Righteous Bombing

Heavily armed extremely brutal fanatics threaten and take concrete steps to massacre members of religious minorities. Those who have the power to stop them, wealthy democracies, dither until the actual massacre begins. At the same time, a brave and peaceful small country is in danger of being eradicated by the same monsters. Then the armed democracies suddenly take necessary but insufficient military measures to stop the fanatics. Wait a minute; I have seen this movie before. That was around 1940 and immediately thereafter.

I am not talking about Nazis, Jews, and Czechoslovakia, of course but about the so-called Islamic State in northern Iraq and in Syria (ISIS), about Iraqi Christians and about the Yazedi minority there. And, I am talking also about the de facto state of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Don’t blame me for using a cliché, a tired comparison. It’s not my choice; it’s imposed on my mind by reality. Also, underlying the current Western inaction is the same collective state of mind that allowed Nazi Germany to rise from its ruins, to attack its neighbors, to prevail upon them and to make them die in large numbers. It’s the same Western mentality that made the insane but deliberate slaughter of the Jews of Europe finally conceivable and doable. Our societies are emotionally castrated. They don’t have even the primitive vigor of a male baboon coming to the aid of a bullied younger member of its band.

This is not politically correct language, of course. Let me add: Fuck feminism! It’s played it insidious part in our moral debacle.

There are reports that the ISIS monsters have kidnapped hundreds of Yazedi women. “To take them as wives,” a dingbat (female) main TV channel commentator added. Normally, I would dismiss the report as typical war propaganda. I won’t in this case because the ISIS scum are orthodox Muslims. I believe Islam explicitly allows the practice. The example comes from on high. The Prophet himself “married” the wives of his defeated enemies. How they must have enjoyed themselves being penetrated by those who had killed their husbands, their brothers, their fathers the same day or they day before! There is so far not a single feminist voice to affirm publicly that what’s going on over there is mass rape. I guess, they can’t do it because it’s a different culture and all cultures are equal.

I am not one of those who will reproach President Obama for finally doing the right thing and sending the US military to intervene. The president is a slow learner but it’s better than being a no learner. As I write, he ordered three airstrikes on ISIS military positions and two air deliveries of emergency supplies to refugees threatened with massacre on a mountain top. One of the strikes was against a (A) mortar position. I believe a dozen planes at most were involved in all flights over Iraq. We have hundreds of planes in the area. We could have thousands in a week if we wanted to. The Western allies have more. The ISIS forces move along roads and parade in columns of trucks and captured American armor. It could be a turkey shoot if we had the willpower. Those people need killing the way SS divisions needed killing between 1939 and 1945. And yes, Americans might die, members of the military all. That’s their job. That’s what they signed up for whether or not ISIS is currently a threat to the US. (I don’t know if it is. It has the potential and the ideological motivation though.) And please, don’t tell me that I don’t have any valid military idea because I did not serve. I did serve in a military, on an aircraft carrier, actually. I am familiar with how easy it is to send many well armed planes into the air and to retrieve them safely. Of course, I refer to an era when there weren’t even cruise missiles nor drones.

The persecuted minorities of northern Iraq deserve to be saved, whatever their immoral beleaguered government (our past creature) does or does not do in this respect. Autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, this haven of peace an safety, of tolerance and of prosperity in an ugly neighborhood deserves to be saved from the ISIS barbarians. Incidentally, many Americans don’t seem to know that Kurdistan is the best result of our best efforts in that part of the world. It’s really an American protectorate. Letting it suffer would again signal to our friends and to our enemies worldwide that America is spent, finished. I am thinking, as I write, not only of Islamist fanatics but also of authoritarian. gangster-run Russia, and, behind it of ever-expanding totalitarian China. Incidentally also, the Kurdish men have demonstrated much bravery in the past, military skills, and a willingness to die to defend their homes and their families. We couldn’t wish for better local allies.

In this case, there should be no moral dilemma even for liberals. Killing the men with the guns to protect the lives of children is ethical by all religious and humanistic standards. Destroying the beast in its infancy is not only recommended, it’s required. All Americans should push for the president quickly to escalate the number and destructiveness of the attacks on ISIS and to multiply by ten the mercy flights for its victims until the food and water thus deliverfed actually goes to waste.

“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” (Winston Churchill.)

Historical notes.

Kurds are a large minority in Iraq and in Turkey, a smaller one in Iran and an even smaller one in Syria. Although most of them are Sunni Muslims, they have a distinct historical identity maintained over the centuries by a linguistic boundary, by the fact that their language is unrelated to Arabic or to Turkish. It’s a little related to Farsi, the main language of Iran; it’s an Indo-European language like Greek, English and French, for example. I have read widely about that part of the world. I can’t remember examples of Kurdish religious fanaticism. Saladin, the Muslim leader who finished off the Crusader Christian kingdoms of the Middle-East was a Kurd. He was reputed for his tolerance and his kindness toward his vanquished enemies.

The Christians of Northern Iraq have been there ever since there was a Christianity. They are also known as “Chaldeans” and “Assyrians.” The Muslim powers who ruled the region since about 700 let them be mostly unmolested. (The Prophet Mohammed recommended tolerance toward Christians who submitted.)

