Nov 15

Baguettes without bullets

Terrorism and war share strategies but different casualties.  War usually pits conventional armies against each other while terrorism usually targets friends and neighbors.  War has rules, terrorism has nothing, no governing morals, no Geneva Conventions.  Terrorism is the cry behind which armed assailants open fire on concert-goers in the name of a cause.

There was a brief moment between congratulation and claim: ISIS, or ISIL, lauded the attacks on Twitter, then took responsibility.  Witnesses reported no such claim, none of the terrorists yelled allegiances before opening fire, no one screamed religious epithets.  I’m glad for that: Islam has been a religion under fire for promoting anti-everything beliefs, but Islam is just a religion, one of many on this planet, followed by millions or billions, and just like any religion, a few nutcases are among the ranks.

ISIS is a group comprised mainly of religious nutcases.  They interpret the Koran with strict law.  The same would happen if we Americans adopted strict Biblical law: we would be able to sell family members into slavery or stone those we deem as lawbreakers.  To that end, I understand what they’re doing, but I still think they’re mad.  Governing by 2,000-year-old law is like using an abacus at the grocery store.  It’s outdated, inefficient, and ripe for mistakes.  ISIS believes in a strict interpretation of Islamic law, but most or all of the ISIS leadership is living in the past (approximately 20 centuries ago).

At a restaurant that had the privilege of not being bombed, I asked my girlfriend Jasmine, “At what point do we consider ISIS a sovereign state?”  She said we shouldn’t, as that would lend legitimacy to what they’re doing.  I agree.  But declaring war on a terrorist group and declaring war on a country are different things.  Who do you attack in a terrorist group?  And where?

ISIS controls a large patch of land from Syria to Iraq.  Despite repeated attacks from the US, Russia, Turkey, pissed off Frenchman, Syrian government soldiers, any Iraqi forces left, ragtag resistance fighters, mavericks who decide to cross into the country to take out as many as they can before being beheaded, ISIS has a border.  A border that isn’t receding.  ISIS has issued its own currency, built schools, and recruited new soldiers, many of them children.

If you’re looking toward the womb for new soldiers, the fight’s already been lost.

The ISIS mission statement, whatever that may be, is unsustainable.  They want to declare war on the entire world.  They literally do not have enough manpower, equipment, or weapons to do so.  What they can do is sneak a few people into a country they hate and open fire, detonate a bomb, and instill fear in the locals.  No one can catch them all.  When I visited France a few years ago, military police were everywhere.  The threat of gunfire can’t protect the citizenry.  You never know who’s going to go to an Eagles of Death Metal concert.  It sucks to think that, in one minute, you can be partying along, and the next minute, you can be dead on the floor.

What is the answer?  There is no answer.  You just have to hope someone won’t shoot you in cold blood.

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