ISIS

Domestic Fear Is the Price of Empire

We can only live without the fear of terrorism if the U.S. government stops antagonizing foreign populations that have never threatened us.

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If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the U.S. government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments' invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge—against Americans. Is the American empire worth that price?

We should ask ourselves this question in the wake of the weekend news that al-Shabaab, the militant Islamist organization that rules parts of Somalia ISIS-style, appeared to encourage attacks at American (and Canadian) shopping malls.

Maybe the Shabaab video was just a prank to scare us. Maybe it was an attempt to plant violent thoughts in the minds of Somalis living in the United States. No one believes that the organization itself is capable of attacking Americans where they live, but that doesn't mean Shabaab-inspired violence is impossible.

At any rate, it's unsettling to be advised to watch out for terrorism when we shop at the mall.

Here's the thing: We don't have to live this way. The empire is just not worth it. We must understand that people in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia who subscribe to fringe militant interpretations of Islam would not be wishing us harm except for the violence the U.S. government has inflicted or helped to inflict on Muslim societies for many decades. In fact, those militant interpretations wouldn't be nearly so attractive without the American empire and its ally Israel.

Why won't the media describe this context? It's because their job, despite what they say, is to be the government's megaphone, not its adversary.

Let's look at Somalia, where the latest threat originated. U.S. intervention goes back to 1992, when President George H.W. Bush sent the military into a civil war there. Among the military's activities was the suppression of the Somalis' use of the intoxicant khat, which has been part of their culture for millennia.

That's right. The U.S. government imposed a war on the Somali drug of choice.

President Bill Clinton withdrew the forces after two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down, but that was not the end of U.S. intervention. After the September 11 attacks, Somali warlords seeking American largess played on the George W. Bush administration's concerns about al-Qaeda. The CIA obliged the warlords with suitcases of cash. As a result, everyday life became intolerably violent. So when the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)—a relatively moderate coalition of Sharia courts in the capital, Mogadishu—drove out the warlords and produced a measure of peace and stability, the Somali people were relieved.

That should have been deemed satisfactory, except that the warlords and their American backers were unhappy with the new situation, as Jeremy Scahill reported in 2011. "Most of the entities that made up the Islamic Courts Union did not have anything resembling a global jihadist agenda," Scahill wrote. "Nor did they take their orders from Al Qaeda."

Nevertheless, the U.S. government was determined to oust the ICU. To achieve that goal the Bush administration in 2006 backed a military invasion by Ethiopia, Somalia's long-time Christian adversary, which overthrew the ICU.

"The Ethiopian invasion was marked by indiscriminate brutality against Somali civilians," Scahill wrote.

Ethiopian and Somali government soldiers secured Mogadishu's neighborhoods by force, raiding houses in search of ICU combatants, looting civilian property and beating or shooting anyone suspected of collaboration with antigovernment forces.… If Somalia was already a playground for Islamic militants, the Ethiopian invasion blew open the gates of Mogadishu for Al Qaeda. Within some US counterterrorism circles, the rise of the Shabab in Somalia was predictable and preventable.

To make things worse, the U.S. government has waged a drone war, with civilian casualties, and special operations against the Somalis. According to Scahill, the CIA also operates a secret prison and other facilities there.

So the U.S.-sponsored intervention sowed the ground for the most militant group in Somalia, al-Shabaab. Had the ICU been left to govern, we might never have heard of these young Islamists, whom the Obama administration now uses to scare American shoppers.

We can live without the fear of terrorism—but only if the U.S. government stops antagonizing foreign populations that have never threatened us.

This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Nice try Sheldon, but we all know that Somalia is a libertarian paradise

  2. I SENTENCE YOU, SHELDON RICHMAN, TO FEAST ON THE PUTREFIED PUDENDUM OF JEANNE KIRKPATRICK FOR ETERNITY!!!!

  3. Someone apparently didn’t get the memo that the leader of ISIS grew up in the fucking United Kingdom.

    1. Not its leader, but its most famous Youtube star.

    2. No, no! It is ALWAYS Amerikkka’s fault, and Amerikkka ONLY! For EVERYTHING, you little Eichmanns Lanzas!

      UP WITH THE PALESTINIAN STATE AND DOWN WITH NATIONALISM!!!!

      1. I see no difference between Adolf Eichamann and Adam Lanza.

  4. NEEDZ MOAR JOOOOOOS!!11!!!

  5. this is hopelessly naive.

    while i am all for curtailing the useless us invasions, the idea that regimes that have “never threatened us” only come to wish to threaten us because we intervene is laughable.

    there is a clash of cultures going on. it’s theocracy vs rights based secularism. it’s poor and repressed vs (relatively) rich and open.

    when you crush and impoverish your society under a yoke of repression and dogmatic theocracy and your people look abroad at rich foreigners and wonder why it’s not them, it engenders resentment.

    to keep that from settling on the oppressive regime that caused this poverty and took the rights of the people, they focus the anger on a foreign enemy.

    it’s that simple. this hate be it driven by religion and a desire to punish sin or envy and hate sublimating into righteous fury is going to come no matter what.

    that idea that if we just leave these theocracies alone they will not hate is is just foolish.

    it ignores pretty much all of history.

    1. Some might still hate us, but it takes hopeless naivety to believe that basing troops in their countries, bombing weddings, torturing people, and giving weapons and money to the regimes which oppress them does not piss far more people off.

      1. There is no evidence of that. If that were true there would be people who are actual victims of that becoming terrorists. And the terrorists, be they the 911 hijackers, the Boston bombers, or the Charlie Hibdo murderers are not. All of those people grew up living comfortable lives and were never once the victims of any of that.

        You guys just live in a fucking fantasy world were everyone acts in revenge for some action. It is just fucking tiresome. Sure to fucking God you can make a better case against intervention than “fighting back just makes them more angry”.

        1. No, that’s not true at all. Many feel a sense of camaraderie with Muslims who have been victimized. We had plenty of people who were motivated by 9/11 to join the military, even though they did not lose any family or friends in the attacks.

          1. And many more that supported the US Government’s actions following 9/11, even if they didn’t take up arms themselves.

          2. Many feel a sense of camaraderie with Muslims who have been victimized.

            Okay, so we should base our foreign policy on the sensibilities of the guys who did the Boston bombing? Moreover, maybe you missed it but everything makes them feel victimized. Who did the guys at Charlie Hebdo bomb? Who did Denmark bomb?

            Your whole argument assumes that there is some way to appease murderous lunatics. And that is unbelievably naive. They want to be a part of a larger movement and live a short glorious life. They are going to find an excuse to do that no matter what we do.

