OPINION – Someone is itching for war. As easy as it would be to lay the blame at the feet of barbaric Middle Eastern thugs hiding behind religion, the real war lust is originating a lot closer to home.
Each time the latest horrifying, perfectly produced snuff video is released, American politicians and war hawks experience another highly public bout of patriotic priapism. Of course, the ones clamoring the loudest for American intervention against the terror group ISIS are also the least likely individuals to actually pick up a rifle and go into combat.
Before we commit more of the members of our armed services to an ill-defined conflict on the other side of the world, we need to be asking a few hard questions of the policy makers who wish to send them.
Why are U.S. policy makers only concerned with certain wars and atrocities while turning a blind eye to others? In terms of sheer body count and inhumanity, the radical group Boko Haram has left ISIS in the dust.Why are we being told that ISIS is an existential threat to America that requires greater military action in Syria and Iraq?
Neither of these terror groups pose a credible threat to the American homeland. Yet American politicians with the help of their media stenographers continue playing upon our fears to justify fighting expanded wars in foreign lands.
Can anyone name a single success brought about by our government’s interventionist foreign policies over the past 25 years? Most of us can point to the unforeseen consequences of our leaders’ heavy-handed blunders – 9/11 being the most obvious. But too few Americans will acknowledge that making bitter foes is part of the natural price of waging war.
It’s fashionable to proclaim that radical Islamists wish to harm Americans because they supposedly hate our freedoms. If this were true, these violent groups should be warming up to us as we shed our freedoms.
Another popular variation of the big lie is that Islam has been at war with America since the founding of our nation. We can put that falsehood to rest with one simple query: Name one Islamic terror attack against America between 1805 and 1979.
The correct answer is that there were no such Islamic terror attacks against the U.S. during that time period. As writer Thomas Eddlem points out, this is in spite of the fact that the U.S. government helped to initiate coups in Syria in 1949, in Iran in 1953, and in Iraq in 1963.
There was, however, blowback in varying degrees for each of these interventionist coups. Iran’s revolution in 1979 was in direct response to their democratic government being overthrown and replaced with a vicious, though Western-friendly, puppet in the Shah.
The coup in Iraq led to the rise of Saddam Hussein and the attendant problems associated with his reign including two extremely destructive American-led wars despite the fact that Saddam never materially harmed the U.S.
As Eddlem explains:
These Iraq wars, along with our military shipments to Afghanistan in the 1980s led to the rise of Al Qaeda, and our bases over there in Saudi Arabia at the end of the first Gulf War was used by Al Qaeda as justification for the 9/11 attacks. ISIS was created as resistance to the second Iraq war, and strengthened by our weapons shipments to Syrian rebels during the Arab Spring.
In the conflicts since 1979, thousands of Americans have died and millions of Muslims have been killed. Eddlem can’t help but wryly note, “Clearly Islam is at war with America and they are clearly the aggressors. Right?”
So what are patriotic Americans to do when their leaders are calling for war?
First and foremost, we have to recognize that the danger presented by ISIS and its adherents is not a direct threat to us and our way of life. A far greater threat exists in our own government’s overreaction to terror threats that it helped to create.
How can we fail to notice that each time we send our troops abroad to fight another implacable foe, the less free we become here at home?
The Muslim nations which ISIS is terrorizing bear the primary responsibility for neutralizing the shadowy threat that no one had heard of just a year ago. U.S. intervention will only serve as a recruiting aid for ISIS by giving the group stature it doesn’t deserve.
Those clamoring to fight a new crusade against ISIS should follow the example of Jordan Matson and fly to Iraq, pick up a rifle and get busy. No one is stopping them.
But they shouldn’t try to manipulate our love of country into fighting in foreign lands against another enemy that poses no credible threat to us.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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