In the years leading up to World War II, any history book will tell you that the mainstream, and the most enlightened, of the population held that Hitler was not any kind of worldwide threat. He merely wanted to protect his homeland, Germany, and was resentful over how victorious nations had treated Germany after World War I. The prevailing wisdom was “peace in our time,” which in practice resulted in a policy of giving Hitler whatever he demanded, in hopes that he would calm down.
It didn’t work then, and it’s not working now with ISIS, not to mention the broader threat of Islamic totalitarianism.
Of course, such a policy of appeasement assumes that you’re dealing with a reasonable person. Everyone now understands that Hitler was not reasonable. Yet decades later, we treat Islamic states and terrorists as if they’re deep down reasonable and kind of have a point; so let’s give them what they want, and peace will eventually come. Yet as we can see, things are only getting worse.
The supposedly sophisticated and intellectual point-of-view (personified by Obama) tells us that ISIS is merely a fringe element of Islam. Their motivation is not religious, but merely anger over Western (and particularly American) “imperialism” (translation: being more successful and happier.) And they certainly are not hell-bent on world domination, we’re told. They only care about protecting their homelands.
That’s what our President, State Department and most of academia claim. Yet what does ISIS have to say?
Consider the following from pjmedia.com 2/24/15:
An ISIS e-book on how to accomplish their caliphate goal of sacking Rome stresses enlisting “the Islamic State’s secret weapon = secret white converts” to take on Italy.
Much of the book, “Black Flags from Rome,” is dedicated to laying out a case for why Muslims in Europe should rise up and assist ISIS from within, citing justifications for discontent from modern-day anti-immigration protests back to post-Ottoman creation of Muslim “ghettos.”
…The book predicts such “recruits” sympathetic to their cause “will give intelligence, share weapons and do undercover work for the Muslims to pave the way for the conquest of Rome.”
And check out this quote from the referenced ISIS manifesto:
“The Western powers would not get involved in physical ground combat because they had just withdrawn from a failed war in Iraq (their public wouldn’t be happy with it.) This opportunity gave the Islamic State to grow stronger, with more fighters and more territory and resources as the world watched on. Those who had left Europe to join the Islamic State would now be able to help other Europeans’ get into Syria… Here they could learn basic armed/shooting combat, assassination techniques, how to make explosives from homemade materials etc.”
We’re constantly preached at, by our President and others, to look at things from the Islamic point-of-view, and bow our heads in humility and compassion, even as they chop off heads and topple skyscrapers. Feel for them, talk to them, “give” them jobs … don’t bomb them.
It actually is wise to examine things from your enemy or opponent’s point-of-view — not for self-sacrificial or altruistic reasons, but for your own self-defense. Our allegedly brilliant leaders at the top of the government are not doing that. Ironically, there seems to be nobody in official life really examining the ISIS point-of-view with respect to how they actually see the United States and the West.
ISIS clearly sees us as nothing more than paper tigers, unwilling to take any risks or responsibility for defending ourselves. The entire operating premise of the Iraq War (and Obama’s policy since, even more so) has been: No civilian lives may be lost. That would make militant Muslims angry, and there will only be more violence.
The name for this policy is appeasement.
People appease in daily life, too. They have a family member who’s verbally hostile, rude, hateful, and psychologically chops off people’s heads whenever he or she feels like it. Family members (or coworkers, in an office) dance around the person in hopes that, “If we’re nice, then he/she will settle down and be nicer.” This sometimes works with reasonable people, but never with unreasonable people.
In fact, with unreasonable people, it only makes them worse. You’ve sent them the green light to verbally and emotionally step on you even more. Until you fiercely stand up to them and say something like, “Stop acting this way. I will not tolerate it, and I will not live this way. I’m done with you until you change,” and then back up these words in practice, there’s no possibility that anything will change. Love and hugs will not turn mean or nasty people into nice ones. People like to think they will, but it doesn’t work that way. That’s why appeasement is always a failure, and only makes things worse.
