The Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) burning of a captured Jordanian pilot alive produced justified revulsion globally, resulting in the terrorist organization being termed “barbarous” and similar epithets. Why did it behave this way? Because it wants to terrify its opponents into submission and underline that it is too crazy to be messed with.
Juan Cole has tried to express here what I have been struggling with as a protected American citizen who is on the outside looking in. It seems that from this vantage the only suffering that is felt in my gut and heart as truly abominable is that caused by the Daesh. In other words my mind has previously assessed the horrors of suffering that ‘war’ caused to the ‘other’ but the revelation rarely moved beyond my intellect. The information that this Jordanian pilot was burned alive went straight past my intellect to my gut and I literally wanted to throw up, the horror too great to internalize, it has taken me days to deal with overwhelming feelings of despair and horror. As I processed this new event, in spite of the raw emotional chaos I was feeling, my intellect invariably kicked in and I could not avoid realizing this horror was in exact return measure the very suffering and horror caused to millions of Iraqi people as their country became the biggest cage on earth in our so called ‘wars for truth justice and democracy’. Their reality is not like mine of hearing about atrocities like this done to strangers, of allied countries, but of witnessing in flesh these kinds of atrocities done to children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and neighbors. Day after day, year after year, war upon war. We here, shielded from real life exposure to this horror spreading like cancer from generation to generation and can only comprehend the horror when it is reflected back by those who grew up in direct contact with it and are responding accordingly. But so far, instead of compassion and getting it, there is confusion in our execution over this new enemy to which so far we seem to think redoubling our terror as justified more than ever. This is what the Daesh is really showing us, what they themselves have lived, internalized and now deal with through reverse and focused brutality and terror visited as ‘justice’ to their ‘enemy.’ If we double down on them, will the next generational mutation double back at us twice magnified in revenge?
The ignorance of thinking the people who witness loved ones blown to pieces, burned alive and generally decimated by our wars of ‘justice’, must experience special relief from the psychic and bodily horrors of the deaths and suffering caused, because they were caused through our ‘justice’, is such pathetic and wrong headed thinking. Heartless, soulless, and dangerous thinking. When the people of any group visits ‘justice’ by waging war and horror on another, expecting the other to see or feel ‘justice’ through an action that causes only death and suffering, shows they are lying only to themselves. Horror and suffering caused to another is never justice it is always terror. Ours and theirs. Terror. And the world of humanity can either stop all forms of terror or watch terror evolve into a greater and greater mutation of consequence that devours all. It seems we are well on our way toward that end. How to stop this vicious cycle is to see it for what keeps it going, calling it ‘justice’.
I am left now feeling the horror and pain, the shock and awe of warring on a people in the name of ‘justice or democracy’ thanks to a brutal act set upon the world stage for abominable revenge that has burned away all my defenses of believing there is ever justice in killing. I condemn them for their act of war and I condemn us for our act of war and I see it is all the same across the world of humanity. I will never return to the cozy place of feeling or thinking in any way there is ever justice in war.
From your post:
“But so far, instead of compassion and getting it, there is confusion in our execution over this new enemy to which so far we seem to think redoubling our terror as justified more than ever.”
“If we double down on them, will the next generational mutation double back at us twice magnified in revenge?”
“When the people of any group visits ‘justice’ by waging war and horror on another, expecting the other to see or feel ‘justice’ through an action that causes only death and suffering, shows they are lying only to themselves.”
“…thanks to a brutal act set upon the world stage for abominable revenge that has burned away all my defenses of believing there is ever justice in killing.”
That is your personal (albeit past tense) delusion. But you project this same short-sighted assumption onto All U.S. citizens as shown in the earlier quotes. These lump the citizenry—inclusive of the millions who oppose wars of aggression—into one uniform entity. This is a false frame.
Here this all-encompassing terminology is used again to set up a team style view of events that merely posits two co-equal sides to an equation that is infinitely more nuanced and complex.
ISIS wants an all out confrontation with its religious opponents and the West.
Brutal videos of executions are meant to encourage this response.
Expect this to continue and escalate.
Next up: American nurse torn limb from limb.
Could we possibly keep our Military Industrial Complex busy and out of mischief making equipment for a war on anthropogenic global warming INSTEAD of on terrorists? Then maybe we could leave other nations alone. I well understand the need to keep all our too big to fail firms in all industries busy and out of mischief doing something more constructive than what all too often they do now. World War II we needed to fight and we did choose the right side to fight on. Since then, I wish we would have had enough sense to stay out of other nation’s quarrels. We really ought to restrict our foreign policy to economic development aid hiring local workers to build infrastructure. Maybe eventually other nation’s standard of living will rise enough for American workers to be able to compete.