President Obama’s Oval Office address this evening (6 December 2015) was redundant, unnecessary, and patronizing to the American people. Fourteen years since the Twin Towers collapsed, we’re still unable to name our enemy or fully commit to destroying it. We continue to deny the blindingly obvious reality that ISIS is not a “perversion” of a religion, but rather a perfect interpretation.
ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.
Bullshit, bullshit, and irrelevant. Why would the religious faith of ISIS’s victims be at all pertinent to this discussion? Violence necessarily involves a victim and an aggressor. The victim is passive; he is the recipient of violence. ISIS is the active participant; they inflict violence. We need to understand ISIS’s behavior because doing so allows us to break their will to resist, and destroy their means of doing so.
Of course, we do understand what fuels ISIS’s barbarism: perfect, absolute faith in the religious doctrine of Islam. How do we know this? Because they’ve been kind enough to explicitly tell us so thousands of times. In terms of capability, the American intelligence community is unsurpassed, yet we still fail to intercept the most critical piece of intelligence about our enemy: Why they fight. We will not win this war until we resolve to overcome our reluctance to acknowledge that bad ideas produce bad consequences.
I believe that the worst ideas are those which cause the most human suffering. Religious belief is a bad idea. Abrahamic religious belief is an especially bad idea. Islamic religious belief is one of mankind’s all-time worst ideas. I came to this conclusion due to my observation that Islam causes an extraordinary amount of human suffering.
Christians live comfortably and happily in the west because they’ve greed to disregard all but the cheeriest, most humane aspects of their scriptures. Those who refuse to do so are disinvited from public discourse and, when necessary, criminally prosecuted.
Imagine the following: I have a sweatshirt printed with the words, “No One Cares About Your Stupid God.” I put on this sweatshirt to go for a walk. A Christian sees this t-shirt and commands me to repent. I command him to eat shit. He produces a firearm and shoots me twice in the chest. As I lay bleeding out onto the street, he stands above me and quotes the Good Book. He records himself doing so, and uploads the video onto YouTube. He’s arrested and charged with murder.Do we have any doubt whatsoever that the county prosecutor – himself a Christian – would eagerly characterize the incident as a religiously-motivated crime? Of course not.
Why? Because in nearly every context apart from Islamist terrorism, unless we have a truly compelling reason to the contrary, we generally believe killers when they tell us why they kill. The sooner we can apply that logic to this war, the sooner we can actually begin to fight it.