Monday, August 11, 2014

National Narcissism

I've made the mistake of perusing some comment threads on the Huffinton Post and elsewhere on stories about ISIS. They all devolve into American politics, particularly finger pointing at George W. Bush. The underlying assumption is one of the following:
  • If we hadn't intervened in Iraq, the members of ISIS would be peacefully tending their camels and goats. They all went psychotic when we showed up.
  • Without a fascist dictator and his security apparatus to keep them in line, the people of Iraq will inevitably turn into crazed mass murderers.
Either way, we're the primary motivating force in their lives. They have no world view, no goal, no strategic plan other than what they have been forced to create in reaction to America. Everything everywhere and at all times is about us.

Meanwhile, there's this outstanding interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Here's a tidbit, but you really ought to read the whole thing.
JK: You also said recently that terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden represent the leadership of al-Qaeda, but that “core al-Qaeda” is its ideology of perpetual jihad.

Flynn: Yes, and unfortunately the core ideology and belief system is spreading, not shrinking. Look at the unbelievably violent videos [of beheadings, executions and the destruction of religious places] coming out of Iraq just in recent days. I’ve physically interrogated some of these guys, and I’ve had the opportunity to hear them talking about their organizations and beliefs. These are people who have a very deeply-rooted belief system that is just difficult for Americans to comprehend.
A deeply-rooted belief system that doesn't live and breathe American politics? Who knew such a thing could exist?

No comments: