Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rattlesnake Logic

After the shock and sadness wears off, there's no doubt that many conservatives will use yesterday's attack by a lone gunman in Ottawa to justify their ongoing anti-Jihad crusade.  I noticed a few conservative-sounding Canadians on the news last night staring into the camera saying this violence, "Is our future!" and that now "We're all in!"   Like we should just accept it as the necessary cost of fighting against our enemies.  

I refuse to accept that awful future they wish for us. I blogged last weekend about Jean Chretien's recent commentary against Harper's decision to send Canada into combat in the Middle East.  I stand by those comments.  We should not be engaging in combat anymore in the Middle East. 

It seems the two murderers in Canada this week observed a grotesque religious ideology. They may have both been insane.  It'll be very difficult to know the truth now that they're both dead.  But some facts are clear.  They both chose to act after Canada voted to engage in combat against ISIS, not before.   It seems likely they decided to attack Canadian military targets in reaction to the decision by Canada's Conservative government.  We should be thankful the murderers aren't yet attacking civilian Canadians.  But that could easily change.  Hopefully, our law enforcement will be more vigilant in stopping them before more attack in the future.  

Yesterday, just a couple of hours after the shooting started in Ottawa, a beloved uncle, with whom I've often held passionate and interesting political email or in-person discussions, sent this email below to me and another family friend of his.   My uncle's mostly a conservative with rare liberal tendencies.  He's gone off for years on the rabid Jihadist threat, akin to other conservatives we all know.   

I thought I'd share this email string to illuminate my own thoughts on yesterday's terrible events, why they may have happened and how we might react: 

"Subject: Rattlesnake Logic

"The last few days certainly validate that logic in dealing with Terrorists"
"So the gunmen were actually rattlesnakes and not human beings?   Holy mackerel! "

My uncle's reply: 

"That may be your definition of what they are .
My point was/is that there is no more value in trying to talk/reason with these folks , ( who just shoot/ run over people to kill them ) than there is in reasoning with a rattlesnake.
I believe they should be treated as one would treat a dangerous rattlesnake.
If you allow it , they will kill you first.
We see it on our tvs ."

To which I replied:

"They are human beings, yes.  That's not my definition, that's who they are.  

"I don't sympathize with jihadis or their ideology, obviously.  But I also think never-ending Western military colonialism/intervention in the middle east (which we are now engaged in yet again) is the main reason we have these jihadis coming after us.  It's also the main reason why their ranks continue to grow, and why they're even Canadian-born.  The best way to grow the jihadi threat is to launch a U.S-led Western military mission in the Middle East.   I agree with Chretien who wisely kept us out of the last Iraq war, we would've been better not launching our token miltary effort this time, instead to have supported a primarily Arab-country military action against ISIS, and focused instead on humanitarian support in which we could be effective.  

"Rattlesnakes don't attack unless provoked, and we are provoking them.   Maybe instead of killing them all, we should instead leave them alone.  You can say that human beings are no better than rattlesnakes, but that degrades your humanity, not theirs.  And it makes us all targets."

To which he replied:     

"Matt ; if the never ending western intervention makes these poor souls come here and slaughter a few Canadians , what did the Iraquis ,Syrians , Kurds etc ever do to have them kill hundreds of thousands , force them from their homeland , rape and abuse females . (the list could go on )
You are correct that these killers are human ; but as low as one could get, and deserving of ZERO respect.
How you can justify and excuse their actions by blaming others is amazing.

"The very noble Chretien may have had good intentions (  some might wonder at just the sheer delight of refusing a Republican ) but if every good politician did likewise , who/how would prevent the devastation that these “ bad guys “ are causing . Waiting until they run out of bullets is not considered a good strategy by most folks.

"Please call me when you hear about this Arab army actually doing something about the problem.
My bet is that IF it happens , I will get to watch from a different place , and certainly , in a much different time , than 2014 or 15 ."

To which I replied:

"The 2003 Iraqi war removing Saddam Hussein actually laid the groundwork for ISIS's eventual rise.  Hussein could've kept them down.  But he had to go, in Bush's mind.  So the Kurds who wanted Hussein gone still got screwed in the end.  Oops.  
"If the Arab countries view ISIS as a threat, they should take action against them.  

"And this new war is not about saving women and children.  This is about oil and continued control over the region, which is what ISIS is really threatening and why the West is intervening.  There are lots of women and children being threatened by bad guys all over the world and we're not intervening there.  Remember those girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria?   The West did nothing to help them.   No oil was threatened.  
"Do I think Canada has a stake in that fight of maintaining Western power in the Middle East?  No."

My uncle:

"Now the subject changes from these poor souls being forced to commit travesties by western intervention, to the 2003 war , oil and control of the land .
Let’s establish if these guys are acting like wild animals or not !!! in my opinion , people that do things these guys are doing , are deserving of exactly the treatment they like to hand out !!!
"The notion that countries like Canada and US , that are energy self sufficient would go to war , because of oil , doesn’t make sense. It’s in their interest to have turmoil in the middle east oil sector , to increase prices. I completely agree that the Arab countries should take action !! If they don’t , who then to protect the weak , or are those “humans” less deserving of sympathy, than the jihadists ??
"War IS  a terrible option !!! But what should one do to stop people like these jihadists ??
Can’t imagine the families of the slain Canadian soldiers feeling very considerate of them today.
"I also agree that we don’t need Western Power in the middle east . Nor do I believe that we can stand  by, when we can help, to restore peace , and then get out."

To which, his family friend chimed in:

"We could be self-sufficient with our oil reserves.
The U.S. may eventually be, but is not currently self-sufficient.

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