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. (more…)