When you appease people like Hitler — or in today’s context, ISIS –you set the stage for the slaughter of thousands, if not millions.
Most Americans, like the President they twice elected, seem to think that ISIS will never go beyond the Middle East. But if you think that, then you’re not listening to what they’re saying.
The pjmedia.com article continues: It [the ISIS manifesto] states that European Muslims can ally with “a growing population of left-winged activists (people who are against; human/animal abuses, Zionism, and Austerity measures etc)” who “look up to the Muslims as a force who are strong enough to fight against the injustices of the world” in countering a growing divide between Muslims and “right-wing neo-Nazis.” It specifically cites people who are “sometimes” allied with Anonymous or anarchy groups — even though, angered by the assault on Charlie Hebdo, Anonymous is currently carrying out a hacking operation to take down ISIS accounts.
These people are shrewder than you think. They correctly realize that “leftists” in the United States, while not religious fundamentalists, are, in varying degrees, hostile to what the United States (in their minds) still stands for: self-interest, individualism, capitalism, economic freedom. For different reasons than ISIS, they’d like to see the United States suffer. Be destroyed? No, of course not. But at least pay its “dues” for unstated reasons to unnamed sources, for having been too “selfish” and too successful as a nation and culture over two and a half centuries.
ISIS stands ready to collect those dues, without shame or apology.
Most seem to think of Islamic terrorists as raging and foaming-at-the-mouth crazies who ultimately can’t accomplish that much. You’re deluding yourselves. 9/11 was more than enough to prove that evil, when it applies itself, can be competent, particularly when its victims are asleep at the wheel, or feel unearned moral guilt and shame.
ISIS in Rome? Or Paris, or London? That’s crazy! Not going to happen, most people will say. They don’t have the organization or the military that Nazi Germany did. Europe, much less the United States, will never let it happen.
But ISIS does have something going for it that Nazi Germany did not have: A morally and psychologically disarmed United States. What I mean by that is an attitude of, “We cannot hurt civilians. We cannot inflame the anger of Muslims. It will only make things worse.” And, “We’re partly to blame here. We’re big, bad, arrogant and mean. We have all this wealth here, and they don’t have much wealth. That makes us mean.”
This was not the premise of the United States during World War II. Not even when led by the socialist of its time, Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Truman, his successor who bombed Japan with nuclear weapons, was a liberal Democrat as well.) The Nazis and the imperialist Japanese were only defeated with overwhelming conventional and nuclear force.
We would never win World War II today.
Imagine fighting World War II and saying, “We only need to kill Hitler. And in the process, we must not bomb any cities or upset the civilian German population in any way.” What do you think the outcome of World War II would have been?
Imagine fighting World War II today, on the premise that you only need take down the enemy’s leader — Hitler, and the Japanese Emperor — and then the war will be over. That’s how we operate today. Osama bin Laden is gone. ISIS has risen in his place. ISIS is a movement, not an individual. It’s potentially more dangerous than bin Laden ever was. In time, we will know how much. Islamic totalitarianism as a movement is not going anywhere, especially if the United States continues to practice appeasement. It’s fueled less by its own actual strength than by the weaknesses in American response generated by the psychology of appeasement, and the ideology of self-sacrifice.
Sometimes in life, you have to think in terms of black-and-white, right and wrong. Perhaps that’s not your way, and maybe you don’t want to do it. But people like ISIS come along and force the issue. ISIS is very clear: “We are good, and you are evil. We are right, and you are wrong. We will do everything in our limited power to destroy you.”
However you respond to such a threat, it cannot be: “We don’t want to make you mad. Please, let’s talk and work this out.” Appeasement does not work with people who are dangerous, criminal and hate you to the point of wishing to destroy you.
If we’re not allowed to destroy buildings or harm civilians, how are we to win the war against ISIS and Islamic totalitarianism as we did World War II? I’d love to hear an answer to this question.
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