Terrorism

We Won't Stop Lone Wolves With More Foreign Interventions

Preemptive interventions, lengthy nation-building commitments, and a surveillance state are not the best ways to contain and prevent terror.

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On Monday, an Ohio State University student named Abdul Razak Ali Artan wrote an angry note on Facebook, rammed his car into a group of pedestrians on campus, and then was fatally shot by a police officer as he began charging his victims with a knife. Mercifully, Artan did not manage to kill anyone before his attack was halted, but this fresh case of what appears to be lone-wolf terrorism offers yet another occasion for reexamining America's flailing approach to counter-terrorism.

For the last 15 years, conventional political wisdom has dictated that an aggressive foreign policy marked by preemptive military interventions and lengthy nation-building commitments and paired with a Constitution-trampling surveillance state is the best way to contain and prevent terror. But with some $12 trillion already promised or spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and nothing to show for it—not to mention the debacle in Libya and the diverse other stagnating or even counterproductive interventions the U.S. presently maintains in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and beyond—that argument becomes increasingly difficult to take seriously.

Indeed, it is now impossible to avoid the conclusion that government invasions of our privacy amount to worthless security theater, while these overseas adventures do little or nothing to prevent lone-wolf attacks. Individuals like Artan, who seems to have had no real contact with the Islamic State (ISIS), are lost in the "haystack" of digital data the feds collect, and they are mostly unaffected by the fortunes of the Mideast militants they admire. Whether ISIS controls vast swathes of territory or is eradicated entirely makes no practical difference to this new sort of terrorist, who needs little to no resources or logistical assistance to carry out his dastardly plot.

If anything, the evidence suggests U.S. intervention against ISIS may inspire more lone wolves like Artan to attack. "[ISIS] is clearly weakened on the ground, but the nature of the losses it is suffering has strengthened its legitimacy among certain segments of the Sunni world," wrote Foreign Policy's Hassan Hassan in the wake of the far deadlier lone-wolf attack in Florida this past summer. "This is a trend that should be of grave concern to U.S. officials," he added, "as the group's continuing support could lay the groundwork for its eventual resurgence—and more lone wolf attacks like the one in Orlando."

In other words, tangling with America gives ISIS legitimacy even when it loses, and the fact of reckless, large-scale U.S. military intervention seems to concede that this is a fight ISIS (and the homegrown murderers it inspires) really could win.

That such a victory is preposterous does not occur to deluded would-be terrorists—and so far, neither has the necessity to reevaluate America's ineffective and imprudent counter-terrorism policy occurred to the Washington establishment. "What the United States is trying to do by stubbornly sticking with such policies to force a failing square-peg solution into a nonbudging round-hole problem," argues Ret. Lt. Col. Daniel Davis at The National Interest. "Clearly," he continues, in "spending hundreds of billions of dollars and sacrificing the lives of thousands of U.S. service members in an effort to fight terror 'over there,' we are succeeding only in spreading the conflagration abroad and increasingly suffering terror attacks at home."

Rather than maintaining this ineffective, feckless interventionism, we would do well to let attacks like Artan's occasion a serious reconsideration of the "war on terror" as we know it today, which amounts to throwing lives and dollars down the drain with no real impact on American security. Lone wolves aren't going away any time soon and they are no easy problem to address, but we can begin by refusing to waste precious resources on misguided interventions that do more harm than good.

NEXT: Backpage Leaders Beat Pimping Charges as Court Affirms Importance of Immunity for Web Publishers of Third-Party Speech

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  1. Artan was a product of modern CVE – “Countering Violent Extremism”. They feed kids propaganda that “ISIS will make you attack your families and go on killing sprees and rape women. ISIS will teach you that America is bad and wants to kill you. Don’t watch ISIS videos or you might get radicalized.” It’s not that they really believe it, but then google and facebook censor ISIS ‘recruitment’ videos and it starts to seem more plausible. It’s very similar to addiction theology:

    Frieden said. “You take a few pills, you can be addicted for life. You take a few too many and you can die.”

    Of course – if you live in Appalachia this is an accepted career trajectory. Otherwise not so much. France has laws prohibiting people from discussing drugs in a ‘positive light’. It’s the equivalent of banning the claim that “ISIS is a product of Russian aggression and Saudi madrassas”. You can imagine the outcome.

    1. A couple other things – Reason broke that Artan may have just as likely been a victim of microaggression indoctrination. And in fact modern mental illness theory is very similar to Islamic theology – “You’re a good person with a good heart – now just trust your conscience to tell you right and wrong.” Whereas ISIS says, “Now get out there and slay the infidels”, mental illness theology instructs: “So if you do a bad thing it’s because you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. Don’t worry we have treatments for it, and if you refuse then you may end up killing people. Get help before it’s too late.”

      Other than CVE indoctrination, other risk factors for lone wolf attacks are radicalization by the CIA/FBI (they try to ‘lure’ you into an attack), harassment by law enforcement (aka ‘surveillance’), and being pushed into marriage at a young age and having a daughter (or 2). Muslim kids who are recent immigrants are particularly susceptible because they believe the prevailing SJW propaganda uncritically.

