I’m a Jihadi, he’s a Jihadi, she’s a Jihadi, we’re all Jihadis, wouldn’t you like to be a Jihadi, too?
[Sung to the tune of the old Dr. Pepper adverts]
I’ve been contemplating on why so many people are flocking to the ISIS banner – not just from the Middle East but from the world at large.
Of course, one of the apparently effective recruiting tools the Jihadis use is to claim that America is just interested in the indiscriminate killing of Muslims.
So I thought about that.
What would make them think that about America?
And then it hit me. They might just be on to something.
Around 2004, as the shock of 9/11 started to wear off, the Democrats started pressing their war by half measure ideas and then in 2006 when control of Congress gave them a full suite of Bush opposition tools, they went full theater of the absurd/man caused disaster event. The big change is that where Bush intended to actually win, the Democrats never did.
And we kept killing Muslims with no intent to win.
Then the majority of Americans who were evidently born without cerebellums like that 24 year-old in China – and/or perhaps high in anticipation of the legalization of pot voted for Obama who immediately promised an end to the wars for oil of the evil Chimpy McBushHitler and Darth Cheney. To put the proverbial cherry on top, he immediately issued an executive order to close GITMO – by a date uncertain, of course.
He then lead from behind in Libya, recorded more drone strikes than Bush and GITMO stayed open.
And yet we kept killing Muslims with no intent to win.
Fast forward to September of 2014 when we hear that we are going to destroy and degrade ISIS until it is a “manageable problem” – later in the week we get 15 minutes of flashy rhetoric in which President Obama vowed to destroy ISIS, not in a war, but in a “long-term counterterrorism operation” according to the French looking, John “Francois” Kerry (who served in Vietnam).
Unsurprisingly, very few people outside the Marie Harf Fan Club believe that the President actually meant that he would actually adhere to the dictionary definition of “destroy” – as pretty much every word spoken by anyone in this Administration has an alternate meaning.
I think the Jihadis will decode Obama’s comment much as I did. “Destroy” in Obamaspeak means “Kill more Muslims without the intent to win because it looks like I am doing something.”
This is the genesis of the claim that America is just interested in indiscriminate and perpetual killing of Muslims. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% behind the whacking of our enemies by any methods necessary but when we don’t have a strategy or a will to actually win, we are, in fact, just killing Muslims. If I can see that, so can the Jihadis.
That’s what they don’t get.
They know that they aren’t going to stop unless we actually go all Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary definition of destroy on their collective Jihadi asses and actually win.
They intend to win – what they don’t understand is why we don’t.
Because they know we aren’t trying to win (as they are), they have concluded (perhaps correctly so) that we are only interested in random killing and perpetual slaughter without end.
Jihadis are pretty simple folk when it comes to battles and war. They look them in a binary, zero or one fashion. I win, you lose or vice versa – no middle ground, no compromise. They don’t do, understand or care about rhetorical or political “victories”. They only care about the actual physical victory for their ideology over their enemies. They have to wonder if they know that they are never going to stop until they are killed and defeated, why we don’t.
Once upon a time, we understood it.
We understood that the purpose of our military is to kill people and break things.
The issue that the Jihadis recognize is that our “modern” concept of war does not match the reality of the act. In history, war had a definite purpose; it was defense from an advancing enemy, the resolution of a political dispute or in support of an advancing empire. There was a prize to be won, something residual of value to the winner of the conflict, something concrete to be gained…that’s how ISIS defines it today.
Not America. Now our definitions of war are political system change, no collateral damage, police actions and nation building. These all come with indefinite time tables and lack a clear objective – there is no metric to determine when the war is over.
We simply can’t be stuck in the middle here. War does not favor the moderate. I do not want another soldier to die when we have the power to prevent it so in the event we decide to go to war, we owe our troops the political will to commit enough destruction so that both our enemies and the societies that they live among know that they are defeated. They need to know exactly what price they will pay if they decide to continue. It is distasteful, it is harsh and it is inhuman but to do less creates a prolonged, protracted event that never will be resolved to an endpoint.
Ronald Reagan was once asked what his plan was to defeat the Soviets. He reportedly told Richard Allen, who would become his first National Security Adviser, that his long-term strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union was simple: “we win, they lose”.
There is a sentiment any Jihadi would understand.