Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, ISIS did what ISIS does – blow up churches full of innocent people. To really break your heart, you can read this story of one of our newest martyrs, and one of the youngest.

I do believe that if someone were to strike me on one cheek, if I were to really follow Christ’s teaching, I’d turn to him the other. On the other hand, if I see someone moving to strike another person, I believe I have a moral obligation to try and stop them. We are not, I believe, to stand aside while evil is being done, if we can in any way prevent it. So, we must battle ISIS. It isn’t a choice. It isn’t about nation building, or defense policy, or foreign policy, of political issues – it is a simple choice to run to ground those who have, in a very real sense, outlawed themselves from civil society.

Before anyone gets all about Muslims on this, do keep in mind that at least several Muslims gave their lives trying to protect those Christian churches. There is a deep problem in Islam: this is something which cannot be ignored and we dare not ignore it. Our lives and the lives of large numbers of innocent people – including Muslims – depends on our facing the truth. The problem will Islam will not go away merely by our fighting ISIS – vital as that task is: it will only go away when the Muslim world, itself, starts to work vigorously against those who spread the poison of ISIS. And that, I think, won’t happen until we stand firmly against ISIS and groups like them, and demonstrate to the world that we will not tolerate their actions…nor tolerate those who turn a blind eye, hoping that ISIS attacks them last.

19 thoughts on “Palm Sunday

  1. rustybrown2014 April 10, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    Not sure what you mean by “we must battle ISIS”, but if you mean it in the literal sense, i.e. intensified military involvement with the possibility of ground troops, I strongly disagree. Bad things happen all over the world and we’ll run out of money and lives to sacrifice if we try to combat every one of them. We are in an era where we must look after our national interests first. Having said that we should obviously keep a close monitor on the situation and do all we can to keep them in a box and help the victims of their brutality.

    • Amazona April 10, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      The problem with this is what districts have faced when they have decreed that police chases will not cross certain boundaries. This kind of rule actually promoted running from police because there was a rule in place that said it could be done with impunity as long as the chase fell within certain boundaries. Cross the line and you are home free. The same mentality would appear if we were to have a policy of non-intervention—–ISIS and other bad actors would continue to push the limits to see how far they could go. And such a rule would mean that it would require all sorts of meetings, approvals, etc. prior to every strike.

      While we don’t necessarily have to put troops on the ground whenever something like this crops up, I also don’t think it wise to announce that we will not send in ground troops. I think every now and then we should, just to keep that threat alive and hopefully act as a deterrent.

      I would like to see a general agreement among the US and other nations that we will, every now and then, take action, whether to shut down a terrorist headquarters or to rescue captives or whatever, and we will not ask permission on a case by case basis. If a country tells us “We have this problem and would like you to help us with it” that is one thing, but if we see a problem and there is concern that prior notice would find its way to the bad guys, we should just move in and get the job done. This would be the trade-off for providing “…intel support, logistical support and air support if needed…”

      I like the idea of ISIS and other groups never really knowing what might happen, or when, or how. Keep them guessing. I think we should go in and take out a small core group, lie low for a while, then respond as we did in Syria with some noise to go along with it, then maybe have a big raid with lots of troops flown in for that one purpose and then flown out again. I think we should be unpredictable and lethal, and not hampered by ROE that limit our ability to move quickly and decisively.

      If we are stuck with playing Whack-A-Mole, we should at least keep the moles guessing as to which one will be hit, when and how hard.

      In the meantime we should be informing civilians that if they are near bad guys they are at risk. I’d like to see a flood of pamphlets, radio broadcasts, etc. telling people that hiding behind civilians is cowardly and unmanly and it will not protect the cowards but it may end up in getting those civilians killed along with them. The populace needs to start taking sides. If they won’t based on religion and ideology, they might if it means survival.

      • rustybrown2014 April 10, 2017 / 8:02 pm

        I’m not talking about “announcing” anything, much less that we will never resort to sending in ground troops. I like Trump’s style of close to the vest military strategy. Keep ‘em guessing, yes. All options on the table is fine with me and I’m liking Trump’s missile strike more and more if it proves to be a one-off mission in direct response to a provocation. I think those missiles sent a message to the world’s bad actors that there’s more than talk to this administration.

