Perspectives: About those calls for war with ISIS

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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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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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45 Comments

  • fun bag February 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

    All this coming from a George W Bush fanboy? I’m sure if it were ol’ Mittens Romney calling for war with “isis” then perspectives doof would be all in favor of it…

    • mesaman February 24, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      Got a problem with them, scumbag?

      • Free Parking February 25, 2015 at 1:43 am

        Shut up scum bag

    • fun bag February 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

      Little crybabies still crying over lost Mittens?

      • Moveback7spaces February 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        hey Koolaid we all know who are pfffffffffft

      • makkie March 4, 2015 at 5:26 am

        What does “mittens” have to do with ISIS(anymore than the jughead in the white house) ?You are pathetic.Try to focus moron.Some peoples hate of republicans and all things conservative make me want to puke.
        Seriously what does ISIS have to do with “mittens” except in your demented mind?
        ISIS is murdering people,beheadings,burning people alive and you are obsessed with “mittens”?SICKENING.

  • NotSoFast February 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I’m a little surprised that you got your facts together Bryan. (OK, not that surprised).
    But, you are leaning to the libertarian point of view. I view you as sitting at your computer out on your front lawn with 3in. of snow on your hat this morning.

  • anybody home February 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Wow, Bryan, you’re sounding like a liberal today! It was only a couple of weeks ago that sword-rattling Utah Rep Chris Stewart was quoted in this paper as saying: “If you believe, as I do, that ISIL is the epitome of evil and a clear threat to U.S. Strategic interest, then we must be willing to do whatever is necessary to destroy it. That includes giving our armed forces whatever authorization is necessary to accomplish this mission. In my position on the Intelligence Committee, I am reminded again and again of the President’s hesitation to seriously engage in this cause.”
    I can only assume that you’re including Stewart as one of the “American politicians and war hawks” who “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.”

    Bravo, Bryan! And I gotta say that “patriotic priapism” is one of the best and funniest phrases I’ve read in a long time. Yes, I know what priapism means, Bry.

    • BIG GUY February 23, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      ANYBODY HOME and Bryan use language that sounds just like the isolationists who opposed our country’s involvement in World War II. Even after Hitler had overrun much of Europe, reduced Great Britain to near exhaustion and literally had his armies on Moscow’s outskirts in early December 1941, the isolationists continued to call for staying out of the war. Had the Japanese bypassed Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, striking only Hong Kong, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, we might never have entered World War II. And we might all be speaking German instead of English today.

      • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

        I am reasonably certain that the Soviets did a pretty good job of defeating the Nazis, BIG GUY, and mostly on their own; although the United States was helping Uncle Joe even before officially entering the war, what with the Lend/Lease Programs, and the Christie suspension system of the T-34. No, no German for us. 🙂

        • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm

          Although, having said that, I should have also admitted that had the United States not entered the war, the Siberian boys would probably have never been mobilized to the defense of Moscow and the Eastern Front, seeing as they would have been needed sorely to defend against Japan. And that would not have been an easy war for the Soviets. Not at all.

          • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm

            And all this just goes to show even more so that whenever Bryan says ‘history shows us’, he really means anything but.

      • anybody home February 23, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        Read my post again, bg, I was quoting people,not using my own words here (except to connect the quotations). But even so, it’s quite a stretch to compare what I wrote to the isolationists of WW II. If you want to shoot me down, go ahead, but do it for the right reasons. And think a little more before you write. The question about whether or not the US should get involved was very complex, and I’m sure you know that. You seem to know a lot about history. Your last sentence is certainly hyperbole and pure speculation.

        • BIG GUY February 24, 2015 at 7:47 am

          Bryan says, “Neither of these terror groups [ISIL and Boko Haram]pose a credible threat to the American homeland.” That is clearly an isolationist statement and echoes precisely the sentiments of American isolationists in the years leading up to World War II.

          Now your own words:

          “Bravo, Bryan, you’re sounding like a liberal today!”

          “…sword-rattling Utah Rep Chris Stewart….”

          I read your post again and came to the same conclusion: “…it’s [NOT] quite a stretch to compare what [YOU] wrote to the isolationists of WW II.” I don’t feel stretched at all. I suspect almost all other readers would agree.

          • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 9:10 am

            Yep! That is exactly right, BIG GUY. Furthermore, anyone who is capable of historically blundering over the acts of Islamic terrorism that resulted in the creation of the United States Navy (!!) really shouldn’t be slinging around words like priapism in the first place XD

          • anybody home February 24, 2015 at 9:20 am

            Okay, you got me, BG…I can tell you won’t be satisfied until you win. My “Bravo, Bryan,..” was more a joke about Bryan sounding like a liberal when he’s usually carping some far-right agenda than my agreement with him, but take it however you need to take it to feel like you won. Jeez, man, get a grip. You kind of epitomize the lack of any sense of intellectual humor around here (and the need to win). I don’t think the isolationists of WW II had much of a sense of humor either.

            Have a great day, pal. The sun’s shining again.

        • BIG GUY February 24, 2015 at 9:09 am

          Also note my words: I didn’t accuse either of you as being isolationists, only “…sounding just like the isolationists.”

          • anybody home February 24, 2015 at 11:13 am

            You must be a lawyer.

        • BIG GUY February 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm

          The sun is shining. Have a great day.

          • anybody home February 25, 2015 at 9:46 am

            Thanks…you, too.

  • BIG GUY February 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Answers to Bryan’s questions in order from the top:

    U.S. policy makers are concerned with some wars and atrocities and not others because either 1) unlike Bryan’s contention, they pose a threat of expanding to our shores and/or 2) they threaten allied/friendly nations with whom we have either treaty obligations or a shared interest in stable international relations.

    ISIS has directly threatened terror in the U.S. and, with its numerous fighters and sympathizers holding U.S. and friendly nation passports, is very capable of carrying it out. Boko Haram has neither of these attributes.

    While there are other U.S. intervention successes in the last 25 years, liberating Kuwait from Saddam’s unprovoked invasion will answer your challenge to name a single success. Clinton’s intervention in the Balkans ending the Serbia’s genocide against Bosnian Muslims also comes to mind where we fought to defend Islam.

    U.S. involvement in government overthrows in Syria, Iran and Iraq during the Cold War were all intended to replace communist-leaning regimes with ones friendly with the West. I’m not necessarily excusing any of them, only pointing out that “war with Islam” was not the motivation, any more than antipathy to Catholicism was the motivation for our “gunboat diplomacy” in this hemisphere.

    Patriotic Americans should carefully weigh the difficult question of whether to support military action on a case by case basis. Americans do not need to fear that such action, if taken, will undermine their freedoms at home. We have little to fear from a military coup.

    Only libertarians somehow felt less free after liberating Kuwait. Perhaps they now fear returning veterans or that Obama is a secret warmonger scheming to limit their freedoms.

    • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Also might want to mention the Moro Rebellion, BIG GUY. Mark Twain has some excellent things to say on this subject as well, and it just goes to show that where history is concerned, Bryan is just making stuff up.

      • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

        This is too much fun. One could also easily as what were the reasons for the first and second Barbary Wars? XD

  • Roy J February 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Not surprisingly, Bryan is once again applying his narrow and confused ideas about history to support his goofy libertarian ideals. The correct answer to the question about Islamic terror attacks from 1805 to 1979 is to ask what was the state of the Islamic world during that time period? An historical study conducted even through Wikipedia would put such foolish questions to rest. Bryan still seems to think that wars in foreign lands are not our problem; in other words, Bryan apparently lacks the sense of history necessary to understand European colonialism and the emergence of the nations, with all the attendant providences and problems of world economics and empire.

  • ladybugavenger February 23, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Is Anyonee else concerned that American Express offers a prepaid card that says Serve ISIS on it?

    • ladybugavenger February 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      After further review, the new Serve cards eliminate the word ISIS, but working in retail I see the ISIS card. Very disturbing, I say shred your ISIS card!

      • anybody home February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        Isis was a consortium of AT&T. T-Mobile USA and Verizon.
        From Wikipedia: “In July 2014, Isis announced that it planned to rebrand itself in order to alleviate confusion between it and the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was also known under the abbreviation “ISIS”. The venture announced its new name, Softcard, in September 2014. Probably won’t see it much anymore. Has nothing to do with ISIS in the middle East.

  • munchie February 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I agree with Bryan on this one. I never thought I would write that. It has always bugged me, also, that the war hawks, both here and nationally, are always for the wars but never seem to have their kids signing up to fight them.

  • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Finally, to really drive home the lack of historical facts in this article, here’s some tidbits from around the Interwebs:

    ‘ in the fall of 1807, Algiers detained three vessels. Freedom was bought for the ships and crew for a mere $18,000 but it signaled the resumption of two bad habits, pirate terrorism and tribute. The renewal of these would last for many years and cause the American navy to once again sail against Barbary.

    The war with England during 1812-14 pushed the Barbary pirates into the back of American concerns. In any event, retaliation against the corsairs would have been impossible, for after 1812 the American navy was swept from the seas by the British.