            1. Your whole argument assumes that there is some way to appease murderous lunatics.

              No, my argument assumes that Muslims respond to incentives like everybody else. Nobody likes seeing foreign troops in their country. Nobody likes seeing their friends, family, and countrymen killed and tortured. Nobody likes other countries meddling in their affairs.

              1. Many feel a sense of camaraderie with Muslims who have been victimized.

                sure they do. And like everyone else, appeasing them emboldens them. You are assuming they don’t really mean you harm and they have a point and reasonable grievances and reasonable demands. People with reasonable grievances and reasonable demands don’t fly airplanes into high rise buildings. They want nothing short of complete submission. The more you give them, the more they will want.

                1. “People with reasonable grievances and reasonable demands don’t fly airplanes into high rise buildings.”

                  You could say the same thing about folks who bomb weddings.

                  1. And we don’t have reasonable demands. We want a corrupt, violent, tribal culture to stop being all of those things and to stop killing each other in job lots. No one in the Arabian peninsula, except maybe the Kurds, is at all interested. So we find ourselves occupying a country where the Sunnis are pissed that we made them srop grinding the Shiites in the dirt, and the Shiites are pissed because we won’t let them start. We have this overwhelming military might, but we can’t use it because the hostages are the kidnappers, and we have no idea where to direct all of that power. Thus, itchy trigger fingers and bombed weddings

            2. “Who did Denmark bomb?”

              Amateur psychologizing aside, Something tells me you haven’t really thought this through.

      2. I’m sure it does piss a lot of people off. But THESE PARTICULAR PEOPLE? These particular people are motivated by religious fanaticism.

        besides the fact is that whatever the truth about US interventions actually are, I’m sure their version of history is unrecognizable compared to ours.

        Saddam Hussein was an apostate according to their theology so I don’t think they give two shits about the occupation of Iraq.

        One of Bin Laden’s biggest beefs had nothing to do with bombing wedding parties. He was mad that we stationed troops in the Holy Land (Saudi Arabia).

        In other words, their biggest “greivances” bear no resemblance to what WE would consider greivances. Because their greivances are all about our blasphemies, and not about our human rights violations.

        1. Radicalism appeals a lot more to angry unemployed young men than it does to investment bankers. That’s not to say all of that is our fault, but we do help prop up the regimes which oppress them.

          1. Except it’s a well known fact that most of these people come from middle-class backgrounds. Many of them are emigrees from Europe.

            1. Is it? I’m honestly asking.

            2. “that most of these people come from middle-class backgrounds”

              What’s convinced you that they are motivated by religious fanaticism? Myself, I doubt that they have deeply held religious views. Have you ever had the chance to look at al Qaeda’s English language propaganda magazine, Inspire? You may find it on the web somewhere. What struck me about it was the almost complete absense of an appeal to religion or scripture. It was focussed on issues of social justice.

                1. I think it’s a mistake to wonder “what ISIS wants” as though the group itself has its own desires distinct from those of its membership. Some of its membership, and probably moreso among its leadership, is motivated by religious reasons. I doubt this holds true for the followers. Read the press today about the identity of the Londoner ‘Jihad John.’ There’s not the slightest indication that it was religion that motivated him to join ISIS.

                  I said this before here. During the Russian revolution, many of the leadership believed in the teachings of Marx. But among the followers, those that made the revolution a reality, they were motivated by more mundane concerns, bread, land and peace. I think the situation with ISIS is much the same. If you don’t believe this, then you probably have to attribute all sorts of imaginary characteristics to Muslims to explain the situation: they love to kill, they place no value on human life etc. You have to mystify rather than clarify.

                  1. Nonsense. ISIS executes more Muslims than Christians, because they kill Muslims for being apostates. Christians just have to pay the jizya.

                    If they detected even the slightest whiff of apostasy from ‘Jihadi John’, there is no way he would be in propaganda videos executing hostages.
                    I have no doubt that this guy has thoroughly read the Koran and is very much a believer and literalist in the same way everyone else in ISIS is.

                    Most of the people going to join ISIS are doing so because it is technically a religious obligation, because they have declared a caliphate, thus all Muslims owe alleigance to them (if they interpret the Koran literally).

                    1. “Most of the people going to join ISIS are doing so because it is technically a religious obligation”

                      You have any evidence to support this assertion? It’s not in the link to the Atlantic you provided me with.

              1. Have you ever had the chance to look at al Qaeda’s English language propaganda magazine… What struck me about it was the almost complete absense of an appeal to religion

                Gee, no shit? This is pretty easy to square if you actually understand the bolded portions of your own statement. Even middling propagandists know enough to tailor their message to their audience. It would take a fantastically stupid twat to think that Al Qaeda is actually a secular organization with primarily social justice concerns based on their English-language propaganda magazine (Quod erat demonstrandum).

                1. I was interested in what motivated the followers to join. Hazel Meade claims they are motivated out of religious beliefs. I doubt this. Have you anything interesting to add?

    2. I would change “sublimating” to “fulminating” but otherwise agree.

    3. while i am all for curtailing the useless us invasions, the idea that regimes that have “never threatened us” only come to wish to threaten us because we intervene is laughable.

      Yes, laughable. I’m here fighting my little war for whatever reason and the thing I really need to do to support my cause is to get a superpower involved…AGAINST ME. Let’s see, what superpower isn’t busy this year? Russia? No, they appear booked. Oh, I know, I’ll provoke the US, for no apparent reason so they come and drone me. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I NEED!

      You know what you warmongering Republicans are not very good at? Putting the shoe on the other foot. What would be your response to another nation dictating policy to the US be? We don’t like your position on abortion, so we are going place sanctions on you until you do what we say? How would America/Americans react to that bullshit?

      THAY HATEZ US 4 HOUR FREEDUMZ!

      1. Or maybe they just hate you. You ever think of that? Were the Fort Hood Shooter, the 911 hijackers, or any terrorist who has attacked the US or Europe in the last 15 years been an actual victim of any of that? Name one Afghan, Yemeni or Iraqi who showed up in the US or Europe and committed an act of terrorism? There isn’t on that I am aware of.

        Why do you continue to believe this bullshit other than being an idiot makes you feel good?

        1. Name one Afghan, Yemeni or Iraqi who showed up in the US or Europe and committed an act of terrorism

          Why limit it to attacks in the US or Europe?

          1. Because that is the argument. The point is if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. Well, the people who are attacking us don’t seem to the people you guys say are victimized. Why is some middle class guy from the old USSR living in Boston planting bombs instead of some pissed off Afghan who had his wedding bombed, because Fransisco knows the US only bombs weddings and innocent people.

            1. Because he feels a sense of camaraderie with those being bombed, as a I said before. The pissed off Afghan is busy planting bombs against us in Afghanistan.

              1. And he wouldn’t find another excuse to do that? Again, who did Denmark and Charlie Hebdo bomb? Since when is fighting back the only excuse these assholes ever have for committing terrorism?

