Sunday, November 29, 2015


I have thought of writing this for a while now.

In the interest of finding balance, I think it is important to attempt to gain a better understanding.  This is especially important in areas where there exists a social stigma that would predispose a person to forming certain opinions and judgements.  This is one of those issues.

I had the privilege to come upon a written transcript of a wonderful talk given several years back by a gentleman named Ralph Wexler.  He was a psychologist for the VA for 20 years.  In it he used a wonderful analogy that I would like to share because it has positively informed my practice as an ED nurse for many years now.  Imagine you are sitting in one of those fancy and yet nondescript hotel ballrooms listening to a man at a podium.

Think about it this way.  You are sitting here, in this ballroom, and suddenly a big Easter Island statue sized face looms out of one of the walls with its mouth gaping at you. At that moment, you are faced with a decision.  Either, you are really seeing this, and everything you thought you knew about the world was wrong, or you are seeing something that isn't real and you are crazy.  This is such a monumental, earth shattering, paradigm shifting thing that you cannot ignore it.  If decide you are crazy, you can no longer trust anything else in this world that you think is real.  Everything is questionable now.  If you are crazy, your mind can't be trusted to tell you anything related to the truth and you are lost and adrift now.  Forever uncertain and afraid.

If you decide you aren't crazy, you have just learned something about the world and subsequently your world has changed.  Your behavior will change accordingly.  If you accept that walls can harbor huge faces with mouths large enough to eat you, you probably won't hang out much near walls.  In a narrow corridor you might just take the very middle and keep a close eye on the walls on either side in case one of them starts looking hungry.  To people who have never seen the faces, and don't believe they are real...not really real anyway, your behavior seems abnormal.  What's wrong with that guy, he's such an asshole.  I was walking down the hall and he was just taking up the whole hall.  He even pushed me out of the way and wasn't even really looking at me.  What an asshole!

Of course, if you know about those faces, his behavior makes total sense.

But you don't.

So, don't think of PTSD as some disease that deserves pity or sympathy.  This is a person who is aware of the world in a way that you aren't.

Each of us walks around every day in a state of some degree of illusion.  We often think and act in ways that are totally irrational if you think about them too long.  We routinely pilot tons of steel at high speeds and in close quarters with other people of questionable training and maturity.  We frequently eat and drink things that we know are unhealthy and perhaps even mind altering with little regard to our personal well being or safety.  We do this because we only understand the danger and our own mortality on an academic level. There is a big difference between understanding that death and destruction exits and having death itself come up and give you a big kiss on the lips.

Some people live in a world where trash cans explode and kill all of your friends.

Some people live in a world where the people you most trust and depend on rape and torture you.

Some people live in a world where people of a certain ethnicity or race actually are trying to harm and kill them.

Each of these people will act accordingly, often rationally and perfectly logically if you understand what their life is like.

"Normal" people, who live under many benign and helpful constraints, see these behaviors and label them a disorder.  That does a disservice to both them and us.  We lose out understanding and they become something less of a person who is fit for our pity and our sympathy, but often not our understanding.

If you value that person, don't pity them.  Try to understand them.  Often they will explain it if you let them. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The debate

In the interests of making it easier to read for all of the masochists out there that might like to see the full conversation, I am offering this easy organizational post.

It all started with me stating on Facebook that I thought we should take in Syrian Refugees.  My friend vehemently opposed this idea.  He has 20 years experience in the military and is currently an officer in the armed forces.  He has proven himself in the past to have an agile mind.  I figured this would be an interesting opportunity to see where my own beliefs and arguments might fall short.  If my ideas are not good enough to survive an encounter with a disparate belief, they need to be either refined or abandoned.  This process is ongoing.

So, here is my original post.


Here is John's response.

Post 2

Here is my rebuttal.

Post 3

Here is John's return.

Post 4.

At this stage, I am not sure if there is any value in my responding or continuing the argument.  I think the ideology is pretty clear on both sides and the various strengths and weakness of the ideas are present.  Anything further than this threatens to devolve into a less illuminating process.  I leave off with my opposition having the last word in an attempt to remove all strains of bias due to home field advantage.  My hope is that anyone who reads this can get a better understanding of the positions taken by either side and use that understanding to build their own, more balanced opinion. 

John's response pt 1

I assure you, I'm not just ranting to myself.  All of this was inspired by a real argument with a real person.  With his permission I have included his part of the argument because I believe it is important to attempt to understand the arguments of the people you disagree with.

