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“The Strategic Vision Of The Jihadist Leadership”: ISIS Assumes We’re Stupid — And Our Useful Idiots Keep Proving It

To the delight of ISIS propagandists, our homegrown useful idiots never stop being usefully idiotic. Today, the Center for American Progress posted a bracing column by Sally Steenland and Ken Gude that demonstrates politely but unmistakably how anti-Muslim and anti-refugee conduct by Western politicians fits into the strategic vision of the jihadist leadership.

The enemy has showed us quite clearly what not to do, expecting that we will continue to do it anyway because we’re bigoted and stupid. So far, they’ve been proved right.

Given the recent video threats by ISIS against New York City and Washington, the following is especially timely, especially concerning the foiled plot to detonate a car bomb in Times Square several years ago. But the entire column by Steenland and Gude is well worth reading — and sharing with your elected representatives:

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, is pursuing a strategy explicitly designed to provoke hostility toward innocent Muslims in Western society in order to radicalize these communities and recruit them to their cause. Listening to the American political debate in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, that strategy may be working. Islamophobic rants are both morally offensive and factually inaccurate and play right into the hands of our terrorist enemies.

ISIS is not hiding its objectives. In its publications, it talks of forcing the world into two camps by “destroy[ing] the grayzone” between itself and the forces aligned against it. For ISIS, the grayzone is inhabited by those who have yet to commit to one side in its clash of civilizations. In the February edition of its official magazine Dabiq, an ISIS writer outlined a plan to compel “the crusaders [the West] to actively destroy the grayzone themselves” by generating anti-Muslim hysteria in the wake of terrorism. Attacks such as those in Paris are designed to get Western governments to alienate their Muslim populations and push them toward ISIS….

Here is the truth: Rather than being a threat to national security, Muslim American communities have helped prevent more than one-third of Al Qaeda terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11. The most famous case is that of the 2010 plot to bomb Times Square in which Alioune Niass identified the car bomb and alerted police. In 2003, tips from the local Muslim community led the FBI to arrest a group that was conducting military-style training in northern Virginia.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, November 19, 2015

November 20, 2015 Posted by | ISIS, National Security, Syrian Refugees, Terrorists | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Today’s Useful Idiot; John Kasich”: Turns Out He’s As Loony As Any Of His Companions In The GOP Presidential Race

Too bad: John Kasich, the Republican presidential aspirant who seemed comparatively sane, turns out to be as loony as any of his companions on the GOP debate stage – perhaps even loonier. On Tuesday, the Ohio governor boldly proposed a new federal agency to “promote Judeo-Christian values” overseas. Evidently Kasich believes that this religiously-based propaganda initiative – which he would direct toward the Mideast, Russia, and China – should promote “Judeo-Christian Western values of human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion [!] and freedom of association” as a counter-terrorist measure.

Of course, if such an “Agency to Promote Judeo-Christian Values” were sent forth to advance the Christian and Jewish religions abroad, that effort would not only alienate Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and adherents of other faiths, but would raze the constitutional “wall of separation between church and state” built by the nation’s founders.

While any such program would be destined to fail miserably as public diplomacy, Kasich’s articulation of this terrible idea must have excited the propaganda specialists of ISIS and jihadis everywhere, since it confirms their claims that the West has mounted a “crusade” against Islam. (No doubt it also thrilled the “strict constitutionalists” on the Republican far right, whose embrace of religious liberty only ever protects their own beliefs.)

That’s why Kasich, a “moderate” mindlessly pandering to the extreme right, is today’s useful idiot.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, November 18, 2015

November 19, 2015 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, John Kasich, Religious Beliefs | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Paris, The City Of Light”: Light Reveals Bankrupt Ideologies For The Failures They Are

“I believe the light that shines on you will shine on you forever … though I can’t guarantee there’s nothing scary hiding under your bed.”

“Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon

My wife has a bad knee and isn’t much for long walks, so that night after the Chunnel train had brought us over from London and we set out on foot from the hotel to do some exploring, I wasn’t expecting to go far. Maybe a block, maybe two.

I have no idea how far we actually went, but I know it was a lot further than a couple blocks. I kept asking if she was okay. Marilyn kept assuring me that she was and wanted to keep going.

She was enraptured, as was I. Walking through Paris was like walking through magic. We went down a fairytale street, paused on a bridge overlooking the Seine to watch the glass-topped dinner cruises plying the water, ended up at the Place de la Concorde, looking west along the Champs-Elysees. In the distance the Arc de Triomphe glowed.