                Again, your argument assumes that they are acting rationally or that they are acting for the single reason of US actions. And that is just not true.

                1. “Again, who did Denmark and Charlie Hebdo bomb?”

                  Since August last year Denmark has, alongside other Western nations, been participating in military actions against Muslims in Iraq and other nations. France’s participation is wider and goes back further. The fact that you repeatedly have to ask this question shows your ignorance. Because you are unaware of the facts, you turn to ridiculous theories about the mental state of Muslims etc.

                  1. “…Since August last year Denmark has…”

                    Oh, well that explains the 200 people who died as a result of the 2005 Danish cartoons, then.

                    1. Within days of Denmark’s announcement of their joining the military intervention, jihadists were threatening terror attacks on Denmark.

                      You want an explanation for the deaths in the wake of the cartoon kerfuffle, look to the police forces who opened fire on demonstrators. On orders from such lovers of free speech as Col. Khaddafi.

                    2. Ah yes, the Libyan dictator is the reason some crazies keep killing cartoon artists. It all makes sense now.

                    3. The Libyan Col. was in charge of security forces who fired on and killed demonstrators. Not artists. It was in the papers a few years back.

                      Kurei was interested in why some 200 people died after those cartoons. They were mostly shot by police in Libya and a handful of other countries.

        2. Oh, the insufferable cunt John, placed some unintelligible words together and then called me an idiot.

          Well, that certainly defeated my argument.

          I concede.

      2. No, they want to provoke us because they see themselves in an apocalyptic battle to spread their faith.

        People who fantasize that they are martyrs in a religious war WANT to provoke the biggest enemy they can. That’s the whole point of being a martyr in anapocalyptic fantasy.

        1. Then punish those that do, and leave the rest alone.

          I have no problem killing people who’ve actually infringed upon the rights of Americans. That’s justice.

          Making war on entire populations, instead of just killing the guilty, in feeble attempts to eliminate the use of a tactic, is NOT justice. AND it accomplishes the exact opposite of your goal. Killing innocents in the process of killing the thugs, MAKES MORE THUGS.

          1. Where did I say I was in favor of an invasion?

            What I’m suggesting is that, for example, not supporting the Sauds or the Egyptians is NOT going to make these people hate us any less. We tried that with the Arab Spring, and it turned out ot be a disaster. It just paved the way for ISIS to take over Lybia and Syria. In Egypt they elected the Muslim brotherhood.

            I’m not suggesting we bomb the place in the dust, but be realistic about who we support and who we don’t. Those secular dictators are much better than the alternatives.

            1. It just paved the way for ISIS to take over Lybia and Syria. In Egypt they elected the Muslim brotherhood.

              I’m not suggesting we bomb the place in the dust, but be realistic about who we support and who we don’t. Those secular dictators are much better than the alternatives.

              Why would I, as an American, care what happens in Libya and Syria? I used to care about the happenings in that region, but for one single purpose. Oil. We no longer need what they are selling.. Withdraw completely and leave them to their own affairs.

              I don’t need to support any of them.

              And keeping my nose out of it significantly reduces the chance that I’ll be blamed for their mess. Let them figure it out on their own or let them rot.

              1. Why would I, as an American, care what happens in Libya and Syria?

                Several reasons.
                For one thing, you might want to travel safely in that region for business or pleasure.

                For another thing, if they are launching attacks against US targets from those places, then you should care.

                1. you might want to travel safely in that region for business or pleasure.

                  Why, as a businessman, would I want to do business somewhere I’ll be cheated or killed?

                  Are you claiming we need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to keep the world safe for vacation travel?

                  For another thing, if they are launching attacks against US targets from those places, then you should care.

                  Are they? Who? Where? I see no targets being destroyed in the US. No one is launching attacks on the US.

                  And if and when they do, THEN you can go kill them. You don’t get to kill people based on what they might do in the future.

                  The 911 terrorists are all dead. Mission accomplished. Job well done. You aren’t going to reform the ME by bombing them, anymore than you are going to stem the demand for drugs by throwing drug users in prison.

                  1. I’m not suggesting that we bomb them. I am saying we should care what happens.

                    What exactly we DO about it once we decide that we CARE is a totally separate discussion.

      3. “What would be your response to another nation dictating policy to the US be? ”

        If they dictated to the Feds that they follow the constitution, I’d be all for it.

        I’m more interested in more freedom than in who is safeguarding that freedom.

    4. Speaking of naive. That sounds curiously like the “they hate us for our freedoms” nonsense.

      You’re right, it is easier to focus on the foreign enemy. Especially when they are dropping bombs on you and propping up your dictator.

      1. “That sounds curiously like the “they hate us for our freedoms” nonsense.”

        Calling it nonsense won’t make it son.

        Probably most of the world is opposed to the Anglosphere conception of freedom. Certainly the Islamists are.

        1. This is certainly true, although it’s not so much that they are opposed to freedom as they are adamantly in FAVOR of their vision of an Islamic religious theocracy. A person who wants to fundamentalist theocracy doesn’t think of himself as “anti-freedom”, the thinks of himself as “pro-righteousness”. Who could be against doing what GOD Commands, right?

          From a fundamentalist religious standpoint, allowing people the “freedom” to disobey God is a kind of apostasy. It is immoral.

  6. Okay – I’ll agree – we ought to stay away from Somalia (except for hanging their pirates). I don’t think it will do a damn thing to slow Islamic terrorism.

  7. I’ve recently changed my mind about this. In the past I’ve subscribed to the Ron Paul theory, that if we just leave other countries alone they’d leave us alone. And I think that is still true, to some extent. Drone strikes, assassinations, and torture will definitely turn the population of a country against the US. That, to me, is a logical result of our actions.

    But something like ISIS is an entirely different thing. They are not interested in being left alone. They do not have specific demands like Israel withdrawing from somewhere, or the US stop using drones. They are interested in establishing a caliphate. They are executing hostages due to religious beliefs, or just to get attention and press. That’s not going to stop if the US pulls out troops or stops using drones. It won’t stop until they get their caliphate, or until they are killed.

    1. “It won’t stop until they get their caliphate, or until they are killed.”

      A concise and correct summary of the situation.

    2. But something like ISIS is an entirely different thing. They are not interested in being left alone. They do not have specific demands like Israel withdrawing from somewhere, or the US stop using drones. They are interested in establishing a caliphate. They are executing hostages due to religious beliefs, or just to get attention and press. That’s not going to stop if the US pulls out troops or stops using drones. It won’t stop until they get their caliphate, or until they are killed.

      That may be true, but it’s not our problem.

      1. Starting with Mohammed himself, spreading the faith with the sword has always been an ingredient of the hardcore Muslims beliefs / responsibilities. Just a matter of priorities and local distractions.