So, without editing and formatting (I gave him the opportunity to clean up the format to emphasize whatever he wanted, but he declined.  I am attributing the block formatting here to the limitations of Facebook.  He replied as a comment to my post.  I assume if he had a better forum, the formatting would be a little easier on the eyes.)

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Eric, I will take the opposite tact and keep this simple. Would YOU (not America, not state X) take 10 Syrian male refugees between 18-30 years of age into your home today, no questions asked? Of course you wouldn't and here's why. You cannot provide for them economically, and you dont have a $18B and growing debt. Well you do, as do your kids but thats another topic. You dont have jobs for them, because we dont even have jobs for the millions of people out of work now. Again, we could delve into the dismal labor force particpation rates, but that too is another is another story. Most importantly, you have a wife and children to protect. Perhaps you could give your kids a bowl of M&Ms that contained 10% which were poisonous and tell them it was ok to grab a handful because "not all the M&Ms are posionous".. No you wouldn't do that either. As a travelling nurse, perhaps you could take the show on the road and go over to Syria and provide "frontline" medical care. please take the wife and kids so they can embarace the peaceful Muslim population over there and experience the tolerance and diversity that that exudes their culture. Make sure Sara is dressed approapriately so as not to offend anyone. The vast cultural divide aside, the simple odds you cited would indicate at least one of those men is a threat. To place your family in danger would be reckless irresponsible and I submit to you that you would not directly incur that risk, but by virtue of your position, believe others should incur that risk for the sole purpose of appearing charitable and compassionate in an attempt to break a stereotype that some people have. The problem is that this approach ignores common sense logic, and history. While your onion reference to Iraq is amusing, it too ignores the fact. At the risk of veering off topic, in simplest terms, the invasion of Iraq created a battlefield that did not previously exist. We were fighting an enemy with no country, no flag and no uniform. That war drew them Iraq where they could be identifed and killed. Obama made the comment that there was no Al Queda in Iraq before we went in. True statement, and he unwittingly acknowledged the success of that strategy. I will tell you in all honesty that I dont think there was ever an exit strategy, and that the architects likely envisioned a Korea or Germany like presence for decades to come. Politics as they are, we hastily left, including our equipment, which ISIS now uses to march through the region. That aspect aside, the reason for the current situation is not global warming/climate change or jobs like some clowns running for President want to believe. Those conditions have existed for decades. This stems from the intentional toppling of stable governments in the region, initiated, funded and directly supportes by the current administration. Regimes that had been pro western or at least not anti-western were toppled and ISIS filled the power vacuum. Syria remains. Yet the US (WH anyways) actively seeks Asaad's removal and actively supported a political campaign against the incumbent President of Israel. Tell me Eric, what threat does Asaad pose to the US that we need to topple his government? Is Iran not more of a threat goven they have nuke technology and have sworn to destroy Israel and the West? Or perhaps they are "joking" as you feigned in another post? I believe, no I KNOW, that you are a good man. I applaud your compassion and agree it is part of the human experience. What I believe your fundamental flaw is in your approach to this probelem is that you have ironically done exactly what Bush did; you applied western thought, values and culture to a situation that is utterly imcompatible with them. ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Muslim Brotherhood, whatver you want to call them, did not emerge from ressent ment over Amercian anything. You cited death tolls, but left out and important fact. Muslims kill the majority of Muslims, just like black kill the majority of blacks. So if you want to cite totals, be specific. Muslimns also kill far more Christians than the opposite. The fact is that these people have been warring for centuries without any help from us. You will not win a battle of idea with these people because you fundamentally do not undertstand them. dailykos and HUFFPO are mouth pieces, as is Fox and CNN and the like. I have lived among these people for years, literally. They are VERY honest when there is no camera present. Why would we want to bring their balkanized violent, centuries long struggle here when they themsleves havent been able to fix it and we certainly havent either. So I never like citing problems without offering solutions, so here is mine. Since we love coalitions and globalism and the UN, I submit that we use NATO to establish "safe zones" within Syria. No fly zones and tropps to defend these poor people and prevent them from having to uproot themselves and their families from their beloved and historic homeland. People like me will go over there and do it. It is far cheaper, and the only Amercians that are in danger are the people we pay to take risks and put their lives at risk, the military. My plan ensures that not a single terrorist enters the country posing as a refugee. Your plan ensures the opposite, as has been demonstrated in Europe. My plan gets everyone involved (UN) so Muslims can see that the world loves and accepts them and are all willing to help them. Tell me Eric, why wont wealthy Muslim majority countries in the region take them in??? I would LOVE for you to answer that one my friend. Incidentally, one refugee in Louisianna disappeared and was found in D.C., their first declared target, and 5 more were captured in Honduras with fake Greek passports attempting to enter the US. I'm floored that you think we need a sliding scale of us death tolls to engage in military action. 200, we dont go in..? So you require a 9-11 type death toll to fight back? Perhaps we should just open the borders up to anyone and everyone from wherever, who claims to be a refugee and was somehow wronged by us or another "imperial entity" at any time in the past. Pu them all on welfare, create sharia courts fo them and allow shariah law to trump our laws where they hold majorities.. Gays will have to relocate of course, but surely they will view our "tolerance" and willingness to accomodate them in a positive light and limit rapes onlly their women and children and not ours. Do me a favor and google "Islamic thighing". Google "increasing rapes by Muslims in Sweden". In the end, people who support bringing these people here fele there is endless amounts of money, that we can just "take from rich people" and that welcoming them will somehow absolve us of past "offenses", despite the fact that we have shed blood and spent treasure to help Muslims. The ONLY thing these people understand or respect is the violnce that has been ingrained in their culture for centuries. It's far better to meet violence with violence somwhere other than the street of America. The liberals are of the opinion that if its good enough for Beirut its good enough for Nashville, and that is how to tell who really loves this country and who hates it to the point that they want to "fundamentally" change it to mirror the failure of Europe and commit national suicide. No thanks. But we'll just go with your plan instead and wait till a few shopping malls, staduims and Starbucks are in flames before we do anything other than open our arms and bury our heads in the sand in blind adherence to lef twing ideology.

