War, 16 Years And Counting.

The responses to this most recent tragedy, has made me wonder, “What has 16 years of war done to our national psyche?” Then it dawned on me, we were a violent society before 2001. We glory in violence. Look at all our heroes, most of them are killers. I am not judging that, I am merely stating a fact.

Why do you think there are so many guns in this country? We are a bunch of belligerent people who are well armed and have itchy trigger fingers. We are raised on stories of strong men and women picking up a gun, and getting justice. We take that to heart. We believe, truly believe, that a good man with a gun can solve most problems. Except, if only good people owned guns, there would be damned few gun owners.

Is it any wonder when some “other” attacks any a Western target, we have out pouring of hate and violence. People calling to go after an entire religion, invading this country or that country, or wiping out large swaths of the planet with thermonuclear weapons.

What the hell?

Especially to the veterans who might read this, WHAT THE HELL!?

Have we not gorged on enough death and destruction these past 16 years? Many of you calling for this already live with the scars, physical and mental, from war. Why do you want to get more scars? Why would you subject another generation to this?

Why are you calling for the same things that have not worked for past 16 years?

Look, I am not saying we need to turn the other cheek. I am saying that our response needs to become more than just retaliation. We are already stuck in that loop. We need to change the way we think about these things.

We are currently fighting a war on “terror.” Terror, really, we are fighting terror. Where exactly is the state of terror? Pull up Google Earth, and find terror. Even better, go old school. Look at a map of the world, or open up a world atlas. Find the state of terror.

You see? We have to stop fighting a war on terror and start fighting a war against people that are committing these heinous acts. Since most of these people are non-state actors, going after them directly can be tricky. That is one of the reasons we cannot look at this as a war like any other we have ever fought.

This isn’t a conventional war. It has taken us far, far too long to understand that. I am sure that many still do not grasp the fact that we have to stop treating these types of attacks as foray from a conventional enemy. The purpose of the attacks is not to cause death, it is to cause a backlash and garner medial attention. We are letting those that would do us harm to set the terms. We have already let groups like Da’ish choose the battle fields. Thereby, putting us in a poor position.

The biggest challenge that we face isn’t the physical battle. When it comes to guns and bombs, we got that covered.

No, we are losing the information war. Da’ish, especially Da’ish, has mastered the art of recruiting over the internet. They can do this, because we let them control the narrative. They want all of this hate pouring out from the West, they want the 24-hour news coverage. It all helps them.

That is where we need to target. That is what we need to address. We need to stop giving them exactly what they want. They want us non-Muslims to hate all Muslims. To hate the entire religion. If you are met with hospitality everywhere you looked, except for one place, wouldn’t you gravitate to that one place? That one place where you are accepted, not despite who you are, but because of who you are.

It is the same way gangs get members, the same way cults get members, the same way religions get members, and it is the same way the white supremacists are getting new members. Acceptance is powerful.

Something that should scare all of you, is that white supremacists are using the same internet recruitment methods as Da’ish. Their numbers are growing, and becoming more violent. These people are here, not on the other-side of the world. Just pointing that out.

If we can take away much of the ammunition that is being used to recruit, their numbers will start to dwindle. If we start reaching out to those that have been the objects of our scorn, then maybe that kid down the street won’t look for acceptance from other people.

We don’t have to be that country. We can be better. We don’t have to hammer our swords into plowshares, but we have other tools too.

On a personal level, we don’t have to answer anger and hate with anger and hate. If you are feeling powerful emotions, even if they are negative, channel that energy into something positive. Donate blood, go down to your local food pantry and volunteer, create something, or whatever you want to do that will put some positive into this world.



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