      2. When they cut the heads off of innocent Americans for no reason at all, it becomes our problem.

        1. No, it’s not. If you travel to a shithole despite knowing it’s a shithole, you’re on your own.

          1. Wouldn’t you as an American prefer to have the freedom to travel to countries in the Middle East, not to mention do business there, without having to worry about being beheaded?

            1. I accept that if I go to certain places, I’m putting myself at risk. So I don’t go there. I might want it to be different, but I also want a pet unicorn that shits gold bars. If someone wants tro risk their life doing something stupid like going to Syria, well, that’s evolution in action.

              Syria attacks the US, turn it into a smoking ruin (or at least all of its government and military facilities). But that’s just not going to happen.

              1. There may be things we can do to make the world a safer place that don’t involve bombing people. But still involve doing things that are going to piss off Islamists.

                All I’m saying is we shouldn’t NOT do things in the middle east that are in our strategic interests (like for instance making alliances with regional governments) just because it pisses off a bunch of religious fanatics.

      3. “That may be true, but it’s not our problem.”

        Neither were the Nazis.

    3. Then why are they threatening attacks on US soil?

      1. Ooooh, threats!

        Sheesh.

      2. A state sanctioned invasion needs to occur for some people to believe force can be authorized. I’m sure these same lovely people would never have supported going and fighting Hitler if Pearl Harbor hadn’t happened.

    4. No Kevin. Fransisco assures me that ISIS is just acting in response to evil US actions. Everything they do is about that and if we would just leave them alone they would leave us alone.

    5. But something like ISIS is an entirely different thing. They are not interested in being left alone. They do not have specific demands like Israel withdrawing from somewhere, or the US stop using drones. They are interested in establishing a caliphate.

      So…IOW…they are attempting to overthrow a puppet regime, established by an invading superpower, in favor of living in the fashion in which they choose, without outside interference?

      THE HORROR!

      I seem to recall another upstart nation doing something similar 239 years ago.

      I also seem to recall a lot of Republicans in the theater cheering when Patrick Swayze shoots the Russian prisoner in the head while yelling, “Because we live here.”

      1. Um, there happens to be one major difference.

        that upstart country 239 years ago overthrew their puppet rulers specifically for protecting the rights of their own people to live as they saw fit.

        ISIS intends to force everyone they gain control over to live according to ISIS religious dictates or die.

        Further much of the ISIS leadership is not actually from the areas they control so no they do not live there.

        1. Um, there happens to be one major difference.

          that upstart country 239 years ago overthrew their puppet rulers specifically for protecting the rights of their own people to live as they saw fit.

          So, we valued liberty and they value something different (their religion?).

          ISIS intends to force everyone they gain control over to live according to ISIS religious dictates or die.

          A third of the Colonists actively supported the Revolution. Another third didn’t care. The other third wanted to remain British subjects. Sounds like force to me.

          The bottom line is, we no longer have a national security interest in the region (we have our own oil now) and it’s none of our business.

          1. I think we have a national security interest in preventing ISIS from growing and threatening Europe and other parts of the world.

            Now, it may be that the best way to destroy them is to give them a lot of rope and let them destroy themselves.

            But we definitely still have an *interest* in making sure that happens.

            1. I think we have a national security interest in preventing ISIS from growing and threatening Europe and other parts of the world.

              What interest exactly?

              Doesn’t Europe have the capability to defend itself? Is Europe paying US taxes to fund the US military force defending it? Europe has been defended for the last 70 years on our dime.

        2. “Further much of the ISIS leadership is not actually from the areas they control so no they do not live there.”

          Some leadership in the American Revolution also came specifically for the war (heard of Lafayette?).

          Promotion was relatively easy in the Continental Army, compared to purchasing a commission in the Prussian or French Army, so this was attractive to foreigners.

      2. I didn’t realize Assad was a puppet …

      3. ” in favor of living in the fashion in which they choose”

        Which includes enslaving, terrorizing, and executing lots of people who don’t so choose.

        1. He must have miss the debate in Dabiq over whether killing or enslaving the Yazidis was the correct Islamic policy.

        2. Which includes enslaving, terrorizing, and executing lots of people who don’t so choose.

          Yep. All bad shit. Not our job to right all the wrongs in the world. If the oppressed have a problem with it, they should do something about it.

          1. Why shouldn’t we, as libertarians, defend the freedom of non-Americans?
            We spend plenty of time defending the freedom of black people to not get shot by cops, so why don’t we defend the freedom of Yazidis to not be killed or enaslaved?

            1. Why shouldn’t we, as libertarians, defend the freedom of non-Americans?

              You are certainly allowed to defend the rights of others as a libertarian. (eg You may intervene to save a woman from a rapist.) You are not, however, obligated to. The decision to do so or not should be made as a result of a cost/benefit analysis. What do I stand to gain/lose as a result of my interference?

              If the indigenous people don’t really care one way or another (Vietnam/Iraq), you are pissing in the wind. If those you are defending won’t lift a finger to defend themselves, you are pissing in the wind. If you are going to go to war against an entire nation because of the actions of a few of their citizens, spend $1.8T and be worse off than when you started because you’ve created more enemies than you’ve killed, you probably shouldn’t engage.

              Americans are NO safer than they were before 911 and I would argue we are less safe (and certainly less free) because of our interventions.

              AND you are NEVER allowed to initiate force.

    6. ISIS puts the hate in caliphate.

      I doubt that if we leave ISIS alone they’ll leave us or their neighbors alone.

  8. if we are going to start talking about who shot first then you are going to have to go back to before the founding of this nation. This of course would put the original responsibility at the feet of the Muslims again.

    1. That’s irrelevant. The point is if you keep doing it, you’re going to keep pissing people off. And there are a lot of people around the world who have been personally victimized by U.S. foreign policy.

      1. The Caliphate predates that by about a thousand years.

  9. We must understand that people in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia who subscribe to fringe militant interpretations of Islam would not be wishing us harm…

    Sheldon, you have the mind of a 5 year-old at his birthday party.

    1. fringe militant interpretations

      Or the interpretation any unbiased person would have after reading a dozen pages of the Koran or a chapter of the Haddith.

      1. The Koran also says to respect “The People of the Book”, but whatevs.

        1. “Respect” = allowed to live as second class citizens or slaves if they pay a jiyza tax.

        2. Clearly Muslims are too stupid to understand their own religion. Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Hezbollah, etc. just keep misunderstanding.

        3. And for those of us who aren’t “people of the book”?

          1. Pagan or just non-religious? Either way, rough time.

  10. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  11. No one believes that the organization itself is capable of attacking Americans where they live,

    Why not? AQ managed to suborn an Army officer who shot up a base, entirely over the internet.

