One of my secret character flaws is occasionally getting a deep and continuous chuckle out of someone’s political discomfort. Oh, not real people. I mean the hate-mongers and loonies on the far right. Or left.
Such is the case these days noting the very untypical near-silence and even greater-than-usual oral confusion of Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, Hannity and their fellow travelers. They’re absolutely flummoxed and having a most difficult time trying to attack the President. The source of their confusion seems to be – ISIS. Anything to do with ISIS.
They want to heap scorn, criticism and verbal garbage on those in the White House. As is their usual bent. They want to loudly claim the administration is charging off in the wrong direction. But none of them – not one – has landed a blow. They’re as totally tongue-tied as the rest of us when it comes to trying to figure out what to do with this latest, most murderous turn in our world.
Oh, they blather and posture and exhibit the same kind of flatulence we’ve come to expect. But they’re even further off-target with their specious rambling than usual.
Same on the far left. None of the usual suspects over there has managed much more than a whimper about “homicidal psychopaths.” The videos of beheadings and executions have taken this latest outrage against the civilized world to such extremes that even the most accommodating ultra-liberal can’t muster much more than a “tsk tsk.”
This absence of informed criticism and our so far restrained response to ISIS seems to me three-fold. One – the extreme cruelty and seeming lack of any sort of conscience in these murderers is so stunning and such an affront to an otherwise civilized world that it knocks the mental wind out of us. They commit the sorts of acts we’ve learned of in ancient history classes. It’s the stuff of video games and violent movies. Not real life. We just can’t get our heads around it.
A second reason, I believe, for our failure at the moment to have a national response – other than extreme revulsion – is how to respond. What can you do? What actions can you take? When such a merciless adversary is inviting you onto the battlefield in hopes of killing more of our youth in frenzied battle, do you take the bloody challenge and show up? Or, do you gather your best advisors and try to create a civilized – and more traditional – reaction?
The fact is ISIS presents such an unorthodox and merciless enemy that even the military is somewhat stunned. They aren’t teaching “ISIS-101″ at West Point or Annapolis. Our cadets and midshipmen aren’t learning how to deal with beheadings, mass executions and slaughter of any and all people ISIS hates. Which seems to be all the rest of us.
This is an enemy you can’t bomb into submission. Napalm will take out a few. But – like cockroaches in a cheap hotel – more will crawl out of the nearest hole and the murder will continue. You can’t use tanks or traditional battlefield tactics and weaponry because there is no battlefield. Unless you count some city street, the next block down or a supermarket in an unnamed world city.
Third, whatever major national action there is behind-the-scenes is being handicapped by the public reluctance of Arab states to take up the fight. And ISIS is their fight. No one should doubt the American military and diplomatic activity that is – so far- hidden from public view. The major U.S. agencies directly responsible for coming up with a planned response are working 24/7. Count on it! But without large and total commitments from Arab nations that are or will be facing ISIS eventually, any response from this country will not eliminate the problem. It’ll just ease our national conscience that we killed a few of ‘em. Nothing more.
It’s interesting our impotent Congress is largely staying on the sidelines for this one. The same Congress that’s suing the President for “exceeding his authority” is now perfectly at ease to let him make all the decisions this time. All, that is, but McCain and Graham. Ol’ John and his sock puppet have been blasting away like a couple of drunk squirrel hunters.
Graham, especially, has taken the ignorant rhetoric further into the twilight zone this time with his “they’re-coming-to-this-country-to-kill-us” claim – stopping just short of demanding we arm boy scouts. ISIS is not a laughing matter. Graham is.
No, ISIS is most serious. You can bet no one responsible for dealing with the problem is laughing. There WILL be a response. This is as serious a situation as this nation has faced. We will respond.
Still, I have to chuckle a bit in all this as Limbaugh et al – usually claiming to have all the answers – have none this time. Their traditional foul attacks on various targets of opportunity that can’t fight back don’t work on this one. Their continual demeaning blather we’ve become accustomed to is just so much more sewage under the bridge.
You want to feel safer? Turn ‘em off!