”If it doesn’t agree with what Uncle Chomsky thinks, then it must be pro-war, Zionist, neoconservative, colonial, capitalist, imperialist propaganda.”
I’m not a fan of Chomsky, but if you put forth positions that are “pro-war, Zionist, neoconservative, colonial, capitalist, imperialistic propaganda,” then it’s completely fair to call you pro-war, or Zionist, or neoconservative, or colonialist, or capitalist, or imperialist. These aren’t generic words for _bad._ They have meanings, and when you put forth ideas, whatever your imagined motivation for putting the ideas forth, that _are_ these things, then it’s fair to label you. Sorry, if you think muslims have some inherent propensity towards violence that christians don’t have, you’re a bigot, congratulations.
The United State _did_ invent ISIS, and our support of Saudi Arabia _does_ sponsor terrorism. Public debate doesn’t actually involve specific facts much. Those former liberals, now drifting towards Trump-votership, should be aware of this. Most people don’t know the details of any public issue. What they know is the public perception of the issues. Case in point, in 2003, according to a USA Today poll, 70% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. There were never any facts supporting this. It was just an idea that the right-wing floated out to support an unprovoked invasion of Iraq.
Most Americans have either a very biased or vague idea of what happened in Benghazi. The facts simply don’t matter. They see it as either black or white, either Hillary Clinton did some unspecified wrong thing, or she didn’t. The current Benghazi film, regardless of its content, moves the perception in the wrong direction. The same thing with calling out “climate change” as the left’s “everything bad to ever happen.” You might as well be working for Exxon. You’re moving the discussion in the wrong direction, and giving credence to far right loonies who are more than happy to latch on to this “regressive left” tag.
As far as “any insight on how to solve the issue of international terrorism, “ get a clue. A little over 32 thousand people globally were killed by international terrorism in 2014. 1.3 _million_ were killed in automobile accidents. When you frame this issue as the worst thing ever, something everyone should be constantly scared of, you do the right’s work. Everyone talking about muslim terrorism today seems oblivious to the fact that a few decades ago christians were blowing each other up in Northern Ireland. They stopped. Largely they stopped because the area became less religious.
I am not familiar with anything Noam Chomsky has put forth as a specific policy in the Middle East, but I have an idea of the kind of things associated with him, and they are positive. If we poisoned the soil that religious extremism grows in with foreign aid targeted towards creating a stable Middle East, terrorism would decrease. This may not be the time to do that. We have made such a tremendous mess, and _yes_ we made it, that we may need to walk away and wait for the dust to settle before we can make any positive investment in the region, but after that, a policy focused on supporting governments that try to provide a stable environment for their citizens, one that tolerates diversity and peaceful dissent, is the way to proceed.
There’s a simple solution to the idea that religious beliefs divide us. Simply end religion. I’m amazed by the people that see this as some kind of impossible task. That somehow the idea of god is inherently different from all the other false ideas that humanity has widely accepted over the millennium. It takes an incredibly small amount of mental processing to come to the conclusion that magic people don’t live in the sky. Children can easily grasp this. The idea just has to be put out there in front of people, and religious divisiveness ends.
”Or rather, between civilization and barbarism.”
Forgive me for being regressive, but you are a bigot. Tying barbaric behavior, through implication, to a single culture is mind numbingly stupid. As if the West has never, and doesn’t presently often, engage in barbaric behavior. This is cultural bias at its worst. In the early 2000s the US was involved in actively torturing people. That’s not to say that Middle Eastern, muslim, countries like Saudi Arabia weren’t doing the same thing, but it eliminates ones ability to see the view the US as a moral paragon of “civilization.”
”there is in fact a very real and very tangible difference between the values of a secular and liberal civilization, and an Islamic civilization.”
This frames the discussion in completely the wrong way. There is a tangible difference between _religious_ values and secular, liberal civilization, be those ideas islamic, or christian, or hindu, or buddhist. Religious fundamentalism works against human thriving. Framing this discussion as West vs. islam is right-wing nonsense. The dichotomy is between secular, humanist, naturalistic culture vs. theistic, religious, faith based culture. Atheists should not take sides with christians against islam. Atheists, secularists, should be opposed to religious ideas. They should favour equitable treatment for all religions. All are false and fundamentally flawed, so none should be favored in the commons of ideas. I need to say here also, that being opposed to religious ideas should never be manifested legislatively. In a culture where jews, and muslims, and christians, and whoever are given equal opportunity to peacefully practice their faith, where different faiths are presented relatively, religion dies. Once you realize that L. Ron Hubbard and Jesus were running the same scam, it’s hard to hold on to a reverence for Jesus.
” the regular execution of homosexuals, the mass rape of young Yazidi women, or the borderline cleansing of Shia Muslims”
No one credible on the left is championing these things. In contrast, there are conservatives masquerading as liberals who have championed torture. In defense of Harris and Dershowitz, they championed torture under very specific, and largely hypothetical circumstances, but that doesn’t matter in the generalized public perception. They put themselves on the same side as Dick Cheney, pulling towards barbarism, and that’s what matters.
”the common belief on the left that America is actually a sponsor of terrorism are ideas that lack both substance”
We support a regime in Saudi Arabia that sponsors terrorism, and a regime that very likely had something to do with financing the 9/11 attacks. This last part is not conspiracism. There are 28 pages of a preliminary congressional report from just prior to the 2nd Iraq invasion that are widely believed to link Saudi Arabia directly to the 9/11 attack, an attack which was called for by conservative think tank People for a New American Century. A group that advocated for exactly the same kind of right-wing foreign policy that is being advocated for in this article.
”With that in mind, how many Chilean or Laotian terrorists do we see with “America must burn” or “Death to Kissinger” banners? There are none”
But this is coincidental. These banners would have some justification if Chileans or Laotians started waving them tomorrow. Sometimes you do bad things and get away clean. It’s lamentable, maybe not for us Americans in this case, but it’s true. Sometimes you poke the bear and he lets it go. Of course, it’s never a bear that we poke. US foreign policy has, over the last several decades, been poking those that it considered incapable of poking back.
As far as there only being muslims who push back against their religious culture being attacked, what about Robert Dear and his Republican inspired christian terrorism? We ignore that all successful religions inspire terrorism at our peril. Religion seems to be an institution that evolved to foment conflict between tribes. It is inherently divisive, and choosing sides in a theological conflict is something secularists shouldn’t do.
As far as the tensions between the Saudis and the Iranians, the sunni/shia impending conflict, this liberal it too busy buying popcorn. I have no dog in that fight, being someone who has no religious beliefs. I just wish that the Israelis and our US christian fundamentalists could get in on the fun. A four way theistic orgy of violence, far from me, is exactly what the world may need. Have you ever noticed how docile the rough boys get after they need a few stitches? The only important thing is that the US, as a country, needs stay completely out any conflict like that. :Let our christian-soldier militiamen pack up and go take Jesus’ part if they want, less troglodytes in the breeding pool here, but US involvement in the Middle East has led to nothing but harm.