John's Response Pt 2

In the interest of fair play and helping any readers understand what the heck I am ranting about, I am presenting the person I am arguing with and their entire, unedited, responses.

So yeah, I'm not just talking to myself.

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Here's Johnny.

I am not a blogger, nor do I have regular access, or much time to pursue it. Most of my posts are done via mobile phone in between meetings or during my brief lunch breaks. If the formatting is not up to par, I whole heartedly apologize to you and your audience. I’m also generally unable to peruse the web and cut and paste articles from reputable sites like salon and the onion, so again, please accept my shortcomings.

I’m glad you like my idea and agree that this should be a UN effort and Muslim majority countries in the region should take the lead. I find it interesting you don’t think we should take the lead in providing relief over there, but are all for "leading by example" here in the U.S.

Your “what does ISIS want” misses 2 crucial points. They want Muslim domination of the entire planet, and it’s already NOT a “regional conflict”. They’re in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and yes, here too. Totally agree. So let’s bring more?

I’d like you to do me a favor and stop insulting my intelligence with your Cloward/Piven and Alinsky tactics. I've read them, unlike most. You just reclassified “refugees” as immigrants. You do recognize the fundamental difference I assume? Or are they asylum seekers? Control the language, control the narrative. So do you support providing them temporary refuge until it’s safe to return them Syria, or are you advocating permanent residency? Perhaps the strategy we employ with the “immigrants” coming from South America will work? Maybe not….

Your dismissal of constructing a wall is further proof that your ideology prohibits you from actual critical thinking. Catapults.. HA. Take a look at this wall my friend Quite a bit different than the one at Helm’s Deep no? As for airspace, google Aegis Ashore. We are employing it in Eastern Europe for anti aircraft and anit-ballistic missile defense. Israel has the Iron Dome. They work. I see the reports of Cubans coming by sea turned back daily. It takes money and effort. The border is securable and any country that chooses to can employ technology to do so. The issue is POLITICAL WILL. We lack it, and we lack it because enough people haven’t dies yet.

If your assertion is true regarding the “fizzle out” approach to dealing with ISIS, why has radical Islam endured throughout the ages, LONG before any naughty Europeans or American or Jews made them mad? I wonder, from where did you gain your insight into ISIS recruiting? Classified FBI reports? NSA field reports? Were you actively recruited? Actually you are simply regurgitating talking points that blame everything under the sun (the west, the economy, the climate, discrimination) instead of recognizing the real problem lies within Islam itself. We cannot fix it, they must fix. Please read that with as open a mind as you do the “blame the west and capitalism” pieces you cut and paste from. I am not “after” or advocating for a war based on anyone’s religion. I am however, not opposed to war to crush an enemy who threatens us and cannot be negotiated with. Your question is typical of those with your worldview and attempts to mischaracterize my position.

