UPDATE: I’m totally open to arguments in favor of a strategy of non-intervention. But, it must be a strategy of substance. What is the hopeful outcome of such a strategy? What defines success? What defines failure? What is the contingency plan in the event of that defined failure? I believe that simply saying “leave them alone” is both insufficient and intellectually lazy. Explain how a non-interventionist strategy will work, what are its goals, and how will we measure whether it is succeeding or failing? These are not rhetorical questions, I honestly want solutions. Our past policies have failed and are arguably responsible for our current situation. Paint me a full and vivid picture of your vision of non-intervention and what your hoped for outcome will be.
I watched the entire video ISIS published on the Kassig execution. The video is 95% propaganda and 5% or less executions. I truly think it is important that all adults concerned for the endurance of western free society and who are not faint of heart watch at minimum the non-execution portions of this video. Why? Because you will otherwise never fully understand the nature of the propaganda and the effectiveness it must have on its intended targets.
It is undeniably a powerful recruitment tool for those of that mindset. If you are a Christian, project your dedication to Christ upon the dedication to cause harbored by these devotees. Look comparatively upon the so-called “Christian” cults you’ve witnessed, and the secular cults of personality which have engendered such dedication as to even successfully solicit mass suicides. I implore you to look very closely at the portions of the video which glorify their movement’s vision, and imagine yourself viewing a 20 or 30 year old historical film cataloging the rise of an evil empire which was defeated at great expense of blood and treasure. You will have the same feeling that you get when watching old Nazi propaganda films, except with an ominous sense of premonition.
As I watched I got a very strong sense of the rise of a global evil which, if left to the Neville Chamberlain’s of our world, will give us a similar “peace of our time”. But this is just an evaluation. It does not make me a “neocon” because I’m not yet proposing solutions. I am still willing to entertain the 20/20 hindsight conversations elaborating as to how this situation came about, and am intellectually honest enough to let those conversations place blame on anyone or any policy regardless of the political party from which it was birthed.
However, from this point forward, I believe it is senseless to discuss appropriate actions or inaction with anyone who is ignorant of the content of this video. I’m not expressing outrage about the executions, although I am indeed outraged. In fact it might be better for your mental health to skip those parts which is why I have indexed that for you.
The intent of this article is to focus upon the powerful propaganda, the possible futures it implies, and start a conversation which will hopefully reconcile grassroots conservatives to each other despite their heartfelt differences on which courses of action are most appropriate.
In the late nineties I came across an estate sale which had a basement full of Life Magazines. I went through them and cherry picked anything with the space program on the cover. In the process of doing so I found a late 1970s issue with a cover of Palestinian 10 and 12 year-olds brandishing fully automatic weapons with grimaces of aggression and confrontation on their faces. In the context of the early 1990s I was looking back upon what at the time of publication should have been seen as prophetic photography. That is how I request you look at this ISIS video. Notice the sections with the multitudes of blind loyalists. Notice their age. Consider the indoctrination which is transpiring. Consider it in the context of their view of the world — in most cases one completely isolated from and void of any perspective we possess.
This situation, regardless of its cause, cannot be ignored. Ignoring it WILL enable it to grow and prosper, and evolve from militia to insurgent movement to army to empire.
To all my friends in the liberty and tea party movements, and other factions of the spectrum on the right, whether you be neocon, recovering neocon, pacifist, isolationist, or promoter of reasonable restraint, I’m asking you give serious consideration to the idea that doing nothing is not a viable option. Then, seriously consider what actions are and are not acceptable in your eyes. Prepare yourself that some of the future excellent candidates we may consider will not have a litmus testable level of agreement with you on this, and that nobody will have a plan which is not flawed in some degree or fashion.
You can watch the video without the executions up to the point of 9:00. There is some typical war-documentary footage of people being shot with rifles and no shortage of cadavers in terrible condition. So if that is too much for you this index will not help. I’ve seen worse Nazi documentary footage and similar Vietnam footage. That’s the best descriptive warning I can offer of the first nine minutes.
At 9:00 if you don’t want your mind permanently scarred with images of a line of Syrian soldiers having their heads cut off with knives, you should skip to 11:30 — BUT I WARN YOU — do this by skipping NEARLY to the end of the video and slowly backing up as the intervening 2.5 minutes is filled with images you are intending to skip over. But even be careful doing this because between 13:50 and the end of the video are images with Kassig’s head on the ground at the feet of the speaker. If you want to be absolutely sure you do not see any of the most graphic images, you should probably stop at the 9:00 mark. However there is very enlightening insight into the mindset and intentions of this rising tide after 11:30 as well. Please proceed at your own risk — there are very graphic images between 9:00 and 11:30 and again from 13:50 – 15:40 (head on the ground).
Our media is making the biggest issue of the executions. Human history is rife with such atrocities and has proven such outrage fades. The important story here is this: we must understand the nature of the propaganda and the enumerated goals of ISIS, and that this is not something to be taken lightly. If we believe can ignore this, the casualties of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars will be dwarfed by a future in which we waited until our hand was forced — to the peril of our as yet unsigned and unborn soldiers.
I’m sincerely interested in everyone’s thoughts. I hope they will be primarily focused upon “what to do now” rather than yet another documentary of the completely messed up way in which we arrived here.