I don’t know what the Yazedis believe. Many Yazedis are reported to not know what they believe because they keep no written religious texts. What’s important is what they are not. They are not monotheists. As such, they can claim nor formal protection under Islamic law. They are this legitimate targets for booty, including sex booty, enslavement and persecution.

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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9 Responses to Righteous Bombing

  1. johnczaja says:

    Jacques,
    you might not be in the classroom anymore but you definitely are still teaching

    thanks for the history lecture

    John Czaja

  2. With the exception of the Kurds, all of the minorities currently under ISIS attacks were protected by Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist regime.

    Do you still think removing Hussein was a great idea? Or did the GOP make the right choice by acting like baboons (your example, not mine)?

    How you answer this question will go a long way toward re-establishing your tarnished credibility as a voice of reason in international affairs.

    If you’ll recall, an Australian Muslim and member of ISIS was recently featured proudly displaying the severed head of a member of Syria’s Ba’athist-controlled military. You wanted to ambiguously bomb the Ba’athist Syrian regime just a few short months ago. If given the chance, would you remove Assad from power today? I ask because, like Hussein, he’s the one who protects religious and ethnic minorities from the majority. Much of his ruthlessness stems from the burden of protecting religious and ethnic minorities.

    Were Assad to be removed, Syria would become Iraq. Is it worth it? For democracy’s sake? For freedom’s sake?

    By the way, libertarians predicted this exact scenario for Iraq back in 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were explaining to the Western public just how dangerous Saddam Hussein was. The carnage is pretty standard textbook stuff, actually.

  3. Brandon: The short answer is that you have to try and remove clear evil even if your attempt might turn sour. I would still remove Saddam today but I wouldn’t stay behind.

    You statement that Hussein was protecting all minorities except the Kurds is strangely false. There were mass graves of the Shiites that Hussein was protecting according to you. Of course, you may be technically (and again, absurdly) right because the Shiites come close to being a majority in Iraq instead of a minority in the usual sense of the word.

    There are ways of being right that are worse than being wrong. You just exemplified them.

    I would use American power to remove Assad today. I would have done it more easily two years ago when there was still a strong democratic opposition within Syria.

    Here is a question for you Brandon:

    If you could, would you roll back history and re-install the constant butcher Saddam Hussein?

    • I wouldn’t “re-install” anybody. Your questions always seem to smack of bad faith.

      Given the choice between letting a strong man rule Iraq (an inevitable outcome in a state like Iraq), or watching the results of the ethnic and religious cleansing campaigns created by the US military’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the answer is simple.

      Democracy is not some sacred cow that needs to be force-fed down the throats of unbelievers (indeed, a force-fed democracy is no democracy at all), and failing to take responsibility for your support of an immoral war only serves to further entrench you in a worldview dominated by litanies and dogma. Though, with your blog’s four fluffers (look it up), I’m not sure that you even care anymore…

  4. david says:

    i take a leave of absence and brandon is still lurking around…jeez…i’ll pop him a question then…given that it is not presently possible to change the course of history (a la dr. who) what would you do/ not do given the current situation in iraq?

    • what would you do/ not do given the current situation in iraq?

      That’s a good question David.

      I would admit to myself that Iraq itself, as a state, is simply not a viable option for reality. I would cease recognizing it as such, and – together with other polities in the West – begin recognizing diplomatically the independence of regions within Iraq.

      That is to say, I would destroy Iraq and create a number of states (five or six would be okay) in its place. This could be done peacefully and legally. Then I would do my best to tie these independent states together through trade and loose political bonds, and present them all with free trade agreements with the United States to either accept or reject as they see fit.

      This would not only get rid of the “strong man problem” associated with post-colonial states like Iraq, but it would also constrain them through international norms. So, for example, if ISIS decided to attack Kurdistan then the international community could apply pressure on the leaders and the economy of ISIS, or condemn ISIS, or even declare war on ISIS in response to such a naked act of aggression. Today, the world is unable to do this because ISIS has not been incorporated into any kind of legal mechanism that has been designed – in the West hundreds of years ago – to deal with this kind of problem.

      All the West can do at this point in regards to failed post-colonial states is either watch helplessly as ethnic cleansing campaigns happen (DR Congo, Rwanda), or shoot blindly into the crowd and hope for the best (Iraq, Syria, Libya). The West must do better than this, and governments can start by beginning to treat non-Europeans as they would treat their own, non-black citizens. If this seems absurd consider that the secessionist aspirations of the Québécois, the Flemish, the Scottish, the Catalans, the northern Californians, the West Virginians, and the Lombards are all treated with respect and given a fair hearing in various settings – from official government referendums and hearings to media accounts to taverns and coffee shops.

  5. Answer to Brandon: “Wouldn’t re-install anyone;” he can’t answer my straightforward question but I am the one who is “in bad faith. ” He is trembling with rage so badly I can feel it through the Internet.
    It’s completely obvious where he is trying to go in spite of his puerile rage: Same old s…. It’s not interesting, or not interesting enough to work through the crudeness Brandon displays.

    Brandon is as welcome as anyone else to make comments on this blog. He has not earned any special right to be answered. Anyone else can, of course.

    PS I never miss a chance to wish Brandon continued success on his blog Notes on Liberty. There, well sheltered from disagreement, he tends to be reasonably courteous. I recommend it.

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