        My view is that our default position should be non-interventionalist unless it’s in our immediate national interest or unless someone pisses us off in some heinous way. The fact of the matter is ISIS is not attacking us at the moment and we have no immediate vested interest in meddling in foreign cesspools no matter how odious their local situation.

      • Amazona April 11, 2017 / 10:06 am

        I’m with you on this, Rusty, with one caveat: I think we should step in and kick ass when we see something like the Janjaweed atrocities.

        Military training is, by definition, dangerous in and of itself. Trainees die in training every day. We don’t hear much about it unless we live near a military base, but it happens. We also have a nation of blessed safety and luxury. I think sending out young people out to help the seriously oppressed, when the depredation is so clearly not just a mutual aggression as we have seen in Sudan, will serve the dual purpose of adding to military training and exposing young people to the reality of life outside our comfortable little bubble.

        I think this would give us better trained military men and women, would give us citizens more aware of what life is like in other places in the world, and would build an image of the United States as a moral nation and a strong nation unafraid to use its might for good. That would be a good message to put out there for a lot of reasons.

    • M. Noonan April 10, 2017 / 11:04 pm

      I disagree – not, perhaps, in the larger sense you mean, but in the details…these guys of ISIS are the very definition of what “out law” meant in the Middle Ages…people who have removed themselves from the protection of the laws. They have to be hunted down and taken or killed. Wherever they are, wherever they go. If that, at times, requires sending in the troops, then so be it – but I’m perfectly ok with putting a bounty on them and issuing Letters of Marque to any private group who wants to go get them, at entirely their own risk.

      • rustybrown2014 April 11, 2017 / 1:32 am

        Mark, for all your good intentions we can’t hunt down and kill all the bad guys in the world. We just can’t. That should be obvious. The bad guys never end.

      • rustybrown2014 April 11, 2017 / 2:06 am

        …and on that depressing note, there is no Santa…I’m here all night!

      • M. Noonan April 12, 2017 / 1:12 am

        There are, however, Marines…and guys who would do it who are not Marines.

      • Amazona April 11, 2017 / 10:08 am

        I agree that we can’t possibly rout out and kill all the bad guys, but we can make it clear that once they start to inflict their brutality on others they are fair game. I think the apparently random targeting of one group or another with lethal consequences would serve to keep them fairly well contained.

      • Cluster April 11, 2017 / 7:09 pm

        I am still trying to get over the Santa thing

      • Amazona April 15, 2017 / 8:07 pm

        Santa is months away. Right now I’m worried about the Easter Bunny.

  2. Cluster April 10, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    I agree with Rusty, we simply can not afford to fight this seemingly never ending battle of Islamic extremism, particularly considering the current mess we find our own country in. I think what we can do though is give confidence to the Muslim countries who are willing to engage in the battle, ie; Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. and give them assurances that we can provide intel support, logistical support and air support if needed, but they are the ones who will have to do the heavy lifting.

    • Retired Spook April 11, 2017 / 12:26 pm

      I agree we can’t fight Islamic extremism everywhere, all the time, but we do, IMO, have the capability to defeat the main elements of ISIS in pretty short order. The problem is it will involve “collateral damage,” and we, at least up to now, have not had the political will to do whatever it takes. I think we’ll see in the fairly near future whether or not that mindset changes.

      • Amazona April 11, 2017 / 2:57 pm

        I’ve always wondered at what seems to be the failure of our government/military to hammer home the fact that “collateral damage” so often depends on the citizens tolerating and moving among terrorists. I know that there have been cases where terrorists held citizens hostage, as in hospitals or schools. to hide behind, but we don’t seem to be seeing that here.

        People are not stupid. If they are informed over and over again that proximity to bad guys is dangerous, and this is reinforced by seeing what happens to people who were in proximity to bad guys when they are targeted with lethal results, at some time bad guys are going to be somewhat isolated. And those who chose to associate with them are making the decision to take that risk.

