Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Solidarity with Belgium!

We share the grief with those in Belgium after the terrorist attacks, and applaud their courage and resolution, their national response, in the face of violence and loss.  It is correctly being reported that given the EU and NATO entities located in Belgium make this as much an attack on the international community (particularly the western world) as it is specific to Belgium.

I applaud the courage and practicality of the Belgians in responding to the tragedy by using twitter to organize private cars to help people stranded by the attack return to their homes.  Well done.

I would argue that it is inevitable that in fighting a war on terrorism, we will experience attacks, people will be hurt or killed, but that we cannot let that shake our resolve or let it stampede us to act out of fear, including how we vote.  There is no magic solution that will ever keep us perfectly safe from all harm, not walls, not increasing our military activity in the middle East. Least of all should we let this gin up hatred for all Muslims because of the extremism of a few.  Time for Americans to toughen up, to emulate the stiff upper lip of the Brits, in how we respond to attempts to frighten us.

The two posters below were prepared by the British government in 1939, in anticipation of attacks in the coming WW II.  We should keep the advice in mind in the face of terrorism as well, in the face of attempts to frighten us away from fighting extremism by any name or acronym.

The attacks in Paris were the result of the success by allied forces in bombing ISIS oil, along with the economic 'war' with oil prices being at record lows.  That has caused ISIS to begin to go broke, to severely impair their ability to buy weapons and ammunition, explosives, or to pay their fighters, even to feed their fighters.  The Paris attacks were an attempt to stop the French from being effective against ISIS, as the French were taking the lead in those targeted bombings of ISIS resources.  ISIS claimed that was the reason for the attacks, and our own leaders have said the same.

Likewise, the terrorist attacks in Brussels is a push-back against the effectiveness of the Belgians since the Paris attacks in rooting out terrorists.  Success means push backs; it does not mean we run around in hysteria as a result of such attacks, it means we recognize this is what winning looks like. We must double down, and that we recognize that we might have more of these before we establish some kind of limited victory.  Realistically, given the complexity of the problems involved that have led to extremism, limited victory is the optimum possible.

Finally, I'd like to share a graphic from a European friend of mine; the translation is "Finally when one see what can be done in the name of God, one has to ask what activity is left for the devil."

I am seeing a lot of hateful things being done in the name of God or by those who claim deep religious belief in God, and it is not from Muslims, but from Christians.  Let us look to ourselves first in considering the wisdom below.

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