Fun fact, on Iraq and while you may not “believe” there was an intent to stay, I’d encourage you to research a bit more. I’ve read OPLANS and understand the difference between policy and politics, particularly when it comes to the military. Bush’s “mission accomplished” is a political statement. It’s amusing that you despise and distrust Bush and Cheney (and in this case, Rumsfeld) but do not believe that there was long range occupation plan. Again, I have more insight into this than CNN or blogs. Look into a guy named Paul Wolfowitz. He was the architect of the Iraq plan, not Rummy, not Bush. Do you honestly believe that politicians or political appointees make policy? People in positions to make decisions do so based on what is put in front of them. Clearly you’ve heard about “the power behind the throne”. Paul is a real piece of work, world bank guy and recently admitted the flaws in the plan. He even despises Colin Powell which must mean he’s a bad guy and probably a racist too. Iraq would have made a nice forward operations base nearby to Iran and with strategic access to the entire region. Did you know that coalition forces did not pay dime for fuel (jet, ship, tank etc) during the recent Gulf War? I guess that was the infamous “Bush’s oil”. At any rate, do some digging and you will see Bush tried (well his DoD and DoS anyways) to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement. Not many details were made public and the attempt failed. To the credit of the Iraqis, they recognized the architecture in the SOFA and rejected it. Had they not, you would have a Ramstein AFB like or Chinhae, ROK like operations base in Iraq to this day. Again, I’m truly perplexed that you doubt that was one of the desired end states, given your love of Bush and his cronies. Ironically Paul conceded that his biggest mistake was underestimating the tenacity of the enemy. A mistake Obama’s advisors are replicating. You do oppose Obama putting boots on the ground back into Iraq and Afghanistan don't you? He's a lot like Bush I guess....

Your contention that we can't keep ISIS out is as off base as your rejection of “wall technology”. You can in fact significantly increase border security, then hunt down and kill ISIS members in the US as enemy combatants. You can make it far more difficult to enter, recruit and operate. Alas, your plan is to just let it happen, endure the attacks and it will fizzle out.The problem is that the left (who has no issue killing us citizens overseas without a trial using a drone ) would cry foul and demand trials, file lawsuits to defend ISIS, and claim “profiling” when all ISIS investigations, arrests, convictions and/or executions were muslims. Cause they will be. Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every member of ISIS is. Which is why people like SoS Kerry wan to start calling them something else, to remove the I from ISIS. Control the language control the narrative. Again, the issue not ability, it’s having the will. The enemy has it, our government does not. not yet anyways.

My argument wasn’t specious at all. I never implied forcing every family to take “2.5 times their number”. 10% could be terrorists, your figure (and arguably low) but not mine. I used your figure to highlight the fact that you would not accept that numerical risk when it came to your family, but you would when it came to this country.

There is no screening process Eric. The Director of the FBI, appointed by this President by the way, has clearly stated it. The former Deputy Director of the FBI said the same thing.

Citing the immigration law process is not vetting for terrorist suspects. No Syrian database exists, no Syrian government or entity exists to confer with on screening (they aren’t that developed or savvy at present) so you can say it over and over again, but it simply isn’t true. You want to embrace the smoke and mirrors of previous refugees being screened. My friend, again, I know you don’t necessarily know this but we have over a decade of biometric data complete with family profiles, cell phone records, and a myriad of other data on the people who lived in Iraq. I’m sure some Cheney cohort’s company made a killing on that contract too, but, there is a substantial difference between the “process” used in the past with regard to Iraqi refugees.

Aside from the obvious national security risk, there’s a cultural one as well. Muslims by and large do not assimilate into western society. On the contrary, they reject and carve our enclaves which become balkanized from the rest of the country. Behold the “sensitive urban zones” your ideology has created in France. This article was written long before the current situation. They don’t come to assimilate, they come to occupy. This is engrained in their religion and their culture. Conquering new lands. Your immediate response will be to blame France. France let them in. But that’s not enough right? The benefit packages weren’t enough, they didn’t get seat in local governments or some other apologist nonsense. Tell me Eric, where is your outrage at the stoning of Christians in broad daylight by Muslims here in America? Still just a “few bad apples”? Tell that to Sweden.
You can try to twist the narrative all you’d like but they don’t come here to be Americans. The traditions you allude to are based on assimilation and adoption of the culture, not carving out your own empire and demanding it be recognized as equal. Do some actual reading about it. It’s not isolated, it’s an epidemic.

