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“Serving The Cause Of Terrorist Jihad”: Paris Terror; Why ISIS Needs The ‘Useful Idiots’ Who Demonize Muslims

When France’s prime minister Manuel Valls said after last Friday’s attacks in Paris, “nous sommes en guerre” – we are at war – there could be no doubt that the rest of the civilized world, including the United States and NATO, will stand beside our oldest ally in a common struggle to extirpate the barbaric ISIS.

But as this conflict deepens and national emotions surge, it is vital to keep minds clear and principles intact.

Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with “weakness” even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country – and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.

The social chaos, religious strife, and massive bloodshed resulting from the US invasion created fertile ground for a new terrorist movement. And as Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick explains in Black Flags, his authoritative new history of the rise of ISIS, the Bush administration elevated its founder, a minor Jordanian gangster named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, into an international terrorist celebrity with its bogus claim that he represented a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

So when historians someday apportion blame, that process won’t flatter the Republicans and their neoconservative advisers, who assured us that “regime change” in Iraq would reshape the region at very little cost to us. Few national security predictions have ever been so confident and so wrong, with such enormous and enduring consequences. Influenced by those advisers, the Bush White House failed to address the terrorist threat before 9/11, and later used it to build a fraudulent justification for invading Iraq.

We might thus hesitate before continuing to follow the counsel of such figures – from William Kristol to Dick Cheney to Jeb Bush, one of the original members of the Project for the New American Century, a powerful lobbying outfit formed 15 years ago to promote war in Iraq, among other misguided ideas. These are the same characters who fought more recently to kill the Iran nuclear deal. Had they succeeded, we now would have no chance of even minimal cooperation with Tehran against ISIS, which is vital.

We would do better instead to reject their ill-conceived notions – and especially their mindless hostility toward Muslims and Islam.

Consider the latest instance: Along with Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and too many other Republicans, “moderate” Jeb Bush today articulates a response to ISIS that includes ominous anti-Muslim overtones. Specifically, he and Cruz urge the government to accept Christian but not Muslim refugees from Syria — and this is merely the most recent in a wave of remarks and statements offensive to Muslims from Republican elected officials and political hopefuls. Whenever a Republican candidate — or any other American — endorses bigotry against Islam and its billion-plus believers, he or she becomes a “useful idiot” serving the cause of terrorist jihad.

As George W. Bush said in his finest hour, our cause is not a war against Islam or the overwhelming majority of Muslims who live peacefully and loyally in the United States and in scores of other nations, from Europe to Malaysia. Indeed, the destruction of ISIS will require an unbreakable alliance with Islam’s true followers, not only in Syria and Iraq but in every place that jihadi terrorists may target. We cannot rely on military, police, and intelligence cooperation from people demonized and demeaned by political leaders and media outlets.

Every imbecile who threatens Muslims is an unwitting agent of ISIS; in fact, it would be unsurprising to learn that ISIS itself is covertly promoting such messages in order to intensify enmity between the peoples of the Quran and the rest of the world. Certainly that is among the primary objectives of attacks like last week’s atrocities in Paris.

What we need now is a diplomatic solution for Syria, which may at last be on the horizon if the Russians are serious about bringing down ISIS. We need a smart, careful, and focused military strategy that builds on recent advances by Kurdish and Shiite forces on the ground. And we need to assure Muslims everywhere – as President Obama has wisely insisted — that they have a place of security and honor in the world we hope to build.


By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, November 16, 2015

November 18, 2015 - Posted by | Bush-Cheney Administration, ISIS, Paris Attacks | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. It’s reassuring to know some people (Joe Conason) still have their “wits” about them. Gives me hope for this country!!


    Comment by lrfalstad | November 19, 2015 | Reply

  2. I think my comment just disappeared.


    Comment by List of X | November 18, 2015 | Reply

  3. The writer is correct, demonizing Muslims plays right into the hands of ISIS. But, unfortunately, so does taking thousands of Muslim refugees, since it increases the pool of potential jihadists in the West, even if these refugees may not pose any immediate threat. I can’t imagine ISIS being unhappy with larger number of Muslims living in the West. This might sound hateful and bigoted, but it doesn’t make it any less true.


    Comment by List of X | November 18, 2015 | Reply

  4. This is well done. These folks are puppets playing into the hands of ISIS as they use these instances to fear monger. I understand the need to be concerned and it will only become more realistic when a terrorist who is already here slips through and does something on American turf. Yet, when asked what we should be doing, we are already doing many of those things and should only do more in a concerted way. This process will take longer than the patience of most Americans can stand. What we don’t need is people taking advantage of situations for political reasons and instead having serious and honest dialogue about our course of action. What would be more effective than fear mongering would be to celebrate our freedom of religion, civil rights and specific rights of women. These would fly in the face of extremism. I would add that seeing Russia side with the cause against extremism is a good thing, as we can use common causes to fuel more collaboration and cooperation.


    Comment by Keith | November 18, 2015 | Reply

    • I think you have made a valid and reasonable assessment. A complex situation, and this certainly falls into that category, requires reasonable evaluation, especially when dealing with people who have no value or respect for human life. When there is opportunity for the majority who do to come together, we must seize the moment. There are certainly no easy answers and is also why there must be a world wide condemnation to combat these forces no matter where they try to hide. When one talks of risky business, this is it.


      Comment by raemd95 | November 18, 2015 | Reply

  5. Reblogged this on Bell Book Candle.


    Comment by walthe310 | November 18, 2015 | Reply

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