Much of the discussion about ISIS/Al Qaeda and terrorism generally revolves around the random and non-military selection of targets. People at a concert in Paris. People in a building in New York. These are not military targets technically, and this is taken as a radical distinction between the killings effected by western governments as opposed to jihadists.
This is fatuous. The examples of western indiscriminate killing of civilians is a litany too long to be recited here. Just one example. Dresden. Universally acknowledged as not a military target. Carpet and firebombed when the war was already over. 600,000 killed, none of whom were involved in building tanks or aircraft or any other identifiably military enterprises. Slaughterhouse Five.
There is no simple solution. But the problem can be more accurately stated than has usually been the case. Two things. First. Poverty. Two-thirds of the world is in poverty by standard definitions, including much of the Islamic world.
Second. Communications. Poverty was “o.k.” as long as those in poverty did not know there was an alternative. But television, then the internet and modern communications - cell phones - has changed that. Now all those in impoverished countries know that there is an elite - the west - that lives well. And it pisses them off. So they are willing to take drastic action. Who can blame then?
Carpet bomb Raqqa. See what difference it makes. Better we should consider a serous effort to spread the wealth. Not likely.
Likely? An increasingly violent pattern of lex talionis in which “innocents” are the major casualties.
But who are the “innocents"? Are we not all complicit in the inequalities that characterise the “modern” world? And in a “democratic” society should our representatives not recognise this and seek to create a policy/path to reduce those inequalities, rather than becoming sycophants to large corporations in their single-minded jingoism?
Democratic? One person, one vote? Technically, yes. Yet the truth is we have a political system in America in which the average Senatorial campaign costs five or ten million dollars, for a job that pays 175,000 for six years - so the Senator has spent ten million for a job that pays just over a million. Who does he owe? You? Me?
We are in the process of choosing a path that can only result in collision. “Collateral damage” will only increase. But when do we stop being “collateral” and start being determinative?
We will make no progress until we stop complaining about the “problem” of Islamic fundamentalism. We need to admit that the “problem” is as much, if not more, us. The problem is a human problem, not one of a social group, a religion or a sect.
One would think that after several million years of alleged “evolution” we would begin to think of ourselves as human. But no. On the Origin of Species was inspired by the “Adversary.”
But the truth is that we have met the adversary, and he is us.
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