You glazed over Taqiyya, but that is exactly what you are engaging in, knowingly or not. Incidentally, CAIR has access to the WH and is driving these policy decisions. Why has our Muslim ally Saudi Arabia, and others, declared them a terrorist organization but we have not? Why did a stadium full of Muslims recently boo and disrupt a moment of silence for Paris victims? They were Pakistani, always held out by the left as the example of moderate Muslims. There sure are a great many "isolated events" no? The only people who believe in your ideological world view are people who are ignorant of the facts, or simply unable or unwilling to embrace the painful and frightening truth of truth of what is really going on and why.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fighting ISIS Round 2

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I would love to put your opposition pieces to these up.  If you want to reformat them, to make them look a little cleaner (but please don't alter the content.) I would happily post them here as well.  Or I could just paste your response in here as I have it.  Nothing without your permission of course.

Here is my reply.

OK, I finally have time to sit down and try to arrange my thoughts. Let's try this.

I find it interesting that you consider me naive. Because I think that you aren't taking this problem serious enough. First, the secure areas controlled by the UN? I think that is an outstanding idea. I also think we ('Murica) can't be seen as the lead agency in this. Then it is just another imperialist, racist powerful white Christian culture oppressing a poor brown Muslim country.

Why is this important?

What does ISIS want?

They want world war three. They want apocalypse. The longer we make it easy for them to portray themselves as the heroes, the longer this fight continues in a global capacity. If we set the narrative to them being barbaric, psychotic, assholes, this can stay a regional conflict with a particularly barbarous enemy. Their tactics are so radical they will burn themselves out unless we continue to feed them new recruits. I think this is already happening. As it should. The Muslim community at large is condemning ISIS and is a short step away from actively fighting it.

Now, let's talk about those immigrants. It does all tie together. One of the main reasons I am not worried about the immigrants is because I think there are plenty of radicalized Muslim extremists already here. I think attacks are inevitible. And yes, I say this from Washington state, a place that plans on accepting refugees. I will be staying here and supporting the intake of refugees. And I think we can just go ahead and send the young males wearing bandoleers and carrying really heavy vests back. And about this wall idea. HA. Logistically speaking alone I think it is absurd. Tunnels, catapaults, demolitions, ladders, the whole wall technology has been surpassed for a few centuries now. Our country is huge. And supposing we were able to build an actual formidible wall that magically couldn't be tunneled under or climbed, what about our coastlines or airspace? I don't think there is any legitimate, feasible way to prevent a small group of highly determined people from getting into this country. We have to stop the actual group.

Again, I have no illusion that we can negotiate with ISIS. What we can do is keep them from resources, the most important being new recruits. Their casualty rate is much higher than their numbers can sustain for long. Unless we drive more recruits to them.

So, what drives a person a person to support ISIS? Well, you can just happen to be there and support them at the point of a blade. Plenty of that is happening, but we all know conscripts are not stereotypically the most loyal soldiers. You like to talk about Taqiyya, let's talk about Takfir. Their own fire will burn them out. Another possible reason is the same reason Hamas became so powerful. The government in the area was corrupt and not taking care of the people. When people are desperate, they align with those who help them. It worked for Hamas, it worked for street gangs in New York and LA, it worked for the mafia. If you don't have food and someone gives you food, you like them. Watch that Frontline about ISIS in Afghanistan. ISIS is paying around twice what the Taliban is paying and the government forces are buying their own ammunition. If we can spend the money we would spend on arms and spend it on bread, a lot of the people who might turn to ISIS or Hamas or whoever, might not feel they have to. I get it, those that are already converted aren't chaning. What we have to do is keep the rest from converting.

If ISIS manages to keep bringing in fresh recruits, it just might reach a tipping point where Muslims (and Christians...both Abrahamic religions with an apocalyptic branch.) start to believe this is a war between the religions. If you pit 1.3 billion Muslim against 2.2 billion Christians, you get a lot more dead than the Paris attacks. You probably get a lot more dead than the population of Paris. War itself is the enemy here.You aren't after a war between Islam and Christianity...are you?