    2. Also the private security industry is another risk factor – e.g. Omar Mateen and an attack last summer by a Somali security guard. In fact they were patsies for the industry – trying to ‘prove’ that we need them for this reason. Companies like G4S want the US to be just like Israel, with private security outside every hotel, restaurant and convenience store. Netanyahu is a master at instigation and incitement to promote the cycle of violence in Israel. Trump is trying to do the same here, though with less success so far. He is not quite yet a master baiter.

    3. The notions that ‘hate speech incites violence’ and ‘fake news is responsible for the Trumpocalypse’ and ‘jihadi videos make you go on killing sprees’ – these are completely false. This will be obvious from the Dylan Storm Roof trial: he wanted to find ‘proof’ that blacks were killing whites, and he went online to find it and he found it. Of course, someone obliged, and if google or facebook think they can prevent this they are delusional (and yes they are delusional).

      So what made Dylan Storm Roof kill 8 black people? Maybe the same thing that made Darwin Sorrells kill Dwayne Wade’s cousin. Can you think of what it might be?

  2. Indeed, it is now impossible to avoid the conclusion that government invasions of our privacy amount to worthless security theater, while these overseas adventures do little or nothing to prevent lone-wolf attacks

    It may be “impossible” to a rational human being, but it is certainly not impossible for politicians, in particular given that their livelihood depends on it. Of course, the same politicians are capable of believing that there is no difference between illegal migrants and legal, skill-based immigrants, and that if you call an ideology a “religion” it magically transforms into something benign.

  3. So apparently the SPLC classifies Orlando as a right wing terrorist attack and there are currently people protesting the shooting of the the Ohio State terrorist because it’s not his fault he was driven to it by oppression. These people actually blame these lone wolf Islamic terror attacks on white people being mean to them. I have yet to get an answer for why we don’t see black people and Mexicans committing these attacks.

    1. Mexicans don’t kill as much but they rape and deal drugs and are voting felons. We must round them up and hold them in Sheriff Joe’s open air prisons until the wall is built so we can safely and humanely deport the survivors. Blacks live in filth and squalor in the inner cities and it’s worse than a war zone but they are more a danger to each other than to the public at large with some exceptions. The solution is simply to pave over the inner cities while they are still there, much like Putin and Assad are doing in Aleppo. Then we can rebuild the inner cities and build splendid condominiums and move in our children and grandchildren.

    2. Beltway sniper was black. So was the Navy Yard shooter and Chris Dorner.

      1. UVA shooting was an Asian guy with only handguns. Oregon college shooter was half black raised by black mother. But “white guys do all the mass shootings” is still the media narrative. White people still make up 2/3 of the country. They should be the majority of shootings.

  4. The problem with Trump is that he promises to “end ISIS quickly” without “nation building”. What could this possibly mean? Obviously he plans to launch the nukies – and that’s why the Trumpkins cheer. Note the reference to “a billion infidels” in CVE propaganda. And yes, this will create lone wolf attacks so fast it will make your head spin.

  5. Holy missed alt-text opportunity Batman!

    1. If you support our current foreign policy you must be *nuts.*

      American resolve is facing important testes.

      H&R commenter unexpectedly encounters an article about police abuse.

      1. American resolve is facing important testes.

        Putin’s?

  6. This is possibly the first time i have ever felt that an animated GIF would have been *more* appropriate.

  7. “Rather than maintaining this ineffective, feckless interventionism, we would do well to let attacks like Artan’s occasion a serious reconsideration of the “war on terror” as we know it today, which amounts to throwing lives and dollars down the drain with no real impact on American security. Lone wolves aren’t going away any time soon and they are no easy problem to address, but we can begin by refusing to waste precious resources on misguided interventions that do more harm than good.”

    So what’s the solution? Maybe I’m just dense, but it seems to me that what is being called for in the quote above is capitulation to Islamic jihad, aspects of which have nothing to do with American foreign policy.

    I seem to recall France being among the most vocal critics of Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. That didn’t stop the Charlie Hebdo murderers, or those at the Eagles of Death Metal concert, or Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel in Nice. Sometimes all you need to be guilty of is dancing in a gay nightclub. Sometimes it doesn’t even take that.

    I don’t contest the notion that there has been encroachment on American civil liberties that has done nothing to curtail the actions of terrorists. However, this sloppy article does nothing to posit solutions to the problem of international Islamic jihad, nor is it especially serious about diagnosing the actual reasons people burst into cartoonists’ offices with Kalashnikovs.

    1. So what’s the solution?

      I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t one. Doing nothing is certainly a better option than a so-called “solution” that does not work and causes more harm than it solves.

    2. I really don’t think there are solutions – at least not solutions an agnostic/atheist would accept. There are tradeoffs.

      (Borrowing the slogan, but not specific policy ideas, from Thomas Sowell)

      There’s a version of Islam – a minority version, but it’s an minority – which says there’s a religious duty to fight the U.S. Perhaps this version of Islam will grow more popular the more the U.S. intervenes abroad (“we *told* you they were evil, look at all the wars they’re doing!”). Perhaps a U. S. “retreat” will make the violent version more popular (“see, we’re winning!”).

      Who knows?

      I look at what the alleged experts say on this, and I develop lots of humility about policy prescriptions.

