Resisting the Urge to Burn It All Down

Back during the Iranian hostage crisis (you know, the thing in Argo that no one got rescued from) in 1979, the Rude Pundit's father had a simple solution. "If I were president," he told the Rude Pundit and his Rude Sister, who always listened intently to their father, like cavechildren gathered around the mad elder telling tales in the shadows, "I'd nuke Iran." Now, he wasn't in the "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" camp. He thought they were idiots. No, Rude Dad had a plan. "I'd phone the families of the hostages and tell them that their loved ones won't suffer, that we will nuke the embassy first. And then I'd turn the entire country into a sheet of black glass." If he were still alive, Rude Dad would probably be hosting a Fox "news" show now.

Even then, even very young, the Rude Pundit thought, "That's some fucked-up thinking right there."

In the wake of terrible things happening to us, to our own, our impulse is to fuck shit up. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, you could have made a pretty good argument to level the mountains of Tora-Bora and declare it a radioactive graveyard. Now, after the second goddamned public murder of an American journalist by the worthless goatfuckers of the Islamic State, the drumbeat for war, war, war in Iraq and Syria will get deafening. The battle cries of the oh-so-brave politicians and commentators have been yelped over the editorial pages and on the fetid air of right-wing radio and TV.

Which is just what ISIS wants. Down in hell, Osama bin Laden must be slapping his head, thinking, "Holy shit, did these fuckers learn nothing from me wrecking their economy and breaking their foreign policy into a thousand pieces?" The urge to burn it all down is strong. But unless you kill them all - and that means every family member, every ally, every sympathizer far and wide - all you're doing is making them stronger. Martyrs want their martyrdom.

War is their game. You wanna play their game again? For chrissake, the cockmonger who beheaded Steven Sotloff taunted, "I'm back, Obama." It's almost patriotic to want to see that guy forced to eat his own intestines until he chokes or bleeds to death.

Obama is taking it slow, not because he doesn't care or doesn't know or is incompetent or whatever else people on the left and right have been hurling at the White House. It's because that's what you do when you give a fuck about the consequences of your actions. We have hurtled ourselves into the void before. And we ended up here.

Can we figure out a strategy that might actually work, like the air support that helped Iraqi forces break the siege of one town?

Take a breath. Figure out the complexity of the situation (which involves more than crazed Islamic radicals taking over territory and nearly genociding people). 

A little patience, maybe. And perhaps a whole bunch of American snipers.

(Note: This is not the promised piece to piss you off. The Rude Pundit ran out of time today to write that. Tomorrow, good people, tomorrow.)