When we went into Iraq to overthrow Saddam, we were told we would be greeted as liberators, it would be a short conflict and democracy would spread like wildfire. Don't pretend now that we expected a continuous presence there from that point on. It is provably untrue. Remember Mission Accomplished? Accomplished means finished. If we go in there with a heavy military hand, we prove that what ISIS is saying about us being evil oppressors is confirmed and we deliver them fresh recruits plain and simple. People remember who kills their family. For too long that has been us. We have been responsible for the death of too many middle eastern Muslims. Let the people there start their Jihad against the people who are killing them now...ISIS. Let them be the bad guy. We cannot stay out of the area, we have created too large a mess. But we should be responsible for as little death as possible and be seen as helping people. We can't keep ISIS out of the US, we can't stop the people that are currently ISIS, the only way to stop them is to let them become the bad guy to the people that would otherwise be tempted to join them. I know America is strong enough to withstand a few terrorist attacks, as horrific and terrible as they would be. I know we are compassionate enough to help the people that need help even if it is dangerous.

Now let me go reread your message and see what I missed.

No, I personally wouldn't take the refugees you mentioned, that is a pretty specious argument. Nobody is asking any family to do that. Refugees would be screened and no one family would be asked to take in 2.5 times their number. No family, I think, would be asked to take in anyone. The worst homeless shelter we have in this country is better than the trying to live in a war torn country. That's why they leave. I'm not saying we have to give them jobs, how about a little security and food. Hopefully, the idea of the American Dream is attractive enough that they would integrate and become productive members of the country. Far fetched I know, but it has actually happened. As for your suggestion that Sarah dress in a Burqa. Come on...this type of hyperbolic rhetoric damages what credible points you do make.

A nuclear Iran is a grave danger, I don't recall ever suggesting they weren't serious in acquiring and using nuclear weapons.

I looked up thighing, like you wanted me to and...well that's weird. Of course, Muslims have not cornered the market on bizarre sexual practices. Especially if you are a religious fundamentalist. If you live Mormonism or Christianity by the letter of the founding documents, you would be just as ostracized. It isn't about the religion, it is about an area of the world where people have been kept down so long that their specific version of their culture hasn't been allowed to evolve into something more peaceful. Let's help change that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fighting ISIS

OK John, full explanation time.

I think there is a good chance that if we take in refugees we will be attacked. I think we have to do it anyway. First, because we are human beings with human compassion and it is the right thing to do. Each person we turn away would be at least living in a hellish situation and just might be killed. It's like Schindler's List. Each one is a life we could save. Think about it this way. Each year over 10,000 people die in firearms homicides in this country. ( ) Each year there are over 30,000 auto related deaths. ( ) Each year untold hundreds of thousands die from heart disease, diabetes and other diet related health issues. And yet we still have guns, Big Macs, and cars. Why? Because on some level we realize life is inherently dangerous and choose to live a life based on our principles in spite of the danger. Compassion is one of those principles. This is my first, and probably most important, argument.

But there is more.

As I said, I understand there is no diplomatic negotiation that will ever work with ISIS. There is no appeasement. None of that will work. Ever. And yet we cannot just go in there dropping bombs and killing people.

When the time comes to fight ISIS, it will likely require a commitment to war the like Sherman's march to the sea or Genghis Khan. I don't know if you know this, but many in the South are still pissed off by that whole Sherman thing, it leaves a lasting impression. This type of warfare will require things most Americans are uncomfortable with, hell, most of the world will be uncomfortable with and unlike previous wars, all of it will be news. They are teaching grade school children to fight and be suicide bombers as you know. (PBS Frontline ISIS in Afghanistan - ) You cannot win a war like that without a steel resolve that is currently not present either here or in the international community. We would be committing unjustified atrocities. This would feed directly in to the desire of the enemy.

