How many times do we have to go through the hysteria cycle, accomplishing little and often doing serious harm, before addressing wrenching problems in ways that might actually work. We have started into another hysteria cycle after the inhuman, grotesque and deeply painful coordinated massacre in Paris.
We have Republican Governors attempting to leverage political advantage out of the honored dead of Paris by screaming that they will not allow something to happen over which they have absolutely no control and absolutely no reason to attempt to do other than to gain a perceived political score. The CIA is again saying that we must “white out” some parts of the Bill of Rights to achieve some unattainable goal of 100% protection from crazy, religious fanatics who sully the name of great religious prophet by using murder and torture in his name. We have one serious contender for the nomination for President of one of the major political parties in the country saying that we should search, survail, and probably shut down all the religious structures of a single religious group. Who is it that does not remember the closing and destruction of Synagogues in Germany in the 1930s?
The United States has a long history of throwing gasoline on fires to make things better. In the 20th Century alone we have gone through two “red scares” where we managed to ruin hundreds of lives and sully the precepts of our democracy while only tangentially dealing with the real issues that generated the hysteria. Without individual probable cause we herded hundreds of American citizens into concentration camps at the outset of our participation in WW II. One big earlier immigration scare was about all those nasty people from Ireland and Italy overwhelming the country with ignorant peasants who did not speak English, or at least English we could understand, threatening to destroy the American way…whatever that was at the time.
The militant fanatics of ISIS and other self proclaimed protectors of Islam are a serious and dangerous problem that as a country we must address. We will not succeed in dealing with the dangers raised by them by saying to all the other believers in Islam, we will treat all of you like criminals. Rather, we should say to them that their religious freedom will be honored by the United States just as the religious freedom of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Sikhs, and the hundreds of other religious seekers is. Part of that tolerance though is that they too will join Americans in speaking out and working to end the religious intolerance and murderous actions of that minority of the self proclaimed followers of Islam who commit atrocities such as New York, Paris, Lebanon, and Russian commercial aircraft.
The great majority of Muslims, regardless of their sect and sectarian differences, find the actions of ISIS and other radical crazies of the world as appalling as we do. We now must demand that the countries where these people live aggressively step up to join with us in shutting them down. We must no longer tolerate the flow of millions of dollars through individuals or governments in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Indonesia and other countries to pay for the weapons and infrastructure that supports these groups. We must say to these countries and individuals that we will act if they will not to stop money going to these idiots and suffer the consequences of our actions. We must start attacking the oil wells, refineries and oil delivery systems that groups like ISIS use to get money. The International Bank of Settlements must stop allowing these transactions to move through its systems. We must convince Russia and China that this battle is theirs to lose as much as it is ours. As “anonymous” has done we must attack the electronic systems directly used by these terrorist organizations to befuddle and confuse their ability to communicate.
We can organize and carry out strategic and tactical, economic, military and electronic actions against these people who randomly kill and destroy. We can only do this with the full cooperation of the large majority of the other countries in the world joining us in this work, or if they refuse, taking action to accomplish what needs to be done regardless of their lack of cooperation and the possible ramifications of such action on our part. We will not get cooperation or achieve success if we once again throw gas on the burning fire of a serious problem with political posturing, simplistic blathering, and thinking that to accomplish what needs to be done their will be no repercussions to our country and economy.
We will lose regardless if the work that must be done is accompanied by applying “white out” to parts of the Bill of Rights or demonizing hundreds of millions of people who, through no choice or action of their own, share a religion with a group of psychotic zealots.