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Still, she nailed it yesterday.
My must read of the day is “The Islamic State is evil returned,” by Richard Cohen, in the Washington Post:
Amis leads us to Levi’s book “The Truce” and a passage he had not seen before. Levi had made his peace with not understanding. “Perhaps one cannot,” Levi wrote, “what is more one must not, understand what happened, because to understand is almost to justify.”
You see this happening now. The atrocities of the Islamic State are attributed to the Iraq war and what it did to the region. In the current edition of Foreign Affairs, John J. Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political scientist, attributes Vladimir Putin’s bad behavior to the West’s bad strategy. “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” it is titled. Putin is almost entirely effect. Everyone else is cause.
Putin is certainly no Hitler (or Stalin). But the category of evil remains useful. It assigns agency where it belongs. The decapitation of Foley and the depredations of the Islamic State are evil returned, evil that can be understood only as beyond understanding. It needs to be eliminated. More than Foley was killed that day in the desert. So was the why.
I was watching Morning Joe, earlier today, and Joe Scarborough made the suggestion that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) we see today exists because of the Iraq War.
There is no justification for ISIL The United States didn’t create it—whether or not we allowed it to flourish is a different question, but caused it to form? Absolutely not.
People want to have an explanation for everything, especially when something goes wrong. We desperately want to find an answer and to understand these kinds of acts—anything less than that is terrifying. It’s terrifying to admit that something is simply evil, because if you can’t find a reason the solution seems so much further away.
Sometimes there is nothing to understand. There are things that cannot be justified or explained away and don’t deserve to be. ISIL is one of those things. They are immoral, malevolent, and demonic. They are just evil, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do something about it. We can defeat evil, and we have many times. [WFB]
That may offend many conservatives, but Barber is right.
In my humble opinion, we got off on the wrong foot right at the beginning when George W. Bush refused to call this war what it really is: The War Against Islamofascism.
There has been, I think, no stupider term in the history of warfare than the “War on Terror.” If it were even remotely accurate Rosie O’Donnell would have been executed 10 years ago. Just kidding.
But in the end, that rather benign generalization has allowed people like Barack Obama to single out al Qaeda and the Taliban as our true enemy and dismiss others, like ISIS, as one-off imitators—”the JV team.” After all, al Qaeda attacked us on 9-11 and the Taliban helped them do it. Right? Al Qaeda fixed: War on Terror over.
Being at war worldwide with extremist Muslims may not be chic in the Uppers or even in the ‘burbs, but it is a fact, and radicalism isn’t a permutation within this thousand-year-old religion. Islam has been at war with someone from its very inception.
While rumor has it Islamofascists are a small faction within Islam, they are the only voices anyone hears when Islam speaks. And the SOBs are evil.
I know that will rile a lot of moderate Muslims (i.e. the cheering section), but the only time they seem to speak up is when someone points out that they do not condemn, at least with any widespread enthusiasm, these elements within their own religion.
Anyway, good going Ellison Barber!
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