Perpetual War: Painting the Middle East with Bob Ross’ Brush
There has been a lot of talk about the inability of President Obama to name with whom the US is at ‘war’.
Notably Ted Cruz has stepped up to the plate and called it radical Islam and them radical Islamic extremists.
The usual rhetoric is the western world is at war with terror.
There are problems with both of these assertions.
The very name evokes fear. Similar to a boogeyman in the closet, the ‘terrorist’ has become the new generic term for anyone opposed to what is now western ideology with a gun and an idea.
Those without guns are labeled ‘terrorist sympathizers’ as David Cameron declared in Parliament a few weeks ago.
The problem with this term is the lack of specificity. There are those in the Congress that argue a new declaration of war is not needed to combat ISIS due to the powers given to the president to fight Al Qaeda.
After all, they are both terrorist organizations and the Congress granted former President Bush authority to hunt down ‘terror’ wherever it may be; ipso facto President Obama can use this as premise to launch an assault on ISIS without permission from Congress or the people.
What could be the flaw in this premise? Perpetual war for one, though there are other moral problems created by this ideology.
Radical Islamic Extremists
The effects of this rhetoric have already been seen.
From the anti-Islam rallies that have been held throughout the US to proposed anti-Muslim American legislation or even Miss Puerto Rico’s anti-Muslim remarks.
It pits the western world against a religion and not a specific people or a place. Almost equivalent to a crusades sequel. Not a particularly endearing contrast as the crusades part one are generally thought to highlight the evils of papacy.
The only keyword in this tag people can identify with is the Islamic. Regardless of the words before or after, the general uninformed populous who cannot pick out Syria or Iraq on a map will pick out Islamic from that identifier and connect dots to all people with Middle Eastern descent being unable to tell the difference.
The Dangers of Nationalism
If one were to pick out a word from ISIS (Islamic States of Iraq and Syria) to peg both the ideals of ISIS and also what we are at war with it should be ‘states’.
Islam is not the only religion expressed in the acronym of ISIS.
Not only is Islam not the only religion represented but it is also the less dangerous of the two religions conveyed.
The ‘state’ in ISIS demonstrates the group’s intentions and communicates the underlying religion of nationalism.
Nationalism has shown to be one of the most dangerous religions with very few redeeming qualities. It also has the ability to separate unlike any other religion before it.
Zionism is the perfect example of this.
Saying we are at war with Iraqi nationalists or even Islamic nationalists presents a huge conundrum for the western powers in selling a war to the people. Incendiary words such as terrorist, radical, and extremist do a much better job.
Arguing about whether to call ISIS terrorists or radicals is just semantics and is part of propaganda for perpetual war.