So why the demand that Islamic religion be held accountable for these radical fringe people? Why the demand for collective responsibility?

    I do not understand, Slado, your insistence for the need of public denunciations of Islam and its practitioners by Obama.


    Well said (none / 0) (#95)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 12:35:29 AM EST
    Denunciations isn't the word (none / 0) (#103)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 05:34:18 AM EST
    Challenging the status quo would be a better description.

    Also this Pope has made forgiveness and repentance for the sex abuse scandal one of his goals because the entire church was indeed called to address the issue as they should have been.  

    My statements about Islam come from the talking points that most of the Islamic world is moderate and the vast majority do not support terrorism.  So what is a moderate?  

    I'd argue that we in the west have created a caricature of what we think a Muslim moderate is and I'd argue that person doesn't really exist in the Islamic world. Look at any truly Islamic country like Indonesia and you will see things like the following...

    Amnesty International - Women's Rights in Indonesia

    Once Islam is the majority religion of a country the state and the religion merge and some form of Islamic law rules that nationstate. The reason is their faith calls for this to be so. A true secular democracy is not allowed by their theology.  The only question is to what degree of harshness religious rules are applied to the daily lives of the citizens.  

    So as a secular Western progressive how does this jive with your views on human rights? Should we just except that 1.6 billion people (who don't live in Western democracies) live in countries that don't come anywhere near meeting our human right's standards?   Shouldn't we be more vocal in calling for change?

    I've never said most support  terrorism.   I've questioned how many do because I don't feel we in the west understand or appreciate how much religion plays a role in the thinking of the average Muslim and for whatever reason we over look what being an average moderate Muslim means in terms of human rights standards.

    My argument is similar to the Sam Harris argument that bad ideas are bad ideas.  We should push back against them even if it means possibly offending 1.6 billion people.


    I will respect TL (none / 0) (#104)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 05:35:40 AM EST
    And we can move to another thread but I did appreciate your question.

    Keep in mind (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Politalkix on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:16:05 PM EST
    that 32% of the world's Muslim population live in just 3 countries-Indonesia, India and Bangladesh while just 20% live in Arab countries of the Middle East (where ISIS is spreading chaos). Why do you want the President to alienate followers of an entire religion throughout the globe even if you are angry and frustrated with some events in the Middle-East?  

    According to the Pew Research Center there were
    49 Muslim-majority countries. Around 62% of the world's Muslims live in South and Southeast Asia, with over 1 billion adherents.The largest Muslim population in a country is in Indonesia, a nation home to 12.7% of the world's Muslims, followed by Pakistan (11.0%), India (10.9%), and Bangladesh (9.2%).About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries. In the Middle East, the non-Arab countries of Turkey and Iran are the largest Muslim-majority countries; in Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have the most populous Muslim communities.The study found more Muslims in the United Kingdom than in Lebanon and more in China than in Syria.


    I think the part (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 09:30:12 PM EST
    that galled them the most, not talking about Slado here but the right wing noise machine, was not the mentions of the Crusades or the Inquisition but Jim Crow and the biblical justifications for slavery.  
    Which I have personally heard more recently than you would believe.

    "morass" versus "appeasement" (none / 0) (#61)
    by thomas rogan on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 11:02:18 AM EST
         Winston Churchill reportedly said, "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last".  
         Jordan would be in ISIL crosshairs sooner or later.  At least they are now off the appeasement path.  Turkey is astonishingly stupid in giving safe haven to ISIL fighters.  
         ISIL is mainly a land-based force and the United States is protected by two oceans, so I guess it will be a long time before the crocodile gets to us.
         You can say that it isn't the US business to get involved in a morass like Boko Haram or ISIL despite the evil they do, but that's more of a rationalization than a virtue.  

    SITE VIOLATOR? (none / 0) (#108)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 20, 2015 at 09:37:21 AM EST
    I'm not clicking the links to find out but I suspect a clever site violator.