Some cities disappoint you. Some cities you visit and that thing they are known for, that thing people come from around the world to experience, turns out to be exaggeration, myth or mirage. In the ’70s, I used to feel sorry for tourists who came to Hollywood (which has since been largely redeveloped), only to find that the fabled film capital was little more than office buildings, souvenir shops and street corners where prostitutes gathered six deep.

But Paris is exactly what they say. Paris is, in reputation and in fact, the City of Light.

So I suppose we ought not be surprised that it now finds itself under attack from the forces of shadow.

By now, you’ve already heard all you can stand — and then some — about the series of coordinated terrorist assaults by ISIS that left well over a hundred people dead on Friday. By now, you have already wept or prayed or vented your fury or wondered aloud what this world is coming to or simply stood mute in the face of humankind’s seemingly bottomless capacity for savagery.

I almost called it animalism, but that’s an insult to animals. They, after all, kill to feed or defend themselves. Only human beings kill for beliefs — in this case, a twisted, fundamentalist strain of Islam.

And it’s no accident it was Paris. Like New York City 14 years ago, it was a representational target. New York stands for American power and Sept. 11 was meant to spit in the eye of that power. Paris stands for light and the events of Nov. 13 sought to eclipse the glow — not simply the glow of beauty and romance, but also of enlightenment and hope.

Paris has always been a beacon of such things. That may have been part of the reason Adolf Hitler ordered the city destroyed when his troops were driven out in 1944. It may have been part of the reason Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz disobeyed the order.

The quote at the top of this column is from a song not about terror, but about a father’s love for the bright light that is his daughter and his promise to be there for her in a world of uncertainty and threat. But though they were not crafted for this moment, the words feel apropos to it.

No, it is not monsters hiding under the bed by which civilization is menaced. But it is monsters just the same, forces of savagery, ignorance, hatred, fundamentalism and extremism striking from corners where light does not reach. And no one can guarantee perpetual safety against such threats.

But we can strike back hard when they come, as France is doing now. In the long run, though: It isn’t bullets and bombs these monsters fear the most, hate the most, or that hurts them the most. No, that which lurks in shadow despises light — and well it should. Light reveals bankrupt ideologies for the failures they are. Light draws people together. Light gives courage. And light gives hope.

So Vive la France!

And shine on.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald: The National Memo, November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Civilization, ISIS, Paris Attacks, Terrorism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Cynical Pandering To Wingnuts”: Of Course Obama Is To Blame For Everything Bad In The Whole Wide World!

Because we are used to Sen. Lindsey Graham saying irresponsible things about world affairs all the time, there’s a temptation just to ignore him. But he’s so ubiquitous a media presence that this is difficult, and his poorly-earned reputation as a “moderate” means that he creates a lot of room for extremism with his utterances. So this sort of crap (per Mediaite’s Andrew Desiderio is worth noting:

While discussing the ramifications of Wednesday’s terrorist attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s office in Paris, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said President Barack Obama‘s policies and campaign promises are “getting a lot of people killed” because he refuses to acknowledge that the France attacks and others are motivated by religion.

“The people who are attacking us and attacking France are motivated by religious teachings that say there’s no place on the planet for anybody that disagrees with them,” Graham said on Fox News Thursday morning, adding that Obama is “undercutting” other foreign leaders by not acknowledging that it is a religious war.

Now the reality is that Obama prefers to describe violent jihadists as ideologues who are pursuing a perversion of Islam, in order to express solidarity with the vast majority of Muslims who don’t agree with terrorists in any way, shape or form. It is unclear to me what is gained by insisting on calling murderers authentically religious, unless, of course, you want to imply their co-religionists are culpable or suspect, as an awful lot of conservative Americans most definitely want to do. So it’s kind of a no brainer, I guess, for Graham, who has offended said conservatives with his positions on immigration and a few other topics, to pander to them in this respect, involving as it does the ever-popular “Blame Obama” meme.

But Graham does have another ax to grind on this topic:

When he left Iraq, he did so on a campaign promise. He’s trying to close Gitmo based on a campaign promise. His campaign promises are getting a lot of people killed. Our intelligence-gathering abilities have been compromised. The only way you can stop these attacks is to find out about them before they occur. We’re reducing our military spending at a time when we need it the most. These policies driven by President Obama of being soft and weak and indecisive are coming home to haunt us.

Graham really, really wants to see people tortured, and really, really wants to pretend that “strength” is identical to stuffing the Pentagon with more money than it needs or has even asked for. So cynical pandering to wingnuts aside, there’s a decent chance he really believes what he’s saying here, which is worse.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, January 9, 2015

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Lindsey Graham, Paris Shootings, Terrorists | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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