        It would also lend itself to the important message that we only want to hurt bad people who are trying to hurt us. In WW II we routinely dropped pamphlets on Germany, and I think also on Japan, warning the populace of dangers of war. I don’t ever hear of us doing this now.

      • Amazona April 11, 2017 / 2:59 pm

        We also have to make it IMPERATIVE that Islam clean itself up, from within. That is, to isolate purely religious Islam from the political aspect, and have the moderate reform Islamists publicly disassociate themselves from the hate-driven murderous fanatics.

      • jdge1 April 11, 2017 / 5:06 pm

        Though we may hear of people stating they practice the “religion” of Islam, but do not subscribe to the tenants that dictate or advocate for violence, I find it very difficult to term Islam as anything but a political dogma of control and domination, wrapped in a shell of concealment portrayed as a religious entity. That’s not to say there aren’t people who profess to be followers of Islam who don’t want the destructive aspects of that teaching, but it seems they are a very small minority. So under the current mindset of the leaders and as a result the majority of the followers, I don’t see how they can, much less want to, change from within.

      • Amazona April 12, 2017 / 1:38 pm

        Some highly regarded Islamic scholars have been writing about the need for Islam to engage in reform, to isolate the religious aspects from the political and violent aspects, and in so doing renounce the ugly world domination by murder aspect of Islam.

        Every other religion has had its reformation periods. At one time Christianity was the Catholic Church, and now there are something like 1600 Christian religions. We have Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews, and so on.

        I believe that identifying Islam as a political movement will accomplish a couple of things. The first would be to remove it from the protections provided by being seen as a religion, such as making it possible to have surveillance of mosques and arrest and/or deportation for preaching against the United States. The other would be to accelerate the necessary reform process, so some Muslims could affiliate with Reformed Islam and these mosques could be treated with the same respect we give to churches and temples.

        It would be a long process. In early stages it might be seen as dangerous to openly identify as a Reform Muslim, fearing reprisals from Orthodox Muslims. but that would be temporary. Certainly a lot of people would lie and claim to be Reform while still clinging to the political aspect of Islam that exists today, but these would be weeded out. As soon as a mosque tolerates political speech, it loses its status as a Reform mosque and is identified as a political movement, with all that means. It would take generations to make a serious difference, but it would be a start, and I think there is a strong psychological element to having to think it through, study what each element of Islam says and means, make a public choice between them, and if the choice is Reformed Islam to renounced and denounce the violence of Orthodox Islam.

        Also, once a group is identifies as a political movement, its teachings can be openly argued and criticized, unlike a religion.

      • jdge1 April 13, 2017 / 5:12 am

        How would you differentiate the religious Islam from the political Islam? I think that in itself can be very tricky and could potentially ensnarl other religions into a web it was not intended. For example, many religions advocate against abortion. That stance could be deemed a political stance (of course this depends on who provides the definition) designating any religion who advocates as such, a political entity. While I agree with your overall suggestion, I’d be leery about who decides the rules defining the specifics of what constitutes political aspects of a following and what does not.

      • Amazona April 13, 2017 / 8:44 am

        The Koran evidently contains passages demanding jihad against all nonbelievers and a goal of world domination by Islam. I think anything that refers to the killing of nonbelievers and/or taking over the world (and I know I am painting with a broad brush here) would seem to be outside the arena of salvation and redemption and a closer relationship with God, which I think would be a common definition of religion.

        I don’t personally know enough about Islam to be specific but I have read articles by and about top Islamic scholars who want to reform Islam because of its elements of hatred, violence and world domination.

        I suggest that demanding governance by Sharia law would be something not included in Reform Islam, which would have the effect of allowing Muslims to swear allegiance to nations and accept their laws, effectively eliminating things like stoning and “honor killings”.

        For example, many religions advocate against abortion Yes, they do, as well as murder and adultery, etc. But these, when part of religious teachings, have spiritual penalties. Because we have laws against murder in addition to the commandment to not take a life doesn’t mean there is a conflict here. Our society is full of overlapping of religious prohibitions and civil law, without any problem.

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