Sunday, March 27, 2016

Commentary - Naiveté Kills

Naiveté:  lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.
               innocence or unsophistication.

In many ways we . . . the “western world” . . . remain asleep.  We find comfort in our tablets, iPhones, Androids, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype . . . a virtual endless stream is entertainment and distraction.  It allows us to continue our slumber and to shake off momentary interruptions like the latest in Brussels as we did those in Paris and San Bernardino.

These distractions allow us to “mourn” as well by viewing videos of people holding candles, laying flowers, placing teddy bears and notes of sympathy.  It places a safe distance between the results of nails ripping through flesh and us – safe in our homes dozens to thousands of miles away.  There is a global gasp, a mutual outpouring of emotion and finally a collective sigh that we and our family are “safe”.  One moment we watch the explosion’s flash on YouTube . . . and then quickly thumb over to the latest music video . . . secure in our safety.

Safe in our slumber . . . our innocence . . . our naiveté.

How do you awaken folks to the fact the we are in a war with an existential threat?  That this war, in one fashion or another, we well over a millennium old.  That it has been fought with everything from a short sword to poison gas.  And that within the next decade or so that inventory will likely include nuclear weapons.

How do you get past the blather that ranges from the Pope kissing the feet of Syrian “refugees” and proclaiming that ISIS will be defeated by love?  Or the presidential candidates saying we will carpet bomb them out of existence.

As with most things, it’s more complicated than either of these two bookends would indicate.  Take some time to roll through this Pew poll on Islam and Muslims from December of last year.  And while you read the printed percentage numbers . . . do a mental calculation of the difference between the printed number and 100%. 

Some take-aways for me . . .

  • Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet, growing at over twice the rate that the population is growing.

  • There are currently 1.6 Billion Muslims in the world today.

  • The primary band of Islamic influence extends from Eastern Africa through the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and into the Philippines. This represents 62% of the global population . . . or nearly 1 billion people.

  • Well over 50% of that population desire full implementation of Sharia Law.

  • Favorable views of ISIS range between 6% to 20% in this belt of influence.  This implies that between 60 Million and 200 Million Muslims find the actions and policies of ISIS acceptable.

  • Around 8% of all Muslims interviewed justified the use of suicide bombings in some circumstances.  It we extend this particular number to the estimated 1.8 million adults (there are currently an estimated 2.75 Muslims in the US) this would lead to an estimated 144,000 Muslims within the us that see value in suicide bombers under certain circumstances.

  • Roughly half of the Muslims interviewed in the us are dissatisfied that their leaders have not spoken out more against radical Islam . . . and the other half are not.

Bottom line . . . we . . . western civilization . . . regardless of how the borders are drawn . . . are at war with an army of between 60 Million and 200 Million souls.

And yet we feel safe in our slumber . . . our naiveté . . . our distractions.

So between  . . . kissing the feet of our enemies . . . and . . . carpet bombing them out of existence . . . what are our options and how can we awaken from slumber and our naiveté?

A few thoughts . . .

Stop “pretending not to know” . . . there is a problem with Islam – period.

Muslim leaders must lead their people in the direction of sanity . . . not destruction.  The problem here is that much of the leadership has been radicalized and that our friends is Saudi Arabia are a large part of this particular problem.  At a minimum, Muslim leaders within the US must be encouraged and expected to speak out full voice against the acts of ISIS/ISIL/DASH. 

We are under no obligation to take in refugees from troubled countries unless each and every person can be fully vetted.  Our current policy implies that we can do this from Africa to the Philippines and is foolishness – as the couple from San Bernardino clearly shows. An indefinite pause on immigration from this region as well as any European country currently accepting people in this current migration should be implemented immediately . . . today . . . now!

We must understand that this is a multi-generational war, and our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will deal with this threat.  That’s a hard line to type yet time-wise it covers only 60 years.  I suspect the resolution to this problem will take much longer.

We need to be willing to stand and fight.  I worry about this particular point.  I hear how tired our nation is, how we can’t afford a strong defense.  I see how quickly we are disarming . . . yet, I suspect kissing the feet of ISIS/ISIL/DASH will do little to defend us.  The US has traditionally only moved to defend itself after great pain has been inflicted.  These small attacks – deaths in the 20s, injuries in the low hundreds – seem to be below the threshold of pain that prompts action.  I suspect that is not accidental – and I suspect the operational pace will continue.  It’s been 14 years and 6 months since 9/11/2001.  To date there have been 28,041 since 9/11.  In the past 30 days there were 136 Islamic attacks in 25 countries, in which 1016 people were killed and 2914 injured.   Our enemy are “true believers”, they are dedicated, focused, skilled and plentiful.  We ignore them at our peril.  Larger attacks will come – to people, to infrastructure – eventually it will be enough to prompt us to action.

We need to get past the idea that the issue is not Islam . . . because it is.  When you have 60 to 200 MILLION believers in a faith bent on the conquest, subjugation and domination of all “non-believers” . . . that particular faith has a very real problem.  Obviously those within the faith have the best chance at moderation and shifting its path.  However, finding a large enough portion that will loudly and consistently condemn these acts seems to be difficult.  Until a change is seen and actions are taken by the Muslim community as a whole . . . Islam is, indeed, the problem.

Finally – a foundational principle from the Republican Party of Iowa . . .

5: Personal Responsibility is the primary duty of all citizens.

We are a nation of individuals held together by a common vision. We are not servants of the government; we are not dependent on the largess of society for our survival. Our possibilities are limitless; they not should be limited by our local, state and federal government. We are individuals, we are citizens of our country and we – and we alone – are responsible for our successes and failures.

As a nation we’ve become more and more dependent on the government for both services and protection.  In many respects we’ve become indentured to the government – held by the promise of money, jobs, protection and a better life.  Our parents and grandparents looked in the mirror and to friends and neighbors when they needed a hand.  We’ve chosen “big brother”.  It is profoundly naïve to believe a 911 call will bring the police quickly enough to prevent our loved ones from being killed.  It is profoundly naïve to believe our federal government has deep enough pockets to provide us our every need.  It is profoundly naïve to trust a government with our individual security when they have proven over and over again to being unable to protect us on either home or foreign soil.  Look in the mirror . . . because that person, and that person alone is responsible for your successes and failures, your well being and your individual defense.   

While kissing the feet of your mortal enemy may allow us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside . . . no one should be surprised when we take a bullet to the chest as we reach out to give them a hug.

Our naiveté as individuals and a nation . . . will get us killed.

It is time we set aside the man made distractions . . . and paid attention to the man made threats . . .

1 comment:

  1. I agree, but I fear there are many who do not care to listen. The current apathy in this country is astounding. There are a few in my extended family that believe not eating meat and holding hands will make all this bad stuff go away. GRRR...