When does horror become sadness? When does sadness become anger? I don’t know; I wish I did. ‘Cause I’m sitting here, half a world away, wondering why “atrocity” is such a lame word for the latest terrorist attack in London. The truth is I’m no longer interested in the aftermath of evil or the words that try to describe it. I don’t care who those murdering bastards were. I don’t want to know their names or anything else about their twisted little lives. I don’t care where they were born, and I certainly don’t give a damn about how, when or why they became murdering bastards. I have developed a malignant indifference to their very existence because, for the life of me, I can’t think of a single place where our humanities touch. People who believe they have a righteous obligation to kill helpless, harmless men, women and children for the sin of living in an enlightened, fairly permissive, largely benevolent society, are beyond any words I can find to portray them. And I don’t care what the pundits, the politicians or the various apologists say: terrorists are just pumped-up, pimped-out bullies, and I do not feel any emotion for them except anger — and cold-blooded defiance.
We can win the War on Terror but, quite honestly, I don’t think we have the stomach for it yet. Remember, we live in a society were mere discussion can send us scurrying for our “safe space.” A society that issues warnings on innocuous television programs and needs trigger words to alert us to the possibility of distasteful conversation. We live in a society where the most heinous crime of all is offending someone. Personally, I think we’re quite content to battle evil with flowers and teddy bears and candlelight vigils in some sort of sad celebration of a moral victory. It’s ’cause we believe moral victories are the bestest ones and that the institutions which guarantee us the leisure to celebrate them (or whatever) are unassailable. These are adolescent assumptions and they’re wrong. So until we grow up and deal with terrorism like adults, the body counts are going to mount. But what the hell — maybe somebody’s listening.
First of all, this is the 21st century. The military tactics of the 20th century don’t work anymore and there is no longer any gallantry, glory or noblesse oblige in war. It’s only nasty, brutal and mean. Know this. If you want the moral high ground, don’t fight in the first place.
Secondly, the Enlightenment is a European concept. Like it or don’t, over 80% of the world has no cultural memory of it. We believe that the rule of law, personal liberty, tolerance and representative democracy are universal truths. They’re not. They’re the luxuries of a successful society. Strive as we might for these ideals, the real truth is the majority of the people on this planet don’t give a rat’s ass for them — if they understand them in the first place. Thinking that jihadists and their buddies are one ballot box away from playing nice is naive stupidity.
So — What is to be done?
We have to bring all of our military, economic, technological, creative and industrial power to bear on this, people! We need to put the jihadists in our crosshairs and take the fight to them and their friends.
One — Eldridge Cleaver said “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” We need to remember this — always — and make certain the rest of the world understands it.
Two — Cut off the cash. Terrorism is an expensive proposition, and the last time I looked, ISIS wasn’t holding any bake sales to finance it. Their money is coming from somewhere — idiot donors, misguided do-gooders, Iranian Ayatollahs, out-and-out petro-corruption? Who cares? We need to bankrupt the donors, whoever they are. We need to make supporting jihad a luxury nobody can afford.
Three — Disrupt their communication. Anonymous’ declaration of war against ISIS is a good start, but we need to shut everything down. We have an abundance of basement-dwelling hackers in the West who would be more than happy to create chaos across the ISIS Internet. Turn them loose! They’ll probably do it for free — and sit back and watch Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape popping up on laptops and Smart phones all over the Middle East.
Four — Destroy their recruitment. We need to make fun of these people. We need to mock them without mercy. We need SNL skits, YouTube videos, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon, Ricky Gervais and a lot of other standup comics. We need to have our creative people change the romantic guerilla fighter image (a la Che Guevara) into something that looks and acts like Norville “Shaggy” Rogers from Scooby-doo. Terrorism is a young person’s game, and the one thing young people hate above all else is looking ridiculous. Trust me! If we make the jihadists look like a bunch of bumbling clowns, it will literally destroy their recruitment.
Five — Get serious. No more hand wringing and navel gazing. We need to bring the fight to the jihadists — today. The French are doing it! Advocating violence against any group, including Christians, crusaders, Jews, secularists and infidels is a hate crime. Anybody promoting jihad should be arrested immediately. We have enough complicated laws (and shyster lawyers) to keep the ones who survive tangled up behind bars for years — we should do it. And BTW, if they resist, martyrdom is the coward’s way out — accommodate them.
Six — Don’t get impatient. That means no boots on the ground. Unless we’re willing to occupy vast sections of the Middle East for a couple of hundred years while we build the institutions, the education and the attitudes of a liberal democracy — no boots on the ground. Arm and train anyone who opposes these murderers, but no boots on the ground. Bomb anything bigger than a shopping cart any place jihadists claim as home turf, but no boots on the ground.
Living well is the best revenge. We need to enjoy life. We need to drink and eat and dance and sing and kiss and laugh and do all the things our privileged society allows us to do. We’re not hiding in a hole in the middle of the desert; they are.
There is no “why” for the murderous violence in Paris. I’m sick of the excuses. No amount of poverty, unemployment, Islamophobia, neo-colonialism, “he hit me, first,” corporate greed, cheap oil or anything else ad infinitum, can justify this crime against humanity. It’s like trying to find out why a rape victim was asking for it. No, there is no pie-in-the-sky “why.” There’s only the reality. And we, in the West, better start living in the real world or our children, and our children’s children, and their children are going to be mopping up blood on the Rue Mouffetard, de Kalverstraat, Hackescher Markt, Times Square, Piccadilly Circus etc. etc. etc. forever.
This is the reality.
Western society has been so benevolent for so long we no longer believe evil exists in the world. We think it’s something fascists made up to piss us off. We’re even afraid to say it out loud, type it on social media or even think it might be true. Get over it! If there’s another name for a person who wantonly pumps high calibre bullets into the back of a fleeing teenager, I’d like to hear it.
This is war. There have been hundreds of terrorist attacks on our cities and our citizens since 9/11. This is not outrage boiling over into random acts of violence. These are methodical and coordinated assaults on our way of life. The jihadists want to fight. It’s time to quit wasting time and energy trying to figure out why — and accommodate them.
This is not a war on Islam. Quit saying that! Use your head! When Anders Breivik started shooting in Utoya, Norway, we didn’t declare war on Lutherans, for God’s sake. Portraying this as a war against Islam only emboldens the politically correct among us to turn up the volume on how misguided our society must be.
This is total war. The jihadists have one goal: the destruction of Western civilization, and we’re not going to TALK them out of it. They’re not going to stop. There is no negotiated peace. No amount of appeasement will satisfy their thirst for our destruction. It’s either fight — or die. Choose!
The Age of Reason is barely two hundred years old. On the line of human history, it is a young and fragile ideology. It isn’t even fully formed yet, but already it has given us pluralism, the rule of law, personal liberty, tolerance, representative democracy and a ton of other good things. It’s worth preserving. For more than a decade, The Age of Reason has been under attack by people who profess to hate its tenets (if they even understand them in the first place.) It’s time to fight these people with more than sadness, speeches, tears and clichés. It’s time to step forward and protect our way of life. And if you don’t think The Age of Reason is worth fighting for, then get the hell out of the way so somebody else can do it for you.