    1. Workplace violence, something for the local cops to sort out. But trying to steal a cops gun and being shot after is a national issue.

      /Eric Holder

    2. And remember, if it were up to Richman, we would have a completely open border. Apparently, ISIS is incapable of boarding a plane.

      That statement alone is so idiotic as to be beyond belief.

      1. John,

        Get with the program. We need to give them jobs and midnight basketball.

      2. Because there’s such a serious threat of massive Muslim immigration coming over the mexican border.

  12. Let them get geographically organized. It will be easier to determine ground zero. Until then: NOT. OUR. PROBLEM.

    1. That and their Caliphate will collapse under its own cruelty.

      1. That hasn’t worked so well with Iran.

        1. The Ottoman Empire only lasted 600 years…

      2. Pol Pot killed on the order of 1/4 of his countrymen, and he was not toppled by internal dissent. It took an invasion force from Vietnam (the world’s first and only Communist intervention that was actually for humanitarian reasons) to end the slaughter. ISIS may very well prove to be stable as well.

        1. Whatever else it was, Democratic Kampuchea was not stable. The government itself was fractious and sought to solve every problem with violence and oppression. The regime ran a prison/torture facility that dealt almost exclusively with real or imagined internal party squabbles and rivalries. That’s no indication of stability. Given time, they would have burned themselves out. I suspect the same of ISIS.

    2. This is the John Derbyshire solution. There are dozens of Islam-centric countries to which a malcontent in one can choose to move. The US isn’t one of them. Derb is that blunt.

    3. Out with “Never Again”, in with “Not Our Problem.” Charming.

      But I agree with you about letting them all go to join the Caliphate. Great. The government should be chartering flights for all the psychos who want to join ISIL. Step right up, hand over your passport, and have a nice trip.

      We’ll see you around. Probably in the sights of a drone, but you wanted to be martyred, right?

      Nice to know we can agree on one thing. Give the psychos what they want.

  13. Right Sheldon… the world would be a much better place if the US would have just kept our noses out of everything and let the Soviets conquer and incite/support revolutions at will as well as let the Saddams of the world gain what they could through conquest. This period of unparalleled peace and prosperity based on the liberal order underwritten by US military supremacy obviously hasn’t been worth it.

    1. Read National Review much?

    2. This period of unparalleled peace and prosperity?

      I would argue that the world was a much more peaceful place and certainly more prosperous (for the west) during the cold war than it has been since the US became the only superpower.

      We’ve become the monster that we fought. We attack and take over countries based on any pathetic argument we choose, simply because we can and no one can stop us. Absolute power has absolutely corrupted us. We no longer have any moral high ground. We invade a country based upon the the weapons they have/might have rather than whether they’ve actually used them. We have half the nation clamoring to invade entire regions, where thousands upon thousands of innocents will be killed (not to mention the hundreds of billions we’ll piss away doing it), because a few thugs kill a few Americans (something that happens everyday within our own cities)? These acts would have been considered absurd 20 years ago. We are the frog simmering in the pot. The terrorists have won. They’ve turned us into them.

      Many of the warmongers really need to do a gut check. This ain’t us and this ain’t liberty.

      1. 1. American newspapers not printing cartoons of Mohammed because of threats and fear of attack. 2. Scores of anti-Islamist authors touring the US right now that must have armed guards where ever they speak. 3. All those previous attacks on American high rises, buildings of defense, Embassies, American soldiers, citizens, airlines. Regular demonstrations calling for the death of American by Islamic Jihadists.

        And you say this is not a fight for liberty

        Wake up.

        1. So, what do you want to do about it? Please state your solution.

          1. Well, the first step would be to admit that we have a true enemy and they want to destroy us. Second, name the enemy specifically–Islamic Jihadist/totalitarians. Third, identify countries mainly supporting this shit–Iran & Saudi Arabia. Forth, figure out the best way to make them stop. Probably just threaten the Saudi’s. With Iran give them time to dismantle their atomic works. If they don’t dismantle it for them. Then go from there. You rid these supporters of Jihadism in the ME, you are most of the way there. It’s what Bush should have done after 911.

            1. So…

              Third, identify countries mainly supporting this shit–Iran & Saudi Arabia.

              What shit? You believe the government of Saudi Arabia is actively supporting terrorist acts perpetrated on the US by its citizens?

              That’s like the Italian government holding the US responsible for the acts of Amanda Knox.

              Forth, figure out the best way to make them stop.

              So you have no real plan that can achieve your goals.

              IOW

              1. Organize
              2. ?
              3 Profit

              Probably just threaten the Saudi’s.

              You want to interfere in the affairs of nation-states based upon actions they haven’t taken.

              How would you react to that if Saudi Arabia did that to America? Do you think them doing something similar might enrage the American people? Why do you think it’s okay for us to initiate force?

              With Iran give them time to dismantle their atomic works. If they don’t dismantle it for them. Then go from there.

              Who are we, exactly, to tell a sovereign nation, what weapons they can have in their arsenals? Particularly when we have the same weapons in ours? Where does this authority come from? Did we tell the Russians or the Chinese they couldn’t have them? How about the Israelis? How about India or the Pakis? How about the North Koreans? Did we invade the PRK to stop that crazy fucker from getting nukes? Did he use them on the South?

              Then go from there…so…no plan.

              1. You rid these supporters of Jihadism in the ME, you are most of the way there.

                You have provided NO plan to do so. All you’ve done is say you want to. HOW do you “rid these supporters of Jihadism in the ME”? You have given me NOTHING that will do that. And the reason you’ve given me nothing is that there is nothing to give. Short of taking off and nuking the ME from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure) there is no humanly possible way to eliminate jihadists from the ME. In fact, attempting to do so by force simply creates more of them.

                The ONLY way to stop people from hating you, is to eliminate the conditions which make them hate you. You can’t kill people until they like you. They hate us because we are there, in their Chilli treating them as children. Just leave. And if they follow you and attempt to kill you, THEN you can kill those who do and be morally justified in doing so.

                1. What evidence do you provide for your assertion that Islamists will stop attacking us if we pick up and leave the ME and say we are sorry. It appears to me that is pretty much what Obama has been trying to do? Do you think that is working?

                  France and many other countries are being attacked without provocation. Why should it be any different for the US?

                  Do you really think these people will leave us alone if we uh, um, turn tail and run away?

                  1. It appears to me that is pretty much what Obama has been trying to do? Do you think that is working?

                    Are you claiming the US has removed itself from the ME? We are fighting in more places now than under Bush.

                    Do you really think these people will leave us alone if we uh, um, turn tail and run away?

                    They may. They may not. If they don’t, it will certainly be no worse than it is now, as bombing them creates more of them. Killing innocent people in attempts to kill guilty people tends to inflame a population against your cause.

