Saturday, September 20, 2014


Have three detainees swapped for Bowe Bergdahl now joined ISIS?
Two of my favorite quotes have been brought to mind repeatedly and, in writing this column, a new favorite has been discovered. All this talk of starting a NEW conflict brings to mind the Santayana quote:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
~ George Santayana

Admittedly, the war we are contemplating is one that was necessitated by the US invading a stable (if unfriendly) country and removing its power structure with no plan to replace it. But that seems to be something the right has forgotten. Some of my acquaintances on the right have, of late, taken to posting a clip of the former president stating that if we left Iraq before the war was over we would have to go back in. The caption of this particular trope makes it seem that former President Bush had prescience something akin to The Great Carnac. How prescient does one have to be to know that you’ll eventually have to clean-up a mess that you, yourself, are creating?

But the reason that the quote above comes to mind is because of HOW we are proposing to fight the new war; by arming rebels in Syria. I cannot POSSIBLY be the ONLY person who knows that this is a BAD IDEA! (Can anyone say “mujahideen?”)

The blind rush to arm the rebels continues, however, largely fanned by the fear-mongers in the media who want us to think that there is an ISIS (ISIL, IS, Call it what you will) beheading device hiding in every pillow. The boogieman of ISIS is just that. Unless you ask Rick Perry (who seems to think every illegal alien at the border is either an Ebola carrier or a member of the news-making terrorist organization of the week) or Fox News who think that everything is either a sign of the end-times, an attack on Christianity, or the direct fault of our president – there is very little proof that the group in the middle east has any plan (or capacity) to attack the US directly. Which reminds me of the second of my quotes:

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Fear not only makes one rush to judgment, it makes one rush to BAD judgment. Case in point: In the days following 09/11, when the public was already afraid, then president Bush insinuated that if we didn’t go and fight Al Qaida at home, we would soon see mushroom clouds in New York.

It was partly this aura of fear that allowed him to start two wars (only one of which was even remotely justified) that are still going on today.


I am not saying that ISIS isn’t a threat, what I am saying is that ISIS in specific and “Terrorism” in general is more dangerous as an IDEA than as a group. Groups can be hunted down and eradicated, but ideas? Ideas, well as was stated in the Graphic Novel and film “V for Vendetta:” Ideas are bullet-proof. You cannot kill an idea you can only displace it with one that is more attractive. Going and attacking them at home, rather than defeating the idea that we are evil and must be eliminated, reinforces it. How many times do we have to kick down the hornet’s nest before we realize we will get stung every time!?

I am saying there is no danger from ISIS? No! The recent news from Australia tells me that this would be as delusional than thinking we can “defeat terrorism” with bullets as the former president apparently believed we could. What I believe is that the idea requires thought. We need some different solution. What I know is that we are not going to defeat an idea by repeating the same mistake that has proven to only strengthen it. Going about it that way has proven Sisyphean.

So, if we should not act rashly in a fit of media-induced fear, what should we do? This leads me to the last and newest of my favorite quotes. I need to look-up more by Lorraine Hansberry! She makes a lot of sense when she admonishes one to:

"Never be afraid to sit a while and think."
~ Lorraine Hansberry

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will sit and think before you act… What could it hurt?

Don Bergquist – September 20, 2014 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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