      1. “a minority version, but it’s an *armed* minority”

      2. I really don’t think there are solutions – at least not solutions an agnostic/atheist would accept.

        *Taps nose* I see where this is going Eddie, and I approve.

    3. this sloppy article does nothing to posit solutions to the problem of international Islamic jihad

      The assumption behind the article is that the current wave of Islamism is a reaction to foreign meddling, rather than the foreign meddling being a reaction to Islamism.

      France gets attacked because France has an ugly recent history of fucking things up in the ME. They are, in fact, one of the primary culprits in designing the ongoing clusterfuck that is the modern ME.

      No amount of poo-pooing US foreign policy absolves France in the eyes the politically angry classes in Syria and Algeria.

      As far is ISIS, a strong case can be made that US interference in the region is actually hampering efforts to deal with ISIS.

      Example: if the US would just shit or get off the pot on Syria, ISIS would be crushed in short measure. We either act like we’re at war and crush Assad (having probably a medium-scale war with Russia to get there), crushing ISIS in the process, or we back off entirely and let Russia crush ISIS.

      As it is, we perpetuate the conflict by continuing to support the rebels, but not in a way that will actually lead them to victory. The resulting chaos and instability is perfect for a group like ISIS.

      The trouble is that the outcome of simply leaving – i.e. greater Russian and Iranian influence in the ME and less US influence – is not one that the US foreign policy establishment is interested in.

    4. Maybe I’m just dense, but it seems to me that what is being called for in the quote above is capitulation to Islamic jihad

      Capitulation implies that the foreign policy aspect of the war on terror is actually successful and beneficial, which is the exact opposite of what the quote argues. The argument is that, regardless of how much intervention occurs or how much money is being spent, it’s not going to actually prevent ‘lone wolf’ attacks. It’s about resources, why spend a trillion dollars attempting to develop Iraq into some quasi-pro-Western state when the reality is that it does nothing to actually prevent active attacks on American soil? The entire justification for modern Middle Eastern intervention is to prevent terrorism, so why do it when it’s not actually preventing terrorism?

      You don’t have to think blowback is the sole reason for terrorism to recognize that the ‘solutions’ offered by the war on terror are not working. ‘Lone wolf’ attacks are a difficult problem to approach, but I’d at least start with an armed populace, restrictions on immigration from countries with pre-existing hatred of the United States, and moderate monitoring of radical mosques (which already happens anyway). Oh, and maybe not have classes that cater to students’ psychological dysfunctions and legitimize every angry childish impulse as a product of your ‘victimhood’.

    5. The solution is to have our media do its best to make a mockery of Islam, the way they have done to Christianity.

      Part of the draw of Islam is that it makes people afraid of you. You have power because you are a muslim and people are scared silly to insult you

      When only a few people do it, like Charlie Hebdo or Pamela Geller, then they are vulnerable to being attacked. But if everyone does it, or a lot of people, they can’t attack or kill all of them.

    6. “I seem to recall France being among the most vocal critics of Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. That didn’t stop the Charlie Hebdo murderers, or those at the Eagles of Death Metal concert, or Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel in Nice. ”

      France and Belgium were attacking ISIS forces in Syria. At least some of the perpetrators you list explicitly stated they were doing it ‘for Syria.’ Actions have consequences, it needn’t be much more complicated than that.

  8. We can at least reduce lone wolf terrorism by not taking in any more Muslim refugees, and stopping Muslim immigration. “Foreign intervention” may well increase Islamic terror, but it’s not the root cause. Islam is.

    1. I think it would be enough to just do what Italy does: arrest/deport anybody who advocates terrorism.

      1. Nonsense.

        If you do anything to preemptively combat terrorism, you are no different from Stalin. That’s why, for example, nothing could be done with KKK as it would have meant mass surveillance, entrapment and/or imprisonment of entire white male populace of the South. So it was decided occasional lynching was price that is paid for civil society.

        Hey, North started the Civil War and burnded down Atlanta for no reason whatsoever, and was then surprised there was blowback.

        /sarcasm, just to be safe

        1. Dammit Pan, don’t mention the war.

          We do not need a Lost Cause debate or a “Abraham Lincoln was complete monster” thread.

      2. just do what Italy does: arrest/deport anybody who advocates terrorism

        That’s like bringing ants to your picnic, and then removing the ones that get onto the picnic blanket.

    2. “Islam is.”

      This is a typical liberal impulse to shift the blame away from the individual and put it on something vague and intangible like culture or religion. Collectivism lives!

  9. Spot the Not: Garrison Keilor op-ed
    Warning Stage 5 fart-sniffing

    1. I like Republicans. I used to spend Sunday afternoons with a bunch of them, drinking Scotch and soda and trying to care about NFL football. It was fun. I tried to think like them…But I came back to liberal elitism.

    2. Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next.

    3. Election Day was a terrible defeat for everyone who cares about tolerance, diversity, and the earth. Rubes, yokels, bumpkins- call them what you will. Their hatred and ignorance was triumphant.

    4. The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls.

    5. So he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out, and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president.

    6. We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers…

    1. I remember that article. I’ll guess 1 because I don’t remember that part.

      1. (It’s not cheating if you read the article *before* Derpetologist made a contest based on it)

    2. i got the last one wrong.

      5?