                    What would you do if the police dropped a bomb on your apartment complex to kill the murderer living on the floor below your family’s?

                    “Oops. Well they had good intentions. They killed the bad guy and your kids just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

                    You need to treat terrorists like criminals, not like soldiers of nation-states.

                    You attacked steps 3-4. I noticed you skipped steps 1 & 2. Does that mean you concede those points?

                    Everyone has enemies or potential enemies. I concede that you must know who they are and be ready to defend yourself in case they initiate hostilities against you.

                    Simply having enemies is not justification to initiate force. Threat of attack is not attack.

                    1. It is more than just threats of attacks. It is attacks and the support of attacks. They supported the attack and the taking of hostages at the US Embassy in 1979. Iranians supported Hamas who carried out the attacks on the US Marines in Beirut. Iranian’s directly planted IED that killed American soldiers in Iraq. I think that war was wrong, but the country must not let attacks like this go unpunished. I could go on. They are the primary beneficiaries and supporters of Jihadism. That regime has to be stopped to stop the Jihadist attacks.

                    2. It is attacks and the support of attacks.

                      Oh?

                      Please name the terrorist attacks on the US since 911? Two. One foiled the other not. Both carried out by nut-jobs. One of which, was a Major in the United States Army, who had a security clearance.

                      Your odds of being killed in a terrorist attack in a given year are one in 20,000,000. That’s twice as likely as being hit by lightning.

                      but the country must not let attacks like this go unpunished.

                      I wholeheartedly agree. Attackers (initiators of force) should be hunted down and brought to justice. Killed if necessary.

                      But you don’t hold whole countries responsible for the actions of criminals. You don’t go to war and drop bombs in the public square to kill common criminals. Doing so makes YUO a criminal in the eyes of the innocent man who just had his daughter killed in a missile attack on a jihadi bomb maker.

                    3. Just catching up. So, Francisco, you think all the Jihadist are just criminals. No, they are not just criminal looking to rob someone or take someone’s stuff. Islamic Jihadism is a worldwide movement. What is their motivation? From whom are they receiving inspiration? Who recruits these idiots? Who financially supports their efforts? These are the institutions that must be attacked. It is supported by 2 primary states: Iran and Saudi Arabia. There is a ton of evidence for this.

                    4. They aren’t criminals?

                      What nation’s flag are they flying?

                      These are the institutions that must be attacked.

                      You may bring to justice those who’ve attacked you to include those who’ve orchestrated the attack. You may not hold innocent people accountable. Unless, of course, your goal is to turn them against you as well.

                      Let me make up a scenario: The Westboro Baptist Church firebombs a French hospital because they are saving the lives of French homosexuals. You’d be perfectly fine with France laying a 2000# JDAM into the downtown Kansas City Holiday Inn Express they are holding their Christmas banquet in?

                      It is supported by 2 primary states: Iran and Saudi Arabia.

                      [citation required]

                2. Francisco, you state, “You have provided NO plan to do so [rid the US of Islamist threats].” Yes I have. It is to tell Iran and Saudi to stop supporting Jihadism or they will be destroyed. With the Saudi’s we tell them to bring to justice the family members who support Jihadist & 911 & demand that they shut down the Mosques and schools teaching their hate and attacks on the west or they will be destroyed. If they know we are serious, they will fold quickly, I’d bet. With Iran, we have to get rid of the nuclear threat they pose. Start by seeing it destroyed, then go about destroying the government.

                  Besides, its better than your plan which is to run away. Mine has a chance of working. Your is foolish and dangerous.

                  1. It is to tell Iran and Saudi to stop supporting Jihadism or they will be destroyed.

                    How do you propose we destroy them?

                    With the Saudi’s we tell them to bring to justice the family members who support Jihadist & 911 & demand that they shut down the Mosques and schools teaching their hate and attacks on the west or they will be destroyed.

                    a. The perpetrators of 911 have been dead for years. The ones that didn’t die in the attack were killed, by us, long ago. What more “justice” would you require?

                    b. Again, how are you going to “destroy” them exactly?

                    c. So, free speech for me but not for thee? Hate speech? Are you a prog.

                    If they know we are serious, they will fold quickly, I’d bet.

                    Like Iraq did when we told Saddam to step down or be “destroyed”.

                    With Iran, we have to get rid of the nuclear threat they pose.

                    How?

                    1. Start by seeing it destroyed, then go about destroying the government.

                      You are going to stand there and attempt to justify a preemptive war? An initiation of force? Killing innocent people based upon something their government hasn’t even done yet? THAT’S your plan?

                      If so, you sir, are immoral.

                      There is a difference between running away, acting in self defense and STARTING wars because you are afraid something bad might possibly happen in the future.

                      Mine has a chance of working.

                      Like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan?

                      Who’s the fool?

                    2. It is immoral for a government not to defend its people when attacked. You are the one offering a questionable moral position.

                    3. It is immoral for a government not to defend its people when attacked. You are the one offering a questionable moral position

                      .

                      Please, do tell, what attacks you are speaking of?

                    4. You still haven’t answered my question. Do you think we have enemies that wish to destroy us? Do you not think Islamic Jihadist pose a credible threat to this country? My initial post listed some of the results of some of these threats.

                      Where is YOUR answer, Francisco. You don’t like my answers, but at least I have tried to address them. How about you?

                    5. You still haven’t answered my question. Do you think we have enemies that wish to destroy us? Do you not think Islamic Jihadist pose a credible threat to this country? My initial post listed some of the results of some of these threats.

                      Where is YOUR answer, Francisco. You don’t like my answers, but at least I have tried to address them. How about you?

                      I answered your question at 3:29PM if you’d actually bothered to read anything I’ve typed:

                      You attacked steps 3-4. I noticed you skipped steps 1 & 2. Does that mean you concede those points?

                      Everyone has enemies or potential enemies. I concede that you must know who they are and be ready to defend yourself in case they initiate hostilities against you.

                      Simply having enemies is not justification to initiate force. Threat of attack is not attack.

                3. The Saudis are the biggest state sponsor of terror, bar none.
                  The fund CAIR, Islamic centers in universities, Mosques, and they promote their brand of Islam called Wahhabi, one of the most batshit-crazy versions of Sunni Islam.
                  The Iranian Shia’s believe in the 12th imam.

              2. Interesting. You attacked steps 3-4. I noticed you skipped steps 1 & 2. Does that mean you concede those points? Are you then willing to admit that we have enemies that want to destroy us and that enemy is Islamic Jihadist?

                Then your planned response to these threats is to do nothing. I think that is suicidal.

            2. The Iranians have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. They are Shiite and as such are considered apostates worthy of death.

              If they do get the bomb, that might be the first target they use it on. because ISIS WILL try to kill them if they get the chance.

