Last month The Atlantic headlined Graeme Wood’s article, “What Isis Really Wants and How to Stop It.” That article apparently set the tone for President Obama’s White House Summit on Countering Violent Terrorism (Feb. 18th).
Together the article and the Obama’s meeting gave rise to endless talk show discussions about radicalism and its causes. All reformulated the old 9/11 question, “Why do they hate us?”
Most expert answers missed the obvious historical response. They overlooked the basic law of cause and effect.
Instead, they focused on terrorist psychology.
According to the experts, many ISIS radicals are directionless youths without gainful employment. Others are adventure-seekers, or mentally ill psychopaths. Some radicals are medievalists with an unexplainable bias against the modern world. Most are products of bad religion and corrupt imams.
Ostensibly, the majority are easily influenced by Facebook advertising which ISIS rebels have mastered to an art form that somehow escapes the medium’s inventors.
What to do about such problems? The talk show whizzes weren’t sure. Most highlighted better advertising. We’ve got to improve our Facebook skills, they intoned.
Missed or downplayed in all the ruminations is the obvious. Why not ask Jihadi John?
Here’s what he said on YouTube as he pointed his knife at President Obama before beheading yet another victim dressed tellingly in an orange jumpsuit: “As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knives will continue to behead your people.”
Hmm. . . . Wouldn’t you say that’s pretty straight-forward? In a word, the man is talking about blowback. It’s as simple as that.
What causes radicalism? Let me count the ways: everything signified by Guantanamo orange jumpsuits, extra-judicial assassinations, drones hovering over towns terrorizing children, wedding parties whose revelers are suddenly turned into “bug splats,” U.S. soldiers urinating on the lifeless corpses of one’s parents, the work of reassembling body parts for purposes of identification after a U.S. bombing attack, the smell of human flesh incinerated by our napalm and white phosphorous.
The list goes on and on: Abu Grahib, Fallujah, Haditha, the Torture Report, support of dictators throughout the Arabian Peninsula, continued arming of Israel even after Netanyahu incinerated and dismembered more than 495 Muslim children in his latest “turkey shoot” in Gaza, Christian fundamentalists ignorantly crusading against Islam, racist cartoonists lampooning “the Prophet” when they can hardly spell his name, western industrialism destroying the planet by climate change.
Why do they hate us? It’s not rocket science, friends. It’s blowback. It’s what none of our leaders will say because curing the radicalism means drastically reforming U.S. policy.
It means ceasing to be the radical terrorist state “America” itself has become.
For God’s sake, listen to Jihadi John!