Thursday, February 19, 2015

Taking a Stand

From a discussion on ISIS/IS/ISIL or whatever else they're being called these days:

I have mixed feelings on what our reaction should be, oddly enough In specific, the burning of the Jordanian pilot, alive, and whether or not links should have been hosted by news sites.

I admit, I have viewed the video. It was not on Fox, nor any affiliate I'm aware of. I wanted to see the reactions and bearing of those carrying it not, not so much the act itself. What I saw was deeply disturbing. And yes, to those who've made the comment, there is no getting that sort of thing out of your head once you've seen it. If you aren't prepared for that, you shouldn't make the choice to view it.

Anger? We should be angry. We should be furious that there are people out there who carry out these callous, inhuman acts with such quiet pride and detachment. We should also be informed about who these people are, and direct our anger accurately. This group uses a religion as a tool to oppress others. They take bits and pieces to serve themselves, not some prophet or Allah, or anyone else. They are not the same as those who try to live their lives to a certain creed or ideology. They are not the same as those they are oppressing using parts of that ideology .

These people are attempting to eradicate entire groups of people who they have branded 'infidels' and thus unworthy of being treated as fellow human beings - see the Yazidi as a prime example. They have utilized brutality, slavery, rape, assassination, threats, hostages, and a false interpretation of and forced 'conversion' to a religion they only use to oppress others with. They have no redeeming factors.
The people they have claimed in their 'caliphate' are suffering from a lack of food, water, electricity, health services - they've taken the areas they have claimed by force back not only in their method of dating, but to technological and living levels that people are unprepared for, and unable to adapt to. And now they're not only beheading people, they're burning them alive and claiming to 'cleanse' those who have chosen to stand up to them. People who are, if claims made are to be believed, actual faithful followers of the religion IS purports to serve.

If viewing this sort of depravity and lack of humanity serves to convince people that we need to unite as fellow human beings and do something definitive about this radicalized group, then so be it - let it stand. If uninformed, unthinking people choose to use it as a broad brush to paint an entire religion with, its our responsibility to argue them down, and if possible, set them straight on what's really happening, and why that sort of talk is wrong.

Strongly-worded comments of condemnation are not going to cut it. Sanctions are not going to serve any purpose but to further harm the people living under a corrupt group of  fear-mongers and brutes who steal and redistribute whatever they find as they wish anyway - note the aid packages lately that IS relabeled and passed out as its own. This group cannot be reasoned with. It cannot be trusted. It does not wish to bargain, it only wishes to have its way, control entire regions, and wipe out any it dislikes or disavows. I've been trying to see how any way forward save violence will accomplish anything, and I've failed to find one. Peace is not a part of their plans. They don't care how upset we get - they feed off it.

Those in control in the local area need to stand up, unite, and take action - those who would support them need to do just that, but in a way that will not put us at the forefront and potentially exacerbate the long-running situation that has existed since god only knows how long now. Real support, mind. Not just sitting back and righteously condemning these acts of horror.


There is no clean, easy solution here. Innocents are going to suffer. There are no perfect ways of removing them from the inevitable crossfire. The thing that chiefly limits our response is the fact we do value lives, we do value freedom, and we do value individual worth in the grand scheme of things. IS and those of like mind do not. They have absolutely no boundaries when it comes to what they are, and have been willing to do to enforce their rule. In the end, there are going to have to be some hard choices made if this movement is to be eradicated.

So, use their tools against them. Put out our own propaganda. Educate people on what's actually going on. Twist their efforts on them. Fuel the outrage and point it where it ought to be directed. Channel it, focus it, and get the people to rise up and knock these bastards down hard enough that they won't come back to power again. Can you honestly think any other method is going to get any lasting results?




And now a caveat to all of that, because you know it couldn't possibly be that simple.

Nothing we do will convince the diehard extremists  of anything, short of eradication. I remain convinced of this. Everything they've done cements that in my mind. At the same time, the actions that have been taken by US and other forces, the history of the overall region, the clashes that have gone on for hundreds if not thousands of years, and the all too human need for justice, vengeance, acknowledgment, and a target for anger have poisoned the well of what might have been good will.

There are thousands of innocents caught in the crossfire. We've been to blame for deaths. And with every military action taken, it is likely we will continue to be responsible for more. Given how things operate over there, I haven't been able to fathom how a zero civilian loss scenario would be plausible. I wish to heaven that wasn't so.

We need to do more to help those people wherever possible. We need to try and curtail as much of the violence against them as possible. We need to engage in efforts to earn some trust, in real, tangible ways, in addition to whatever else is being done at the time.

And we need to accept that even if we manage to shut down this group, now being hailed as the most economically powerful terrorist organization in history, that problems will remain. And our part in helping cause them needs to be owned, not swept under the rug as 'unpatriotic talk'.

Hit their economic bases. Hack their accounts. Drain their funds. And show those we capture no mercy. There's your hard choices - taking off the supposed white hat in reality, and not just when convenient in the shadows. Do what is necessary for the greater good. And be prepared for the inevitable backlash and consequences.

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