By Bob Wing and Max Elbaum
December 23, 2015
Terrorism in the name of Islam aimed at the U.S. is a monster of our own invention.
There were no terrorist attacks in the U.S. carried out by Muslims or Arabs prior to the first Iraq war of 1991.
Short-sighted, wrong-headed military interventions created the problem. The same approach cannot be expected to solve it. It will exacerbate it instead.
The only thing we can be completely sure of in this extremely volatile and complex situation is that, the more we bomb and invade, the more we create the conditions that encourage a turn toward terrorist tactics.
A problem of longstanding and tangled roots demands the development of long-range thinking and carefully considered solutions, i.e., the opposite of bomb them into oblivion.
In a world of near universal access to assault weaponry, absolute safety from terrorism, either domestic or foreign-inspired, is, unfortunately, illusory.
Our first priority should be strong opposition to the escalation of U.S., European and Russian military intervention in the region.
A second, critical priority is the support and protection of anti-autocratic, anti-terrorist voice and leadership in the region – including both Muslims and secularists – over the very long term.
A third priority is the development of multiple, long-term diplomatic initiatives aimed at isolating ISIS, protecting civilian populations and restoring a measure of stability to the region.
A fourth priority is to stem the tide of weapons into the region, as well as easy access to assault weapons here at home.
A fifth priority is to welcome and provide for refugees fleeing the horrors of war.
There are two scenarios that may warrant limited military action: (1) the pursuit and capture (not assassination) of specific individuals who have committed terrorist acts; and (2) multi-lateral action, under international law, for the protection of civilians subject to genocidal attack.
Terrorism in the name of Islam will persist until there is a qualitative realignment of religious, political and military forces in the Middle East. The U.S. cannot lead or force that realignment.
We should demand that our government develop solutions to the problem of terrorism that are not solely or principally reliant on military action. We have already proven, time and again, that militarism is the source of the problem, not a solution to it.