    3. IIRC, he never came right out and said No. 4. But he implied it.

      1. I remember reading the part about the spotted owls, but not sure about the rest.
        BTW, just so you know, spotted owl tastes pretty much like bald eagle.

        1. Yeah – I seem to remember a spotted owl reference, too, so I hesitated. My second choice would be No. 3. It’s a good general summary, but I don’t remember that specific passage.

    4. I remember this. He definitely said 6 because he went on to say making ones own pasta. Which is something I do and I am a mouth breathing conservative/libertarian. I also have not came across a beer I won’t taste. The smug made me shake my head.

      I am guessing #1

      1. Sadly, I actually have facebook friends sharing this piece and singing Keilor’s praises. They honestly have no idea why 90% of the country rolls its eyes at them.

      2. But I definitely remember No. 1 – it was a striking case of “I tried to be the bigger person with the knuckle-draggers, I really did.”

        1. I don’t remember that part, but maybe because I don’t know anyone who drinks scotch on Sunday afternoon with chicken wings and nachos. I’m uncultured.

          1. Well you didn’t expect him to share airspace with people who drink non-artisanal beer, did you?

    5. I will go with 4. it sounds too jocular

    6. I’ll pick 5. It’s seems like a caricature of a smug & arrogant lefty.

      1. I’m the only one who got it, but it was my second guess. What’s the ruling on that?

      2. Aaaah, you pulled that from a DU post didn’t you? It all sounds the same at this point.

    7. What did we ever do to you that you punish us with Garrison Keilor excretions?

      This qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

  10. OT, but…

    “College instructor tells students that Trump’s election was an ‘act of terrorism'”
    […]
    “Cox, a professor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif., did exactly that days after the election while standing in front of her students in a class – unleashing a multi-minute, hyperbole-filled harangue in which she called Donald Trump’s election an “act of terrorism,” referred to the president-elect as a “white supremacist” and said “we have been assaulted.”
    […]
    “The student who filmed the video has asked to remain anonymous for fear of facing retribution in Cox’s classroom, Recalde-Martinez said.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/art…..787898.php

    1. Progs define so many nonviolent acts as violent. Maybe it’s because if the “enemy” is violent, then violence in “self-defense” is OK, they think.

      “They started it!”

      Likewise, various forms of “institutionalized violence.” If you’re poor because bad guys committed institutionalized violence against you, of course you get to be a guerilla warrior and fight back.

      1. Example

        “Violence #1 – Institutional Violence. Violence #1 is called structural or institutional violence. By institutions, we mean “fairly stable social arrangements and practices through which collective actions are taken” — government, business, unions, schools, churches, courts, police, etc. Institutional violence could be defined as “any institutional condition, action or policy that emotionally or physically dominates, diminishes, dehumanizes or destroys others or the rest of creation.” In short, institutional violence is injustice.

        “More descriptively, institutional violence is rejection or neglect as well as attack — a denial of needs, a reduction of persons to the status of objects to be broken, manipulated, or ignored. The violence of bombs can cripple bodies; the violence of miseducation can cripple minds. The violence of unemployment can murder self-esteem and hope. The violence of a chronic insecurity can disfigure personalities as well as persons. And the violence of unequal laws can kill personhood as well as persons.”

        1. “Violence #2 ? Counter Violence. As Dom Helder puts it, institutional violence breeds counter-violence, violence #2 — race or food riots, prison revolts, taking hostages, terrorism, violent revolutions, and some of the crime we experience in our communities. But the response to violence #1 can also be nonviolent resistance — labor strikes, rent strikes, land takeovers, and other forms of civil disobedience as well as legal protests.

          “Violence #3 ? Repression. Violence #3 is the repression that is generally the response to violence #2. It takes the form of bigger police or military forces, military interventions, more prisons and tougher prison sentences, torture, censorship, destruction of unions, and other repressive practices characteristic not just of military regimes around the world but, at times, of our own government as well. While there are times when violence #3 is necessary, it is never sufficient to solve violence #1. Injustice must always be addressed. As many victims/survivors of injustice have put it: “no justice; no peace!””

      2. “We’re the persecuted underdogs! They started it!” is pretty much the universal human sentiment.

  11. conventional political wisdom has dictated that an aggressive foreign policy marked by preemptive military interventions and lengthy nation-building commitments and paired with a Constitution-trampling surveillance state is the best way to contain and prevent terror.

    I think this is something of a straw man. on multiple levels.

    No one claims that “what we do” is “best” merely by virtue of ‘that’s what we’re doing’. By definition, actions that can be taken are defined by what an actor has the capability to do; “Why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can.” Whether those things are “the best” is irrelevant. We only know certain dance moves, so whether its a polka or a rhumba, we’re doing the Running Man either way.

    its also not nearly accurate description of everything the government has actually done as part of any ‘counter terrorism’ strategy. I hate to find myself defending the shitty govt, but i dislike shoddy criticisms.

    we’ve done ‘extraordinary renditions’, we’ve used drones to fire missiles at small villages, we’ve tortured suspects @ black sites around the world, we’ve cooperated with slimy foreign intelligence services who will do dirty things we don’t want to be caught doing, we’ve surveilled the entire internet and used the FBI to engage in “Fake Terror” entrapment operations.

