Monday, December 14, 2015

Why Are We Declaring War on a Bunch of Punks?

Because the repugs can't get it up unless we're massacring brown folks. And they can't win elections unless they've got everybody terrified of a boogeyman under the bed.

Maybe some of these right wing panic artists will listen to Daniel Larison at the American Conservative. (I doubt it, but it's worth a try.)
The truth is that ISIS and its affiliates don’t pose an “existential threat” to Western societies, and it is laughable to think that they ever could. They arguably don’t pose an “existential threat” to anyone except the people that have unfortunately fallen under their control and possibly their immediate neighbors. At the very least, the threat they pose to us and to other Western nations remains a relatively small and manageable one. The only real “existential threat” that Western nations have faced since WWII was the Soviet Union and their satellites, and in the end the threat from them proved to be a manageable one that the U.S. and its allies successfully faced down and outlasted. ISIS poses a much smaller threat to the U.S. and its allies than the Soviets ever did, and we should not inflate that threat into something that it clearly isn’t. The problem isn’t just that threat inflation is bad analysis (though it is), but that it often leads to reckless and irresponsible policies that aren’t even required to address the danger. Threat inflation prompts us to favor unnecessary and excessive measures here and overseas, and it causes us to obsess over combating certain adversaries to the detriment of other more important interests. Describing something as an “existential threat” is the worst and most irresponsible kind of threat inflation. It is a phrase that ought to be reserved to describe only the most dire threats to our very survival. That doesn’t apply to ISIS or indeed to any terrorist group.
Thank you. But I suspect this is just spitting into the wind. These people deeply desire an "existential" threat so they can justify their free-floating fear of everything and their deep desire for violence to be the silver bullet that will fix it for them. It's primitive human species stuff which civilized leadership from institutions like the church and the government are supposed to mediate. Instead they're stoking it for their own ends.

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