              1. ISIS is a result of not taking care of a threat that Iran has posed at the US since 1979. It is idiotic to think ISIS is much of a threat. The real, long range threats are the actual states in the ME that are supporting Islamic Jihadism. That is clearly Iran and the Saudi’s.

                1. ISIS has nothing to do with Iran. Zilch.

                  The most direct line we can draw is that ISIS is blowback from our supporting the Arab Spring uprising against Assad.

                  Every Arab Spring country except Tunisia has either gone back to dictatorship or fallen into chaos.

                  If there was ever any solid evidence that Arabs aren’t ready for democracy that is it.

                  1. “HazelMeade|2.26.15 @ 4:22PM|#

                    ISIS has nothing to do with Iran. Zilch.”

                    This isn’t entirely accurate.

                    ISIS exists as a grassroots sunni proxy army against the growing threat of shiite political dominance of the region.

                    With Iraq having become a shiite-run government strongly oriented towards iran, ‘shiite political power’ runs straight from Tehran through to lebanon (and Hezbollah) unimpeded.

                    ISIS is very much born of a regional sunni opposition to this power-bloc taking firmer root.

                2. How does ISIS have anything to do with the ‘threat of Iran’? Do you not understand the basic distinction between Sunni and Shia?

  14. That explains why Germany and Japan are always suicide bombing us. And why those Imperialist Phillipines have issues with Islamic extremism.

  15. It’s true: since 9-11 the use response has not stopped terrorist attacks. It is worse. Reason’s Richman & Chapman blame US’s military interventionism for the worsening terror threat based upon blow-back theory. They advocate US retreat as a response to the growing Islamist threat.

    It won’t work. Consider Iran’s Islamist Revolution. Although the Islamist leaders there sited US support of the hated Shah to drum up hatred of the US, the revolution was not primarily motivated by America’s interventionism. The motivation was Islamic belief. Western culture is antithetical to Islamist belief. Islamists hate the VERY EXISTENCE of America.

    While in college in 1972, I had a close Iranian friend and dorm roommate. He predicted the Islamic Revolution. He told me about the Mullahs teaching hatred of the West, their growing influence in Iran, and their long-range goals of imposing their religious order on the rest of the world?goals that were set by Mohammed 2000 years ago. He told me that many if not most religious people in Iran truly believe this shit. My roommate was very afraid for his country and hoped the US would stop the coming revolution. I did not believe any of it. Silly me.

    Retreat will not end the Islamist threat. It will be interpreted as weakness and encourage further attacks. The Islamist Jihadist movement must be faced and destroyed. Yes, past policy did not work. But, why? And more important: what will work to destroy this movement?

    1. While in college in 1972…

      The events you describe occurred circa 1978. You’re six year off, pal. I am going off in my tin foil hat and calling your post propaganda. Confess, you were payed to write that.

      1. Yes, my roommate predicted the revolution. The school that I attended had many Iranians because of an agreement with the government. At one time, there were thousands of Iranians receiving education here–including many women. Most were studying petroleum engineering and geology. I went to school in Oklahoma. I knew many other of his friends and they all supported his tale of woe. And I wish I was paid to write this. And no tin-foil hat, my friend.

      2. “The events you describe occurred circa 1978. ”

        What part of “predicted” don’t you understand?

      3. Well, David Wall’s unverifiable anecdotal example of ‘prediction’ certainly justifies spending another couple trillions of dollars murdering Iranians so he ends up feeling safe at night.

        1. You discount my comment as an anecdote, but it happens to be backed up by plenty of expert opinion. Most ME experts agree that Islamic Totalitarianism is motivated by a belief system, not US intervention as Reason’s simple minded writers profess. Start with Daniel Pipes. He’s been around to more places than campuses in Oklahoma, my friend.

          1. I’m more commenting on the fact that empty ‘predictions’ does not justify your irrational and expensive demands to ‘get Iran and Saudi Arabia’. Especially since it fails in regards your own argument about it being purely religious. Yeah, storm the Middle East exactly like the ISIS cultists want. Validate their beliefs to more Muslims. I’m sure that will stop them.

            And I’m familiar with Daniel Pipes’ work. He’s not convincing.

            1. Nazi’s were motivated by visions of the Aryan Race, the Japanese by a religious based (Buddaism) idea of world imperialism. The Soviets by a set of stupid collectivist ideas. Totalitarianism can have any number of justifications–religion, belief systems, race, etc. I guess I don’t understand your point about being a religious movement.

              The Nazi’s and Imperialist were defeated and humiliated by the US after they attacked the US or declared war on us. Now both ideas are in the trash bin of history.

              The same needs to happen to Islamic Totalitarianism. The sooner the better. It should not cost that much in lives or money if done right–meaning destruction of the enemies as quickly and safely as possible for our troops and airmen. The country’s supporting this crap are no match for the American military.

            2. As for Pipes. What do you not find convincing?

              1. Was it from Pipes you learned that Hamas was behind the bombing of marines in Beirut?

    2. That might be the thing that does in both ISIS and the Iranian theocracy.

      The Iranians are apostates in ISIS’s eyes, as are all Shia. If they ever manage to take over Iraq, they will turn their attention to iran next. And then both of those group of nut jobs can have a ball killing eachother.

    3. “The motivation was Islamic belief. ”

      Oh no.

      Deep down, everyone is a carbon copy of Pajama Boy, with identical motivations.

      That’s the ironic thing about the multi cultis – they simply can’t conceive of people having motivations separate from their own.

      1. +1.
        You nailed it.
        In the west, Muslim folk caught honor killing or beating their daughters don’t even understand why we are “persecuting” them.

  16. From wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Barbary_War

    In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman (or Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). When they enquired “concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury”, the ambassador replied:

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

    Yep, a clear-cut case of blow back. It’s just like the way Jason killed all those kids because they let him drown in Crystal Lake.

    1. Don’t forget Freddy’s “grievances.” Those children’s parents and ancestors had humiliated him in the past.

    2. Look at the crusades.
      Same thing.
      They started it, and whine like little girls when they get beaten back, and the feministas and multicultis are hypnotized by that siren whine.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_To-cV94Bo

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  18. Hi Sheldon,

    Thanks for the article. I haven’t been totally sold on the idea of keeping the state out of everything, but I am what you might call a fellow traveller. I think it isn’t a good idea to spend half trillion dollars on defense spending for many reasons– one of which you outline above, that it contributes to domestic paranoia and xenophobia. I would have thought that it would be canonical amongst libertarians that it’s not a good idea to keep a country on a perpetual war footing. And, yet, there’s significant debate in the comments. Perhaps the audience you think you are writing for isn’t the one that you are actually writing for.

    1. Or the world could be amazingly more complex than Sheldon’s(and your) personal LOTR delusion starring America as Mordor.