    Are those things “best” either? Guess. My point is that this idea that a simplistic concept of “intervention” is the problem is a canard.

    1. I also think its silly to look at “Lone wolf” attacks and pretend that our foreign military actions are a singular ’cause’.

      Look at all the lone wolf attacks in Europe over the last 2 years – were they because of Germany or Belgium or France’s history of aggressive and misguided military interventions?

      These lone-wolf types are the consequence of decades of adversarial conflict between the West and the muslim world, and no simple adjustment of US policy is going to change that overnight.

      So far what we do about them is mainly ‘surveillance, profiling, and FBI entrapment’. Whether those things provide any cost/benefit (i don’t think so) is a question entirely separate from whether trying to destroy ISIS is a good idea.

      There’s also the question as to whether that’s *really* what the US has been doing. I’d argue that the US policy has so far been to *babysit* ISIS and keep them alive (but quasi isolated). If we wanted to completely destroy them, we could. But we don’t because we don’t want another situation where the US takes 100% responsibility for a fragmenting region. So instead we’re more or less playing referee to proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

      Should we completely disengage and let the Sunni/Shia civil war run its course? Probably. But there are costs to that as well – and there are other people (see: Russia, Israel, etc) who may decide that lacking a US referee, that they need to fill that gap. Disengagement would have its own “costs”

      1. There’s also the question as to whether that’s *really* what the US has been doing. I’d argue that the US policy has so far been to *babysit* ISIS and keep them alive (but quasi isolated). If we wanted to completely destroy them, we could.

        ^ This.

        1. BTW, the belief that the US has enabled/aided ISIS is widespread… particularly among Iraqis

          Of course they already believe everything is part of a conspiracy between Israel & the US to keep them oppressed and disunited. Its just that in this case, they sort of have a point. We released ISIS leaders from our prison camps when we left Iraq; we armed them in Syria for years before we realized that they weren’t the ideal proxy-force to oust Assad.

          The fact is that the US has constantly put its thumbs on both sides of the scales in the slow-burn Sunni-Shia civil war. And everyone (except Americans) knows it.

          We realized we handed Iraq to the shia (and therefore Iran) – so now that Syria is falling, the foreign policy gurus are terrified that there will be a “Shia Crescent” running from Tehran to Damascus. So we armed Sunni rebels to try and overthrow the Assad/Hezbollah mafia that run the country.

          What do we want the end state to be? we want some artificial balance of power. but trying to engineer one with drones and SF isn’t going to happen.

          1. The fact is that the US has constantly put its thumbs on both sides of the scales in the slow-burn Sunni-Shia civil war. And everyone (except Americans) knows it.

            And there’s no excuse for not knowing it really – it’s the narcissism citizens of a superpower can indulge in.

            I mean, everyone knows (or should, since it’s not at all secret anymore) that the US was arming both sides in the Iran-Iraq war. I think everyone agrees that was pretty fucked up, and “stability” can’t have been the goal.

            That came out when I was a teenager, and I have no doubt that people in Iran and Iraq who are my age and older haven’t let that slip down the memory hole quite as easily as your average US citizen has.

            The paranoia that pervades the region is caustic, but not incomprehensible.

          2. “What do we want the end state to be? we want some artificial balance of power. but trying to engineer one with drones and SF isn’t going to happen.”

            Well put. IMHO I would say move our air bases from Turkey to Erbil and other than stopping genocide, most of which Obama already let happen, we take hands off. The Kurds seem to be the ones in the region who can deal with a representative democracy and are the most inclusive. (granted not many jews live there) Not to mention, we have fucked them over more times than can be counted.

            1. The Kurds seem to be the ones in the region who can deal with a representative democracy and are the most inclusive.

              Except when it comes to Turkmen, Assyrians, and Yazidis, who are subhuman. And Arabs, Persians, and Ottoman Turks, who are oppressors to be thrown off.

              I’m even old enough to remember when the Kurds were bloodthirsty and callous Commie terrorists with no regard for human life, and our only hope to stop their reign of terror in the north was to provide support for that great, moderate emblem of the modern secular ME, Saddam Hussein.

              There’s no upside to picking winners over there. Our people in charge have already admitted they have no understanding of the micro-politics in the region.

              1. I don’t know. There are quite a few Turkmen, Assyrians and Yazidis living in Kurdistan and getting along fine. The Arabs they seemed to have a problem with. I do not remember that history when stopping the Kurdish Commie menace was why we backed Saddam, but it could be I was not paying attention then. I thought we backed Saddam to stop Iran? Saddam sent the Kurds onto the front lines as cannon fodder in that war if I remember right.

                Agree though, there is no upside to picking winners. My suggestion was a plan of retreat from having to pick one.

                1. I do not remember that history when stopping the Kurdish Commie menace was why we backed Saddam

                  I exaggerate for rhetorical effect when I express US support for Hussein in the 80s – it was always mixed and hedged with a fair amount of skepticism and “least of available evils” rhetoric.

                  There was never a big “OMG Kurdish terrorists, yay Saddam!” When I was in middle school, even, which was about 1982-84, things seemed to be in transition – Iran had been our ally prior to 1979, and Iraq was considered to lean toward the Soviet block along with Syria. That’s how it was presented to me back when the context of studying current events was “who’s on NATO’s side and who’s on the Soviet side?”

