After 9/11, America was very eager for blood. We had been attacked, and we wanted to hurt the people who hurt us. Not an uncommon emotion, really. Someone hurts you, you want to hurt them back. The hipster crowd won’t admit it, but it’s true. They want to believe that all people are kind and good underneath it all. That’s just not true. We are a vengeful, hateful species. Hate and the need for revenge come easily to us. Don’t know what it is about human nature, but that is a part of it. For sure. And because we are a hateful, vengeful species, when one group of people attacks another, we have these massive war machines that we can use to hurt them back. The most shameful parts of our history are made when one group of people decides to hurt the people who hurt us back. Be it when we attacked the Japanese for bombing Pearl Harbor, or when Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat for the troubles caused in Germany after the Treaty of Versailles. We get hurt, and we hurt people back.
Going back to 9/11, there was a critical mistake that was made after that attack. America decided that we needed to go in and smash and destroy. We wanted to bomb and kill and make the people who hurt us suffer for what they did. Or what we believed the did. Truth be told, so many in the Middle East hardly knew. It’s not like news traveled fast in those days. It traveled, but not like it does today. The people in that part of the world weren’t all tied in to this. It was just one group of terrorists. That was the enemy that we should have attacked. But that enemy isn’t easy to hit. Why? Because it worked in cells and was hard to find. To attack that enemy, we couldn’t use our military bludgeon. It would require a scalpel. Again, that isn’t what America wanted to hear. So, we brought the full force of our military power against Afghanistan, and later Iraq. In what would become a series of wars that cost this country so much, both in finances and blood.
But more than that, we cost so many lives in that part of the world. Innocent people who had done absolutely nothing to this country. We have killed millions of them, be it during the surge, or in the subsequent attacks with drones and the retaliatory bombings from the enemy. America has so much blood on its hands. So does all the West, really. We did this. The fact is, the rise of ISIS is due in no small part to our military actions in the Middle East. We destabilized governments, and allowed an unbelievably-radical strain of Islam to take hold, with an army to back it up. An army, social media, and support of people who don’t want to ridicule them in the name of tolerance. This was partly our fault. We need to take some responsibility for that.
I feel for the people in Paris. For real, I do. What happened there, I can’t even imagine how awful that is. But without even missing a beat, once-again, the first thing that their government has done has gone to the war chest and brought out the sledgehammer, to hurt the people who hurt them. Having seen this all play out before, I have to tell the people of France – this is NOT the way! If you want to hurt them, you can. For real, I’m not saying to do nothing. But the reality is that just like after 9/11, this needs to be done with a scalpel. Use strategic strikes against ISIS. Take out leaders. Hurt them without having to make it another military offensive that will most certainly end up killing innocent people.
The thing about the people of the Middle East is – they are a culture that doesn’t look forward. They look backward. They tend to hold grudges for a LONG time. We in the West have a lot to answer for there. We need to stop with the mass campaigns of war. Truth be told, we should have stopped trying to control the Middle East ages ago. Our war machines there have never brought us good things. We helped the Taliban fight the Soviets, and then helped bring an oppressive regime to power. We trained Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviets, and he used the CIA’s training on us. In the name of oil and business and revenge, so much violence has been unleashed on them, and they hate us for it. They have good reason to. If you had a relatively stable life, then watch it get destroyed around you, with every day being a day you have to worry about a bomb on the side of the road, would you see those people are heroes? Of course not. You’d see them as monsters who kill because they wanted to. And that is, unfortunately, what happened.
To the people of France, I understand your pain. It is okay to want revenge. But you need to be smart about it. Don’t unleash another war machine. It will just make things worse. It always has, in that part of the world. Coordinated strikes against ISIS. Taking out key officials and key objectives, while not risking civilian casualties. That’s the way to go.
But what do I know.
Until next time, a quote,
“There are no facts. Only interpretations.” -Friedrich Nietzsche