The Rude Pundit is generally not a hindsighter. The whole act of questioning what we would've, could've, and should've done is a waste of time. But, as the right-wing media and political class rushed to blame President Obama for the ISIS-claimed attacks in Paris on Friday, the Rude Pundit thought that, if we're going to blame anyone, it's gotta be the administration and policies of George W. Bush.
It's not just that the toppling of Saddam Hussein created the anarchy out of which al-Qaeda in Iraq arose (and then evolved into ISIS), but you have to add to that the hindsight question of where would we be in the world right now if all the money and lives wasted on our frivolous, indulgent war in Iraq had been used to fight terrorism and the situations that inspire it. What if we had set up schools? What if we had hunted terrorists? What if, what if, what if. It is a goddamned waste of time. But to anyone who blames Obama, you gotta fuckin' justify not blaming Bush.
Look, it goes without saying that ultimately, the "blame" for the attacks is squarely on the 8 fucking cunts who shot people and blew themselves up, as well as any other fucking cunts who assisted them in France or Belgium or wherever cuntish religious nuts gather to talk about how much they wanna kill people who aren't cuntish religious nuts like them. But such cunts do not develop in a vacuum. And you can't say that Islam as a religion is what made them such cunts because there are a fuck of a lot of Muslims who are entirely not cunts and just trying to live their lives in ways they hope will make themselves, their families and, perhaps, the world better off, and you're kind of a dick if you condemn all Muslims for the acts of so very, very few.
The goals of the attacks committed by these fucking cunts are simple: scare the shit out of people so that their countries want to go apeshit and blow the shit out of the cunts, thus proving the cunts' cuntish point in the first place, which is something like, "Hey, those assholes in the West wanna kill us. We'll show you by killing some of them and then you'll see." That leads to the fucking cunts' main goal, which is getting more people to become the same fucking cunts that these fucking cunts are. It's a simple equation. Join our death cult, murder a few infidels or Shia or white people, maybe even get to cut off some heads and shit, get blown up either by yourself or by Western nations bombing you. Hose off the sidewalk and start again. How the fuck do you defeat that? How the fuck do you defeat crazy death cults?
(Side note: Once you go down the path of whose apocalyptic death cult is dangerous, you gotta figure in the end times Christians who see uncritical, unimpeded, endless support of Israel as a means to bring about the Rapture. Those motherfuckers are actually in the mainstream of American politics, including at least two people currently running for president: Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee. So their support of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories throws fuel on a fire that could possibly have been extinguished years ago, all because they want the world to end.)
So you've got options. Sure, sure, you can keep bombing them. You can "kill the bastards," as a hyperactive CNN reporter suggested to President Obama today. But you better be willing to out-savage the savages. The only way that works as a strategy is to go full-bore massacre-machine, making "shock and awe" and the siege of Fallujah back in the Iraq war look like children on a playground. If you've got the bloodlust and the stomach for war crimes and you don't mind the endless murder of civilians and the fact that the nation will never be safe and its citizens will be pariahs around the world, then, sure, hulk out, motherfuckers, and turn a nation or two into radioactive dirt fields. But if you're not gonna do that, then you gotta have another strategy.
See, hindsight might be a waste of time. What's not a waste is learning from the fuck-ups and trying something different. But when it comes to terrorism, Republicans are suggesting the same stupid shit as ever. Send in soldiers. Ban refugees. Fucking closing mosques.
The Rude Pundit doesn't have a solution because he's not dumb enough to pretend he understands this to the point where anything he says is valid. But he knows enough to say that many of the fighters in ISIS are people looking for shit to do in a time and in a region where they had their lives upended by endless wars for at least the last 15 years, thanks primarily to our fuckery in the region. It's a chance to restore a little goddamned meaning and dignity to themselves. They've just chosen the cuntiest possible way to do that.
That means that we need to fight when necessary - although no matter what you do, a half-dozen fucknuts are always going to be able to occasionally slip through your wall or your shield and wreak havoc. But it means a little goddamned mercy goes a long ass way. It means opening ourselves to the refugee tide and offering an experience of the West that is counter to the image that they've been fed in much the same way the West has been fed an image of the Muslim world that's a lie, but it's a lie that gets stronger with every attack and it allows the liars to lie to more people.
Many of the current wave of refugees want to get the hell away from the storm that's engulfed Syria, which includes the crazed violence of the Assad regime and of ISIS. The Republican policy seems to be let's send back the people fleeing bombs so we can bomb them. That's unsustainable. Instead, as Jesse Berney says in Rolling Stone, "[I]f we want a world where terrorists can no longer recruit young people to give their lives to senseless murder, we have to show that the United States is not their enemy. Welcoming those fleeing terror is a critical first step. And rejecting refugees won't keep terrorists determined to attack us from finding a way in."
What happened in Paris is a nightmare. If we once again react with just military might and limitations on the rights of people and ludicrous lashing out at anyone Muslim, then we will be here, perhaps after Assad falls and we once again get rid of a terrible person and unleash chaos, and we'll all be saying the same goddamn things in more goddamned blog posts of recognizing that we fail and fail again and refuse to do something other than fail.