Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Advent of World War III

ISIS' latest atrocity, the publicized murder of uninvolved Frenchman Herve Gourdel, is only the latest of a string of brutalities that underscores how violent and ruthless the extremist group is.  And I believe it is just another shot in the opening salvo of World War III.

World War I was the result of a runup of tensions all over Europe.  You can't easily point to any one thing that led to it but the climate was ripe for a thunderstorm.  When Yugoslavian archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by the Black Hand (almost by accident as an earlier planned attempt had gone wrong and Ferdinand was returning from visiting bystanders wounded by that attempt when a lone member of the Black Hand took advantage of Ferdinand's sudden appearance in a wrong turn and shot him), it was only the first pebble of the avalanche.  By itself Ferdinand's assassination didn't amount to much, but it was the lynchpin that set other, larger events in motion.

World War II was more complex.  Rather than having a few incidents that we can point to as the actual starting gun, WWII was more of a rising tide, with things happening everywhere at once, but inexorably.  I guess if you want to single out one thing, it would be Poland deciding it was its own independent state and not kowtowing to demands from Germany.  After that, things get exciting.

ISIS took custody of Herve Gourdel, a mountaineering tourist in Algeria, after he was kidnapped there by the Jund al-Khilafa.  Evidently ISIS believes in farming out work to suppliers and subcontractors.

Once they had him, ISIS forced Gourdel to speak for them, then they killed him.

Now, it's bad enough these bastards kill each other.  As bad as that is, I say let them.  That means less of them for us civilized people to have to contend with.

It's way worse when they seize nonpartisan journalists in-country and murder them.  If their cause is right and good, having it reported by journalists is good.  It gets theirr face out in front of the global audience and wins them support.  Killing such neutral parties is counter-productive, it makes them  look out of control, unreasonable.

Snatching a completely uninvolved tourist who is hundreds of miles removed from any fighting is just over the top.  It's bad enough when bad guys do that kind of thing to demand ransom, ransom that helps fund further activities.  But to use the poor victim as a mouthpiece and then murder him too?  That's just too much. 

Not that they are reserving their hatred and violence for foreigners.  ISIS's monstrosity is almost without limit.  Their victims are almost universally Muslim - they claim to be Muslim themselves, but how can anyone claiming any kind of faith carry out the acts they do?  It beggars belief.  And as bad as their behavior is, as long as it was contained to the Middle East, with Islamists killing each other, we were willing to look the other way, like neighbors to a house where the adults fight and yell at each other.  Not our house, not our business.  We don't get upset - well, too upset - as long as the fight stays inside the house.  When those fighters come spilling out of the house and into the street, banging on our doors however, they have dragged us into what had been exclusively Someone Else's Problem.

If ISIS were ever hoping to consolidate animosity against themselves, they're on the right track.  Few things could galvanize public opinion harder against them than deliberately and ruthlessly targeting the innocent, the uninvolved, the unsuspecting.  Gourdel was on vacation, spending his money in a foreign country, offending no one.  NOTE: these things are good for  economies.  You WANT tourists.  If you want your economy to suffer, scare away the tourists.  There'll be a big, noticeable dip immediately.

Can you imagine American tourists heading to the Middle East right now?  I sure can't.  I once imagined I might like to see Saudi Arabia or ancient Babylon at one time, not any more.  And any French tourists who had plans for Algeria has likely suddenly changed his destination to someplace a lot less chancy, like Portugal or Scotland.

Now I think the best thing to do with the entire Middle East region is to bomb it flat until the sand melts.  There are entirely too many factions, too much fundamentalism, too little rationality.  Kill the entire mess until it is completely, utterly dead, dead forever.  But that's me.  I believe very strongly in the fix-it-fast solution, which can sometimes lead to over reactions.  That's why I'm not in politics.

For all you innocent citizens living in the Middle East, I am very sorry for you.  I am.  Somehow this cancer has sprung up within the body of your population, and it absolutely must be killed before it poisons others.

So cut it out for yourselves, before the rest of the world has to cut it out.  It will be bigger and bloodier if we have to do it.  And if we have to do it, it will be known in the future as World War III, the first religious World War.

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