The immediate fascist reactions to the Paris attacks coming from insensitive, hyper-partisan conservative ideologues in America who have found political advantage in tragedy deserve a big shake of the head. No anger, no reciprocal political hackery, just cynical disappointment and loss of optimism for the world.
This is melancholic and frank, but terrorists are winning. We are beginning once again to trade our rights and freedom for a false sense of security and safety from terrorism, and reactionary, impulsive war is again on the horizon.
Donald Trump has called for shutting down America’s mosques; Ted Cruz has called for abandoning the humanitarian interest in avoiding civilian casualties in our bombing campaigns; Ben Carson has been calling for ignoring the rules of war since BEFORE the Paris attacks; Bill Kristol has called for a new 50,000[+] troop occupation of Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS; and nearly all Republicans are calling for bombing campaigns against ISIS orated with curious criticisms of President Obama’s military intelligence, despite the odd, seemingly inconvenient fact that the US is already bombing ISIS and has been for a long time.
This is why terrorism is winning. Because jihadi assholes are provoking some Americans into ensuring that America sinks to the terrorists’ level. Because some Americans want the US to be just as destructive and ideologically single-minded as ISIS.
For the United States to ban the entire religion of Islam over the Paris attacks, like Donald Trump and others are calling for, is not something America should consider. It is something that ISIS would do, and America should never be mimicking ISIS. The fact is that the vast majority of ISIS’ victims are Muslim, and ISIS hates tolerant Islamic beliefs more than any other. Declaring war on all of Islam when a specific, micro-minority Muslim radical group is the real enemy, would be akin to banning all Christian churches throughout America in the early Twentieth Century because the Ku Klux Klan lynched black people.
And it begs the question of why America should use ISIS’ playbook in our war against ISIS and its terrorism. America has standards and values, and that’s the whole reason America is better than ISIS. America will lose its moral superiority if we start bombing Iraq and Syria indiscriminately, and willfully killing even more civilians than ISIS kills. Moral superiority happens to mean something when we are fighting against terrorism.
Which is why conservatives’ hatred and fear of Islamic refugees is only helping the terrorists. Republican governors and legislatures across the country are now vowing to block efforts to resettle Middle Eastern refugees, but the terrorism we saw in Paris is occurring in Syria and Iraq every single day. The refugees are uprooting their lives, giving up all of their savings and putting their children in small, unstable boats to cross miles and miles of the Mediterranean Sea in the hope of finding some small charity in Europe and abroad because that is safer than staying in Syria and other war-torn places. The Syrians feel our pain, and we feel their pain. Everyone in the world feels the pain that ISIS has inflicted, and we must remain focused on the real enemy: ISIS. The vast majority of Muslims in and from Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Kazakhstan, etc. have nothing to do with ISIS or its terrorism, and they prove why a blanket rhetorical war against ALL Muslims is ignorant, unhelpful, and self-defeating.
Right now is a defining moment in world history. The West can alienate and victimize the entire Islamic world by fighting ISIS’ terrorism with our own brand of terrorism, one that is unsympathetic to calamitous collateral damage against both refugees and Middle Eastern civilians alike; or we can prove that the West is morally superior to the reprehensible degenerates fighting under the banner of ISIS for whom the English language has no satisfactory insults and curses.
Fourteen years ago, a Republican president reminded us that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that we should not turn against the Muslims in our nation. Today, Republicans are calling for turning against our Muslim family members, friends, neighbors, and community members, but millions of American Muslims did not attack France. If we do what ISIS would do in our shoes, we are no better.
Image via NBC News