Op-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Only Fools Want to Engage ISIS in War

In the United States, the expression goes: “A sucker is born every minute.” Commonly attributed to 19th century showman P.T. Barnum, it was actually said in criticism of Barnum by David Hannum. It means: “Many people are gullible, and we can expect this to continue.”

Politically today, Republican voters seem to be showing themselves to be “suckers” every minute, behaving like mythological lemmings, following xenophobe and race-baiter Donald Trump (and other right-wing presidential candidates) toward certain doom in a rhetorical war with the so-called Islamic State.

First, the myth that said sucker-Americans are like lemmings may in fact be an insult to the lemmings, because the little rodents may not be that dumb, and that myth of mass suicide may have been created in a Disney documentary from the 1950s. But I digress.

Despite the fact that more Americans have been killed this year by White, Christian, so-called “lone wolf” terrorists in churches, movie theaters and schools than by all the radical “jihadists” put together, GOP presidential candidates Trump and Ben Carson have gone way, way, way over the top with Islamophobic hate speech. Ironically, that is just the reaction the jihadist propaganda machine wants in this country.

They want the United States — about 6 percent of the world’s population — to forsake its geographical military advantage created by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and to engage with them in a war thousands of miles from this country’s shores. The problem is where this country would fight them. Syria comes to mind first, and Iraq. But what about the militants in Africa, in Mali, Egypt, Libya, Cameroon, Somalia? Would we send troops to all those places when trouble erupted there?

Not in my name, Trump, Carson, and all your delusional fellow travelers.

There once was a time when Americans were convinced that this country would win the rest of the world over to its brand of “freedom” and “Democracy” and Western civilization by the force of superior ideas, beliefs, and ways of life. “The Sears & Roebuck catalogue is the best propaganda tool to fight Communism,” Cold War pundits used to argue. Forget that notion.

Today America is seen not as the champion of the world’s huddled masses yearning to breathe free but rather as the bully that robs from the poor and gives to the rich. That’s problem Numero Uno.

Still, plain Ole Americans by the millions (those sucker lemmings) seem to be eager to waste this country’s blood and treasure, to “defend our way of life.”

What way of life? Tail-gate parties? Our freedom to go to either Wendy’s or McDonald’s, or even Hooters, if we like? A war of Armageddon to go to Hooters?

We’ve got the “Three Ms”: the Marines, the mercenaries and the missionaries, and we’re not afraid to use them, perhaps to our ruin.

On to the Islamic State, which obeys none of the rules of civilized modern states and which is hardly anything like an Islamic entity, I also say: “Not in my name.”

Islam’s Holt Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) taught his followers 1,400 years ago certain “rules of engagement” or commands of war, including: “Don’t kill those who have surrendered,” “Don’t destroy a temple or a church,” “Don’t kill a sick person,” “Don’t kill old people,” “Don’t kill a monk or a priest,” “Don’t kill those who run away,” “Don’t kill a woman,” “Don’t disfigure the dead,” “Don’t kill a child,” “Don’t enforce Islam,” “Be good to the prisoners and feed them,” and “Don’t cut a tree.”

Many of these rules are incorporated in what’s considered the Geneva Convention’s universal declaration of rights in war. All U.S. military personnel are taught similar rules in boot camp. The Islamic state, from its acolytes Boko Haram to al-Qaida and the al Nusra front, violates these basic tenets every single day. Not in my name, though.

So, just like Osama bin Laden’s failed appeal to Muslims to join him and rise up in jihad against the West after the 9-11 attacks, which was countered by President George W. (for worst in history) Bush, who called on Americans to loose the dogs of war, we are at such a moment in time once again.

We can all see what following Bush and his cronies — Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who never served a day in the military — earned for this country, and it ain’t good. It’s mayhem and the birth of the Islamic State in the chaos that Bush’s failed “shock and awe” war in Iraq created.

Americans, follow that path at your own peril. But to be sure, not in my name!

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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