                  After the Iranian revolution and the start of the Iran-Iraq war, publically the US was supporting Iraq, and the side stories about Communist terrorism from the Kurds was part of the “Hussein has quirks, but we need a guy like him” narrative.

                  1. Ya, I apologize for my not remembering much of the 80’s. That was my ski bum era. I didn’t start paying attention to anything in the world for 15 more years. To be honest, that is why I like to come to these here boards. There is a lot of wisdom, insight and history lurking here. I like to read it.

              2. What Square said

                this is funny =

                The Kurds seem to be the ones in the region who can deal with a representative democracy

                except for the fact that they’ve been violent commies for 50 years? 🙂

                I agree with ws in the sense that the Kurds *seem* like the good guys in the endless Sunni-Shia bitch-fight. They’re underdogs who simply want independence.

                But siding with them basically means the US would make a unilateral decision about the state of Kirkuk. Which, if you’re not hip to it, is one of the single largest source of oil reserves on earth. And iran and the arabs both want it. And they will kill every single kurdish man woman and child for it.

                US policy has been dancing around the idea of the partition of the country for a long time now, but i think its always been lurking in the background as an inevitable outcome. Kurdistan in the North and Shiastan in the south would each share oil revenues with Sunnistan in the West and everyone would agree to hate one another peacefully.

                However, ISIS basically makes that impossible. They’re the default arab-Sunni army. And the shia and kurds are now basically allied in kicking the shit out of them.

                none of this is going to end well; i think the US *would* back off and let them beat each other to death, but fear that Iran and Saudi arabia would end up escalating things even worse.

                1. ” but fear that Iran and Saudi arabia would end up escalating things even worse.”

                  Is that not happening?

                  I will defer to your historical assessment that the Kurds were commies for 50 years. I don’t know what their past politics were other than they wanted a Kurdish state. The PKK does not help that much by blowing shit up in Turkey, so maybe that is where the commie reference comes from, being the “workers party” and all. From what I saw the Kurds I worked with were less communist than your average Democrat voter. They just wanted a job and a stable country to work in. They didn’t think the guy down the street with the bigger house owed them something. The 10 years of no fly zone after the first gulf war seemed to give them a head start on the rest of the region. But I very well may be myopic on it all.

                  I am familiar with Kirkuk and the oil there, although when I worked there we were not allowed to enter the city. Crazy fuckers were blowing people up then. It got better, but now that seems to be the norm again.

                  It seems we all agree there is no answer. The Kurds will throw it at ISIS though. They have my respect.

      2. “So instead we’re more or less playing referee to proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

        Maybe, but maybe it goes beyond that. Once Assad is safely out of the way, and Islamists hold sway, they can turn their attentions to stirring up trouble among Chinese and Russian Muslim regions. Wouldn’t be the first time Islamists and US teamed up to fight the Russians or her interests. Not the second time, either.

        And US is not playing a referee. Saudi gets loads of weapons from the US and is a Strategic Partner, same diplomatic status as Israel enjoys, I believe. Iran is a pariah state to the US. Like Cuba was or NK is. Some ref.

  12. Everyday Feminism smashes all derp records with this piece. The like/dislike ratio on the accompanying video was a relief to see.

    Let’s start with trans people. Would you date a trans person? Think about it for a second. Okay, got your answer? Well, if you said no, I’m sorry, but that’s pretty discriminatory.

    If you met someone who was extremely attractive, had a great personality, but didn’t have the genitals that you wanted, you might be surprised to find that it isn’t a dealbreaker.

    Saying that you’re not attracted to fat people isn’t innate; it’s informed by a society that tells you that being thin is ideal.

    Everything in the media you consume is bombarding you with messages that skinny is beautiful and fat is ugly, and even the nicest of people absorb these messages to some degree.

    1. Gaah! GNaaaagh!

      Fuck, time to update AdBlock.

      WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, HUMANIOD WRITING THE ARTICLE?!

      In face of such stupidity, even my inner STEVE SMITH runs for dear life and sanity.

    2. I have decided that the whole feminist movement’s purpose is to destroy the sexual mores of society.

      That isnt derp you are looking at, it is insanity. There’s a difference.

      1. Are you serious!? Are you serious?! You can’t be serious. How dare you imply transgender people are mentally-ill, you awful, bigoted, hate-filled bigot. I BET YOU VOTED FOR TRUMP!

      2. It’s not insanity, it’s malevolence.

      3. My theory is that SJWs are enamored with famous activists of the past like Susan B. Anthony, MLK, and the movements that these people led. The SJWs want to be remembered as great activists themselves (or at least someone who participated in the movement).

        Unfortunately for them, actual discrimination has been on an overall decline* for a long time, so they have very little to protest. This is why they raise hell over the stupidest bullshit imaginable.

    3. If you met someone who was extremely attractive, had a great personality, but didn’t have the genitals that you wanted, you might be surprised to find that it isn’t a dealbreaker.

      And who is it who is determining what is and isn’t a “dealbreaker” on my behalf?

      1. People woker than you.

        Kind of people who are super-butthurt about Matt Damon starring the The Great Wall, movie written, directed, financed, produced and certified by Chinese companies and government top to bottom.

