Saturday, September 27, 2014

Today, A Modest Proposal For The Mess O'Potamia

If the Wahhabi scum want blood in Iraq and Syria, let's give it to 'em. Notify the Saudi and Qatari governments that they have 7 days from the date of notification to clear all living things from Mecca and other Islamic holy places. On that date, the United States will create a air-space quarantine over the holy places. Then, the B-52s will fly over and deliver nukes to the holy places, rendering them unfit for human proximity for centuries. Let the sands glow in the dark forever. The scum who behead captives under the black flag will witness the beheading of Islam. No more talk. No more symbolic gestures. IF this is (fair & balanced) repudiation of radical Islam, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
Obama Can Still Earn His Nobel
By Timothy Egan

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You remember 2009 and the glow from Oslo — Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Wow. Less than a year into his presidency, he joined an elite group: Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama. And for what? As near as anybody could tell, it was the only Nobel ever given for future good intentions.

Now the president with the world’s most prestigious badge of nonviolence is forced to become the warrior again, killing religious extremists as he bombs his seventh Muslim country — one more, as Stephen Colbert noted with a rewards punch card, and he’s earned a free falafel.

But look ahead, with optimism, and you can see a design for long-term peace behind the president’s plan to simultaneously kill fanatics and force a religion to confront the sources of that fanaticism. With his blunt speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, Obama put on notice the Sunni Muslim nations that have allowed Sunni barbarians to spread.

He made it clear that it is a warped religious ideology — “the cancer of violent extremism” — that is behind the slaughtering of innocents, raping of young girls, beheading of aid workers and tourists. Yes, it was a lecture, with finger-pointing. It’s time for the duplicitous Saudis, the look-the-other-way Qataris, “those who accumulate wealth through the global economy and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down,” to stop trying to have it both ways. He called out their “hypocrisy,” without naming names, because everyone knows who they are.

Sure, it’s just a speech. Words, following and preceding airstrikes. But as a speech, it was a stunning departure from the usual platitudes without a plan. The leader who didn’t have a strategy for dealing with Islamic State nihilists a few weeks ago just dropped an idea bomb on the rest of the world. The “Muslim” president — a falsehood still held by nearly 25 percent of Republican voters — gave the Muslim world a blueprint for saving itself.

Until this week, most Western leaders have been afraid to say what Obama said at the United Nations. Sunnis dominate Islam, a religion of 1.6 billion people. The worst terror in the world today is being waged on behalf of a small, violent cult of death that is nominally Sunni. By enlisting at least five Sunni-majority nations in his campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, Obama has taken the first step to get Islam to do what it must do. (It would help to have Turkey, the only Muslim nation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a Sunni-majority country, fully aboard with the 50 countries in the campaign to quash ISIS.)

“No god condones this terror,” Obama said. “No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil.” There again, his language was unvarnished, without filter or diplomatic dither.

Many in Obama’s own party heard only the echoes of George W. Bush. “Evil-doers,” coming from Bush, was a punch line. Cue up Will Ferrell and Jon Stewart. O.K., parallels granted. But Bush’s war in Iraq was nation-toppling born of hubris, followed by nation-building born of ignorance. Obama’s direct action against ISIS is designed to keep entire communities of “infidels” from being slaughtered by a cult under a black flag. His actions will save Muslims, the primary victims of Middle East terrorism, from other Muslims. It’s also in America’s interest, for those isolationists who think we should never try to stop overseas massacres on our watch.

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Obama, the peace prize winner, is the only person who could rally the civilized world against a caliphate of violence. Who else would do it? The pathetic, hapless and corrupt Iraqi Army, built with American tax dollars? The United Nations? The Kurds? They will fight, but only for their interests and their territory.

The military campaign, as always, is the easy part, and fraught with careful-what-you-wish-for peril. War crimes trials, the sooner the better, for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and any name that can be clearly linked to a face behind the mask of an ISIS executioner should proceed with the support of the coalition Obama has put together.

But to earn his Nobel, Obama has to follow through till the end of his presidency, to pressure the Sunnis to police their own. This is their cancer, now spreading to the rest of the world. No need to make it bigger than it is. The absurdly alarmist voices in our country — Lindsey Graham, with his fear that we’re going to “all get killed back here at home,” and the senate candidate Scott Brown, who said “radical Islamic terrorists are threatening to cause the collapse of our country” — are myopics, staring out at the world from holes in the blankets over their heads.

More succinctly, as Obama stated, this fight is about what happens when religion goes bad. “There should be no tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they’re Jewish, or because they’re Christian, or because they’re Muslim,” he said. “It’s time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.”

Of course it’s a long shot. Of course it’s a pipe dream. Of course it goes against all the backward trends in the Islamic world. But in one of the best speeches of his presidency, Obama has shown the world a path to a peace that may outlast him. Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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