Their entire worldview, from recruitment to retention, their propaganda, their entire identity and narrative relies on their heroic opposition to an oppressive Western World. Unfortunately, they have a lot of material with which to work. They can point to countless instances of Westerners, predominantly Christian westerners negatively meddling in their world. From propping up dictatorial regimes, to dropping bombs and drone strikes and collateral damage, we have bettered our own state by degrading theirs. Our tragedies make worldwide news and theirs aren't even mentioned. How many Iraqi and Syrian citizens, not ISIS or Taliban, but just plain old trying to raise a family in my culture people, have died by military or terrorist violence (not just at US hands, but total) this century alone? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? I would be willing to wager the overwhelming majority of the western world couldn't even answer the proper order of magnitude, much less get within a stone's throw of the real number.* Four dead people in Benghazi get more news time and attention than hundreds of thousands of dead Muslims in the middle east and Africa. The current narrative is that we are a racist, selfish country within our own borders and in the larger world. There is an alarming amount of evidence to back up this claim. ** I will not definitively state it is true, but there is more than enough evidence to support that as a viable narrative. If we go in there arrogant and mad, we feed that narrative more fuel. That increases the resolve and recruitment of the enemy. Now, we are sending in our boys and girls to fight a larger, fiercer and more determined enemy. How does that help?

Here is how I hope it happens.

First, we accept refugees. Again, because we are compassionate and aren't freaking evil. Also, because it helps reduce the impression in the world that we are Muslim hating, racist assholes. We will encourage and support those who do decide to go in and fight ISIS. The people that live in and around that region will be forced to fight or be killed. As we know, ISIS isn't big at the bargaining table. I think of ISIS like Ebola. It is too virulent and deadly to spread as far as it could. It burns through the population so fast and so thoroughly that nobody has time to leave to spread it or survives long enough to take it out of the region. Still dangerous as hell, but we can contain it. Leave it to fester in the region and highlight the barbarism, depravity, and horror they are dealing out to their own people. The whole world sees it up close and in constant coverage. Hopefully, it burns out on it's own, like Ebola. Contain it and they kill off so many people and their barbarism shows through the flames of their own hatred will be their demise. It is my understanding that they hold executions near constantly and mass executions with regularity. It wont be long before there is no one left to support them. Every one of their fighters that is busy baking bread and fixing the plumbing is one that isn't firing a rifle or building an IED. And they didn't just take the territory they hold from no one. There are interested parties that want that land back. We need to reduce the flow of people to their side. We have to prove we are the good guys. It would be foolhardy to assume anybody else sees us automatically as the good guys.  Especially in the middle east.

If we are attacked, especially by a refugee or refugees, we still don't go in there unless the attack is so bad the entire world understands why we go. They kill 200 people, we don't go. That doesn't justify the type of warfare we will need to conduct to to any damn good. I don't know what size attack it would take, but I bet the whole world will know it if we see it. Think Pearl Harbor.

What I'm afraid will happen is we will be attacked and go in there trying to fight a war like we did in Iraq. Hell, even The Onion, knew going into Iraq was stupid. ( Let me repeat that. THE ONION had a better grasp of the consequences of the invasion of Iraq than the Presidential administration of the time. We cannot afford to make that mistake again. We get drawn in, still looking like the bad guys to the Muslim world. Every disenfranchised, unemployed, and oppressed Muslim in the world sees validation of the ISIS narrative. It is the Christian West against the Islamic East. I don't think even 1% of Muslims buy in to that, but even 0.9% of 1.3 billion keeps a war going for a loooong time. Do you think the people and countries that would like to see American power diminished in the world would feel sorry for us and not mess with us while we were so occupied with this long, drawn out culture war? Yeah, me either. Now we are pouring money and children into a meat grinder while we diminish our standing in the world community and allowing the more adversarial countries a freer reign while we are busy. None of that helps us. Reduce our treasury, our status and our people. Already we have problems with debt and helping our veterans I can think of nothing that would exacerbate those problems more than getting into another war. We may yet have to anyway. But let it be our last resort.

I heard someone say something that I think is a perfect fit for this situation. You can't kill an ideology with a bullet.

But you sure can create one.

* I submit this site only to provide an estimate.  I don't assert that this site has totally accurate information but would likely provide an accurate range.  This doesn't include Syria or Afghanistan.  Imagine the chaos if the USA had 10% of those casualties.  This is a humanitarian nightmare of incredible proportions and for the most part we just shrug. Is it any wonder we create more and more enemies in the region?

** Missing white woman syndrome, Beirut attacks go unnoticed while Paris gets world wide continuous coverage, Black Lives Matter, US incarceration rates highest in the world with a disproportionate amount of those imprisoned being minority. I could go on and on, (Ferguson, Eric Garner) I hear you saying those aren't proof of anything and you are totally right. But, there is a legitimate perception of this in the world with evidence. Perception is what matters in this instance.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Education & Understanding.