        You know, self-righteous busybodies.

    4. If you met someone who was extremely attractive, had a great personality, but didn’t have the genitals that you wanted, you might be surprised to find that it isn’t a dealbreaker.

      “Umm, but what if I want to have kids?”

      Saying that you’re not attracted to fat people isn’t innate; it’s informed by a society that tells you that being thin is ideal.

      Oh, thank god. Society is responsible for my BDSM clown fantasies.

  13. College students offended when told they should get jobs to pay back their loans:
    http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8512

    College history course teaches GOP opposition to affirmative action based on racism:
    http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8507

    College history textbook blames poverty on capitalism:
    https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=8297

    1. Amazing claim from #1
      “If you make the choice to borrow money, you should be aware that you’re going to have to pay it back.”

  14. Junta!

    A new president, swept into office on a tide of fake news and media manipulation, surrounds himself with generals: his adviser on foreign policy, the defense minister, his minister of the interior and the further possible appointments of foreign minister and intelligence director.

    That devious bastard Trump has pulled off a military coup, right under our noses. And you thought Obama was a master of 3-D chess.

    1. Does anyone else find it fucking hilarious that Trump is accused of being aided by “fake news and media manipulation” when Hillary is the one who has been caught red-handed colluding with major media outlets?

  15. The essence of “terrorism” is the creation in the minds of the general population of the fear of an ongoing structured endemic danger.

    Random crazy dumbfucks doing random crazy shit is not really terrorism.

    1. But it’s not “doing random crazy shit”, is it? Or am I missing people who scream “Allahu Akbar” then paint flowers on pedestrian crossing, run around throwing custard at cars, or marry elephants at the zoo?

      1. Same way that guy 30 years ago who killed a bunch of people because he thought God told him to wasn’t doing it because he was part of a Christian movement to impose a global theocracy, and bombing the Vatican would have done nothing to discourage him.

    2. The essence of “terrorism” is the creation in the minds of the general population of the fear of an ongoing structured endemic danger.

      My first thought was of course, “Climate Change”

  16. Some of our finest minds are to be found in the comment section of the NYT.

    Does the military really want to do the bidding of a chief who wants to make the United States of America a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Inc., or of The Apprentice?

    He seems to think he knows everything. He is so ignorant he makes himself a ready tool for the well organized Koch billionaire network; what is good for them is good for everyone.

    Unfortunately, they don’t seem to regard poisoning our air, earth, and water as worth giving up their quarterly profits. They are busy taking over our voting apparatus. Their idea about health care is that if you can’t afford it they’d just as soon you died sooner rather than later (the real death panels). After all, dead people can’t vote. They think taxes are for poor people. Oh, and those insurance programs you’ve paid for all your life – Social Security and Medicare – those are just for looting so they can bank their hoard some more.

    Nuanced. Substantive. Rational.

  17. Riddle me this:

    Bad: a white college girl dressing up as a geisha

    Good: a man dressing up as a woman

    How is cultural appropriation any different morally than transgenderism? It’s OK to pretend to be a different gender but not a different race?

    1. Now you’ve got me thinking on Halloween all over again. What would the call be on:

      Straight white man dressing up as straight white trans
      Gay white man dressing up as straight white trans
      Straight black woman dressing up as gay white trans
      Bisexual Latino trans dressing up as gay while male

    2. “Good: a man dressing up as a woman”

      There seems to be a big rift in the LGBTQXYZ community over this one. Some of them seem to be saying that gender is a malicious invention of society designed to oppress people. Others say that there are definite genders, but that people can move between them at a moment’s notice (since transgenders are basically saying, “look at me, I’m a woman – you can tell because I wear make-up and dresses, and that’s what women do, right?”)

      Inevitably, one side will defeat the other, and the losers will become personae non grata within the movement.

  18. Why are we still talking about this? Trump has said repeatedly and explicitly that these foreign interventions are a disaster and he won’t engage in them. The Bushbama policy doesnt work and he knows it. Let’s see what the man does before we start banging this drum.

    1. HE’S GOING TO NUKE THE WORLD!! HE SAID SO RIGHT ON LIVE TV!!!11!

      1. When sarcasm turns to disillusionment….

  19. another victory for multy-kulty Sweden:

    A church in Kristianstad has been forced to hire guards to keep the peace at services after the disruptive behaviour of “new clientele” has become increasingly serious in recent years.

    Christians have become frightened to visit the Holy Trinity church as newcomers are reported to yell loudly and smash liquor bottles during services, masturbate in the pews and urinate and defecate both inside and in the church grounds.

    Concerned locals have even reported concern over attempts to kidnap children during baptism.

    1. God, Swedes are so racist. Can’t they understand bringing in guards will just cause blowback?

      Damn it, is it so hard to precede your dumb sermon with ‘There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his Prophet’? Won’t cost you a thing, and will help newcomers integrate.

    2. Oh, I was too harsh. Tucked in the article is this factoid that should warm the heart of every libertarian:

      The security industry is booming in Sweden, with sales for market leader Securitas reaching 80 billion Swedish krona in 2015, twice the amount the nation spends on defence.

      Private enterprise stepping in to fill the need!

      (If true, of course).