    As soon as the American navy was no longer a threat, the Dey of Algiers announced a “policy to increase the number of my American slaves,” whereupon he captured the brig Edwin and its crew in August 1812. This situation lasted until the end of the war with England (Irwin, 1970).

    On March 2, 1815, ten weeks after the end of the War of 1812, the United States formally declared hostilities against Algiers. Retribution, long delayed but richly deserved, was dispatched in the form of ten tall ships under the command of the scourge of Barbary, Stephen Decatur (Pike, 2001).

    The punitive expedition arrived off Algiers in June. Decatur promptly shot up the flagship of the Dey’s fleet, capturing it with 486 prisoners. He then sent an ultimatum to the Dey: Free every slave at once, pay an indemnity of $10,000 to the survivors of the brig Edwin, and cease all demands for tribute forever.

    Numbed by Decatur’s ferocity, the Dey whined that perhaps there had been a “misunderstanding” which he would like to correct with “the amiable James Madison, the Emperor of America” (Castor, 1971).

    Tunis and Tripoli were next on Decatur’s list. The Dey of Tunis groomed his beard with a diamond-encrusted comb and complained, “Why do they send wild young men to treat for peace with the old powers?” Still, he paid the Americans $46,000 to go away. In its turn, Tripoli felt Decatur’s wrath, paying him a $25,000 indemnity and freeing its slaves (Castor, 1971).

    The “old powers” never again molested any American ships. Decatur’s swift and firm action impelled the other European powers to follow the American example. The degrading yoke of tribute and the raiding of the Barbary corsairs were over.

    America’s involvement in the Tripolitan War suppressed pirate terrorism in the Mediterranean only after resolute action. It also saw the development of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps with their proud traditions, and for the first time America made its presence known, not as a “fat duck” but as an eagle in the world of the old empires.’

    • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 11:09 am

      And so, having now demonstrated that some Islamic states did in fact commit acts of terrorism and were at war with the United States (for all intents and purposes) from its very inception (1790), where does that leave the rest of Bryan’s mangled opinion, I wonder?

      • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 1:26 pm

        Hmm, my previous post stating the factual reasons for this conclusion is not posting. Hey Joyce, is there a reason for the holdup?

        • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

          Ah, there it is. Nevermind!

    • anybody home February 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Time to get your own website Roy…

      • Roy J February 25, 2015 at 9:06 am

        Possibly, ANYBODY. Ima call it ‘Involuntarily Mendicant Party Headquarters’, (IMP HQ) We have an opinion column opening for our ‘Proselytize the Dullards’ campaign that is in desperate need of some healthily and obstinate nearsightness. Care to join? I can’t do all the work myself…well mebbe. 😉

        • anybody home February 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

          No, Roy…I don’t want to join you. I’m just hoping you’ll stop wanting to take up all the air and command the stage for so long. Can you spell “narcissist”?

          • Roy J February 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm

            Yes I can, ANYBODY. But there is a qualitative difference between being narcissitic and arguing firmly and strongly enough to make a point. I grant you that I often times forget to be charitable, and am generally considered a gigantic gasbag.

      • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde February 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

        It would be interesting to see if Roy has what it takes to actually build an audience of his own. It’s strange to see someone of obvious intelligence reduced to anonymously begging scraps of attention from an audience that someone else has attracted.

        • fun bag February 25, 2015 at 10:56 am

          Actually, we’re all just hoping to see your drivel replaced with something else…

          • Moveback7spaces February 26, 2015 at 5:53 am

            We feel the same about your drivel

        • Roy J February 25, 2015 at 11:37 am

          Hahahaha! No, Bryan, you got me there. I probably don’t have what it takes to consciously build an audience. It’s just not something I could bring myself to care too deeply about. But picking apart pseudo-philosophical arguments presented as sublime truths, or unraveling a not to carefully researched theory of history, that is my contribution to the common good. Which is more valuable in the final analysis; an avid audience that pays your bills, or an honest (albeit humiliating) ability to think critically about the important things?

          • fun bag February 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm

            Ol’ perspectives idiot can’t defend his garbage opinion column, so he childishly tries to insult and attack one of the commenters. What a clown

          • Moveback7spaces February 26, 2015 at 8:15 am

            Well heck fun bag. ( koolaid.) you know all about being a clown considering your the fun bag.

  • Roy J February 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Hmm, no it is still pending moderation.

  • Dene February 25, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli’s ambassador to Great Britain to ask by what right his nation attacked American ships and enslaved American citizens, and why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.
    The two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

    • Roy J February 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Excellent point, DENE.

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