I have a message to many of my liberal friends, and it concerns safety.

I think that we all agree the the most important aspect of safety is education. Time and time again we have seen that repressing knowledge of a subject in an effort to curb it doesn't work. In fact, it is likely to worsen any existing problems associated with that subject. Take sex and sexuality for instance. We have all seen the damage done by disinformation and repression haven't we? The religious right fought to keep people ignorant for years. We often attribute homophobia, abuse, unwanted pregnancy and untold other sexual dysfunction on lack of knowledge and understanding. Education can curb those problems pretty well. If we gain a better understanding, we can improve the situation.

Alcohol and drugs too. A misunderstanding of mechanisms of addiction coupled with repression and lack of education have brought about significant and serious problems in our society. The more we understand about these subjects, the better we are able to educate against some of the pitfalls of misuse of alcohol and drugs. I have noticed a wonderful trend lately toward education and understanding and think that has and will continue to have a positive impact on crime and many of the social problems associated with the stigmatization of drug use. Education and understanding are keys to integrating potentially dangerous human drives and desires into a peaceful and cooperative society.

Not to mention that we should be pretty much free to do what we want with ourselves. It should be assumed that we are intelligent enough to navigate our way through these potentially difficult and troublesome problems with a little education.

Why can't we do this with guns?

There are those, in some of the more liberal circles, who think we should have massive restrictions on guns and gun ownership. They don't even like to talk, or I suspect think, about gun ownership. Some are probably even a little phobic about guns. Why is that?

I think it is, like most irrationally strong fears, derived from ignorance.

Why isn't there a push for a mandatory gun safety class in schools? If we educate children about guns and speak honestly to children about the uses and dangers of guns, why can't we improve our gun violence problem in this country? If every child in every school had to learn about guns and their safe, basic operation, couldn't we eliminate some of the accidental shootings? If we use our gun safety class as an opportunity to talk about seriuos injuries and death, could we help them start to understand the implications of gun violence on themselves and their families? Maybe we could even reduce some of the fetishistic nature of guns by removing some of the mystique. And if a teacher does see someone who responds in a peculiar way about guns, wouldn't that be nice to know?

I can't really see a downside to this idea. If we continue to just shout for restrictions, we will drive a further division between ourselves and some people who may be more like us than we think. And continued to anhance the forbidden allure of guns to many of those same people who are least capable of handling the responsibility of gun ownership. Most responsible gun owners could be very liberal in some respects. We need to support gun rights as long as it is accompanied by gun education. Lets use knowledge and understanding to help solve the problem instead of letting repression and fear exacerbate it.

Monday, June 1, 2015


One of the longtime arguments for man's subjugation of animals has been based on intelligence.

I don't know if that's our strong suit guys. I mean sure, every once in a while one person in a few million or so comes along and advances our society or our technology or our culture, but for the most part...

Seriously. They say animals can't reason things out like we do. They only have instinct and mimicry. They can only do what they're taught.

Who taught you to tie your shoes? Or did you reason that one out on your own? Maybe it was too hard and you went with velcro. How about reading? Figured that one all out by yourself did ya?

No, you didn't. You were taught.

And you mimicked it as best you could until, eventually, you understood it well enough to do it on your own. If you were smart. If you weren't smart, you just did enough to let the person teaching you see you could do it and left it at that.

And everything you did reason out on your own, you only did because you were taught the fundamentals of how to do it. Do you think you have that same insight about the crappy relationships if you never learned to read? How about if you never learned to speak a language? All of it is taught, all of it.

Well, why aren't animals teaching things, smart ass? I know you ask these things. Well, at the moment we are killing them as fast as we can. Do you think a cow is going to come up with calculus or grammar when we raise them to late adolescence and then kill them for a burger? We take the largest and most muscular and set them aside to breed while we remove any impetus for development by providing food, shelter and restricted sexual opportunity and then demean them for being stupid.

Shows you how good we are at reason.

I want to float an idea here, just being zany. Maybe the Garden Of Eden was a metaphor for a long remembered time when we viewed the other animal occupants of this planet as more equal to ourselves. The evil started when we decided to subjugate them for our benefit and the knowledge we we ate was the understanding that as long as we continue to demean the other animals on this planet, we can never have paradise. Innocence lost, right?

Be nice to animals, they are smarter than you think.