      1. They really should have kept some berserkers around to keep a lid on things.

        1. I…I don’t think that’s how berserkers work.

        2. Then it’d just be berserkers urinating and masturbating in the pews. And burning down monasteries on the side. But hey, they’re great bridge border guards.

          1. Holy shit, that is the version of The Bridge that would be worth seeing.

            On Swedish side, our protagonist is a spunky female cop trying to make it in a male cop’s world.
            On Danish side, he’s a berserker from 850, recently unthawed and standing guard.
            Together, they investigate crime and have hilarious culture clash moments.

            1. “We’ve got to stop the Rogue Snowplower, he’s deliberately not plowing sidewalks so women fall over and die! …dammit Thorfinn, stop gnawing on the dashboard.”

              “TYR’S FURY FLOWS THROUGH MY VEINS, MY FOES WILL COWER AT HEL’S FEET. HRAGAGHAGHAGHAHA.”

    3. It makes me sick every time I see articles like that. I keep hoping the pendulum will swing back the other way and the average european will get enough of this shit and take their leadership out and stretch their neck then kick the savages out. How far does it have to go before that happens?

      1. Since when does the leadership of a country enable an invasion and the destruction of their own society? What the hell is wrong with these people?

  20. But it’s not “doing random crazy shit”, is it? Or am I missing people who scream “Allahu Akbar” then paint flowers on pedestrian crossing, run around throwing custard at cars, or marry elephants at the zoo?

    Okay- “random crazy violent shit” if that makes you feel better.

    -Police statistics released Tuesday show that the weekend’s violence pushed the city’s homicide total north of 600 for the first time since 2003, a figure that comes with two full months left in the year. At its current pace, Chicago could have more than 730 homicides this year, possibly eclipsing the city’s highest death toll in nearly two decades.- WaPo

    Are people calling for saturation bombing Chicago? Not that I am aware. Why not? “Terror” seems to be a justifiable response to the prospect of spending a weekend in Chicago.

    What’s the tally for those “lone wolf” attacks?

    1. Look at the demographics. The chicago perpetrators and victims are mostly from the same demographic. The terrorists are outsiders killing americans. It’s apples and oranges so different responses.

    2. Not saturation bombing, but no one wants to saturation bomb Dearborn, MI, yet, do they?

      War on Drugs was a response to, among other things, increase in urban homicide. And huge chunk of deaths above (I’m willing to bet) are resolutions of various disputes mixed with drug trade. Not always directly, of course. And I’m willing to bet more rights are being violated in that one city due to WoD than country-wide due to ‘lone wolf’ attacks.

      Now, you can argue this is an argument for abolishing WoD as well, and be right. Let people have what they want and they will probably stop killing trying to get it. Not sure how it applies to ‘lone wolf’ attacks here – pull out of ME and drive Jews out of Israel, maybe?

      1. Not sure how it applies to ‘lone wolf’ attacks here – pull out of ME and drive Jews out of Israel, maybe?

        The general thrust of the article is the speculation that there is no relationship between these things.

        Pull out of the ME completely, elect a Muslim president and replace the constitution with the Quran and Omar Mateen still shoots up the nightclub. He just screams a different slogan while he does it.

        1. That would have been an interesting point to make (and hard to prove – would McWeigh still murder hundreds of people sans Waco?), but not the take-away I had :

          Rather than maintaining this ineffective, feckless interventionism, we would do well to let attacks like Artan’s occasion a serious reconsideration of the “war on terror” as we know it today, which amounts to throwing lives and dollars down the drain with no real impact on American security. Lone wolves aren’t going away any time soon and they are no easy problem to address, but we can begin by refusing to waste precious resources on misguided interventions that do more harm than good.

          It says that no longer bombing ISIS is a necessary, but not sufficient condition (or at least a beginning) to “address the problem”.
          I tried to read it as “lone wolf or no lone wolf, pull out for unrelated reasons” but I can’t get past the “we can begin by refusing” part.
          Reason I’m so ornery is that, if Dylan Roof copycats start popping up, mass murdering black people because they hate black people, I bet response won’t be “can’t do much about lone wolves, but maybe begin to address the problem with a look at Affirmative Action”…

          1. A fair point.

            She does seem to go beyond saying “these actions aren’t helping” to “we can stop lone wolves by changing our foreign policy,” which is a dubious claim, since we can’t really know why these people do the things they do.

            Maybe Mateen and McVeigh would have done what they did anyway and expressed different reasons for it, or maybe they wouldn’t have, but to claim that their actions are not tied to what’s going on in the ME (or Waco) and then claim that we can stop them by changing what we’re doing in the ME is trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

    3. And right beneath the article, the headline: “How fascist is Donald Trump? There’s actually a formula for that.”

      1. 42

  21. If Chicagoans want some serious action taken, maybe they should remember to say, “I heard something that sounded like a loudspeaker playing a Muezzin’s call to prayer, just as the car drove by, and then everybody in the car started shooting.”

    1. Or they can ditch all of their unconstitutional gun laws.

  22. Funny how Trump didn’t mention terrorism after meeting with the victims of the OSU attacks. Keep your guy on message, Trumpkins.

  23. “Preemptive interventions, lengthy nation-building commitments, and a surveillance state are not the best ways to contain and prevent terror.”

    Not with that attitude. Think positive!

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