  19. Bullshit.

    These people are motivated by religion, not geopolitical concerns. They would hate us whether or not we meddled in their politics. And they would worship us if we were Muslims, and welcome our intervention. None of them give two craps about political oppression. They only care if the people doing the oppressing aren’t Islamic.

  20. I suspected Sheldon’s “Mostly Non-retarded” piece about Healthcare recently was just a trick to lull us into complacency, so he could then hit everyone over the head with something *doubly more retarded* than usual.

    1. Sheldon,

      Gilmore and the rest of the libertarian caste around here hate your article because it talks about imperialism, hegemony, and empire. You better hang it up. A lot of libertarians have been talking up the candidacy of Jeb bush to me as a counter to whatever uber-fiend the Democrats nominate. I’m not persuaded to say the least, but I’d say when push comes to shove a lot of the Reason commentators will be convinced.

      1. “BOOOSH” is shorter way of making your same silly point

      2. Shockingly, what you say tends to not carry any weight given that most of your posts consist of a fine blend of ignorance and arrogance.

    2. Mostly non retarded.

      But I recall he couldn’t get through the article without a totally irrelevant little tourrette’s fit about imperialism or some such. He just can’t stop himself.

  21. If the responses above are from the crowd that is most likely to support a non-interventionist foreign policy, I’d say we better forget about the Republic and just move to an imperial system right now.

    1. Believing that the Islamist shit heads hate us because we’re infidels does not necessarily entail that we think the best way to defeat them is to invade and occupy their countries.

      It just means we don’t think we should totally abandon our interests in the region out of fear of offending them.

      1. I believe the Europeans had the right answer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Unite to retake any territory lost to conquering Muslim armies – then contain them in the Middle East and North Africa. Between wars, trade with them – but don’t allow immigration.

        It worked for a long time.

        1. I’m all in favor of not allowing Muslim immigration. I just don’t see what that has to do with Hispanics.

          1. Being able to control who gets in and for how long requires control of the borders. For some reason that is frowned upon around here.

            Your statement is also considered heresy in the church of multiculturalism.

            1. Nobody who advocates “open borders” literally means no border control.
              We’re talking about allowing people to get a green card more easily.

        2. Containment is a pretty good strategy.

          Actually, I think Obama has lurched into a pretty good strategy.

          Contain the crazies, provide help for those who want it to protect themselves (particularly the Kurds), but leave it to the local populations that cheer for the crazies to live with them.

          The way to defeat Islamist ideology is to let those who want it live with it.

          1. Well, except we’re still pursuing stupid strategies in Syria, like attempting to fund “moderates”, and halfway making an alliance with Al Qaeda.

            We should be cutting a deal with Assad to crush these assholes. There is zero chance of some sort of Democratic uprising replacing the Assad government. They would get slaughtered by ISIS in a matter of weeks, and then ISIS would control Damascus.

  22. The islamist shitheads target a very small fraction of their violence against us, and mostly for the purpose of impressing themselves.

    While I agree with the noninterventionist approach, I don’t think it will make anyone hate us less for being fornicating infidels.

    1. Modern Christianity, as practiced by Americans, is so temperate and ecumenical that almost no one notices the extremes, and when they do it is incorrectly categorized.

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  25. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
    — Winston Churchill

    We could play Fortress America, and refuse to be a part of any collective defense. Out with “never again”, in with “not our problem”.

    “people … who subscribe to fringe militant interpretations of Islam would not be wishing us harm except for the violence the U.S. government has inflicted or helped to inflict on Muslim societies for many decades.”

    It’s funny how the multi culti Proggies can’t manage to accept that people just might have motivations separate from their own grievances. People who subscribe to “fringe” militant interpretations of Islam are fighting for a *worldwide* Caliphate.

    They would “wish us harm” if we pulled every US solider back within our borders. Our existence as unconquered unbelievers offends their religious sensibilities.

    It’s not all about you and your Proggy resentments of the US, Richman.

    1. “people … who subscribe to fringe militant interpretations of Islam would not be wishing us harm except for the violence the U.S. government has inflicted or helped to inflict on Muslim societies for many decades.””

      ramzi yousef, trade center bomber #1, plotted the attacks before gulf 1 even happened

      im sure blame can always be found somehow. which ultimately is an endless exercise in victim blaming

    2. Come on! I’m sure the only reason ISIS is destroying all those priceless museum artifacts today is because of those priceless museum artifacts’ imperialist policies.

      Or perhaps those artifacts were placed there by colonials who wished to push their orientalist views onto the otherwise peaceful Arabs? And destroying them is symbolic of lashing out at their ancestors’ colonial masters. Or something.

      It has to be something other than religion, right? And if Richman is writing it, that something most likely happens to be the US.

  26. Oh for freaks sake. The reason the Mall of America is the chosen target is because Minneapolis has the biggest population of maladjusted Somali refugee immigrants. But that doesn’t fit the preferred narrative that all this stuff would just go away if we do nothing overseas.

    Sorry Richman. You’re wrong. You want to globalize living patterns via immigration and trade, then the consequence is that every asshole with a grievance is gonna find some kin halfway around the world to take the grievance violent.

  27. Hating the USA is part and parcel of being a good Muslim.

    Islam is the ideology of hatred and oppression.

  28. We could pack up everything, close every base around the world, and these people would still be committing the same horrific acts against the west. Perhaps Mr. Richman (and those who refuse to see their violence as religiously inspired) would, in that case, go on to explain their actions as a perfectly understandable result of historical injustices committed against muslims; they are still feeling “humiliation” over the Crusades, colonialism, imperialism, the last war, or whatever else this narrative chooses to include. Anything but that knotty, incurable problem of religion. Because Western religion is nice, and feels good, and can’t be mean, or something. And imposing that concept onto third world medieval mentalities, and believing they view religion the same way and with the same (lack of fervor) as you isn’t ethnocentric at all.

    I wonder if Richman blames Auschwitz on the Jews or the Americans?

  29. Did I read the first paragraph correctly? That US behavior could create more terrorists, on the Reason.com website? Has anyone called the writer a terrorists sympathizer? Do they hate America? I ask because I am always viscously attacked any time I even suggest that maybe the US gov should look at its behavior, always by Libertarians, and Conservatives who are also Christian.

    1. I seriously doubt any libertarians attacked you for such comments. I have no doubt Conservatives have.

  30. Solipsism is a horrible curse.

  31. Shorter Sheldon: “I am a sociopathic liar with no understanding of history and a crude infantile excuse for a moral code. I will beat you over the head with my lies until you accept them.”

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  33. The Muslims have been the nastiest of Imperialists since day one, and instead of imposing some form of decency on conquered folk, they impose horror.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_To-cV94Bo

  34. Dear Mr Sheldon: The Barbary Pirates would like a word with you.

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