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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,218

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I believe Jihadists must be forcefully countered

Forcefully does not always mean "with force", but sometimes it does mean that, and I believe the use of force is an important aspect of countering Jihadists now. I have always resisted the use of force, essentially by anyone anywhere. But there are always exceptions to that for me, though rarely if ever at the full scale of war. Not all jihadists are the same, obviously, but a virulent strain has been growing at the fringes of Islam. Even Al Qaeda as we knew it was not as extreme as ISIS or Boko Haram have become. Bin Ladin initially fought against the Russians for invading Afghanistan, and he first turned his sights onto America because we established military bases in Saudi Arabia, the home of Islams must sacred sites. Al Qaeda justified terrorism using convoluted religious arguments, but it did not call for the death of "non-believers"precisely because they were "non-believers". That is the trajectory the most extreme jihadists are on now.They are seeking a holy war because they see holy war as intrinsically desirable in order to spread their own version of their faith.

It is an ideology/theology that sanctions genocide as a morally justifiable, virtually required, means towards their end. It is an ideology/theology that embraces literal slavery as an institution to practice and spread in the name of God. And they are gaining momentum, territory and adherents. They represent a brutal expansionist force more akin to naked colonialism as it was practiced from the 16th into the early 20th Century than to more traditional organized Islamist movements such as Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. It is more like an early stage of Germany's Third Reich, with a potent virulent belief system that openly justifies the most barbaric acts against those who it does not assign basic human rights or dignity to on a mass level. Like with hard core Stalinism the end will justify any means, and those beliefs are enshrined at the highest level of the movement, openly and proudly. In their version of reality it is immoral NOT to act in that way.

That level of moral sanction given to inhuman behavior, that extreme a black and white world view without inconvenient moral ambiguities clouding the certainty of judgement, can be deceptively potent if not forcefully challenged head on. The problem is that the United States of America is in critical ways ill suited to lead that challenge. We do exercise real power and power has a role to play, but power devoid of moral authority will not win this struggle, not soon and not easily- that much seems certain. to me

If Islamic leaders, both in and out of government, need the encouragement of American military backing to take on this fight full force, we can play a role. For that reason I for the moment support the military actions taken by the Obama Administration against ISIS. I support even more its intense diplomatic efforts to expand the coalition of resistance to murderous jihadism. This could became the epic struggle of our generation or more. Done with caution, done within a unifying framework much broader than the U.S. and it's European allies, this is an imperative struggle of a different scale and purpose than mere territorial and resource ambitions that often lie at the root of most wars. We may blow this in a near infinite number of ways, and distort the conflict to serve narrow capitalist and imperial interests, but we are now up against a growing ideology that is anathema to almost all of our core values.
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