The Political Expediency of Blaming Terrorism on Obama

I am so tired of listening to voices that blame
Obama for ISIS (and, in fact, blame him for escalating terrorism overall). The
rather twisted logic is that if Obama had left American troops in Iraq there
would be no ISIS. There is no proof that this conclusion is correct, and there
can be no proof. This is an opinion and a dangerous one, obviously useful to
some as political fodder and to others as a reason to send troops back to Iraq.

This latter group reasons that we need to take care
of ISIS while it is still in the process of forming its cruel Caliphate rather
than postponing our inevitable battle with ISIS until they have consolidated
their power and are more difficult (perhaps impossible) to dislodge and defeat.
It is clear that even experts on war are not totally
clear about this preemptive strategy. We had only very recently decided that we
are better off letting the Muslim world work from within to form coalitions
between various Islamic sects or factions. A common threat such as ISIS
represents would seem ideal as an impetus for cooperation.
Americans did not take well to the smaller American
fighting force that had to be redeployed for tour after tour. We liked Obama’s
promise to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. However it did not
take long at all for our relief to be exchanged for horror at the violence
which began to manifest in several Muslim nations. Our senses were outraged by
Assad’s activities in Syria, and from there the barbarity of it all only
escalated as we watched the primitive and very public atrocities dished out by
ISIS, an organization obviously focused on getting the world’s attention and
fomenting war.
How do we turn our backs on acts that we find
heinous; brutal acts which we find so odious to all in modern times that we
thought they had become nearly obsolete? Well, we aren’t doing very well ignoring
these barbarities performed deliberately to incite us. These terrorists
understand how to push the world’s buttons. It seems clear that we may not be
able to accept an escalation in atrocity forever, but we should use this time
to carefully consider our options.
Instead we all waffle daily with our emotions
swinging wildly along the whole scale from warmonger to peacenik and it doesn’t
matter who is doing the reacting. Military experts, media people, Congressmen
and women, and ordinary people find our advice to our President changing daily
as events unfold to incense us and then calmer moments give us more
Obama did not begin the Arab Spring – the Muslim
world probably was ready to awaken in these days regardless of anything America
did or didn’t do. If anything is to blame, blame cell phones and the internet.
Placing blame is not at all helpful and offers no assistance to instruct us about
how to go forward, unless you are one of the people who think time could be put
back in the bottle if we would only send troops back into Iraq.
Should we go in, should we stay out; should we join
the fray, meet these fighters who have declared themselves our enemies on their
own ground, or should we wait until they actually meet us on our ground? Are we
in middle of fighting about whether the future of the planet will be a Muslim
future, a Christian future, or a future that has made peace with religious
diversity; or is such a moment not a moment we will ever have to worry about?
If only we could trace the trajectory of each possible action into the future
to see how it would turn out?
I do know that this moment of upheaval and this
tipping point is too huge to blame on one man, even a man as powerful as the
American President. If voters buy into this latest GOP ploy delivered in their
usual repetitive style, then people must also buy that putting American troops
back into the Middle East is the way to go. Once we get in there this time it
may be almost impossible to get out until all the differences are untangled and
sectarian divisions are overcome or defused and that could take a really long
time. Muslim people may be able to find a way out of animosities that they have
nursed for centuries, but killing each other seems like a rather
counterproductive way to accomplish this.

We need really cool heads to make this decision and
all we have are madmen on one side and people whose emotions get exercised by
each act of inhumanity, and who then subside into a pleasant political amnesia
when the level of atrocity subsides. And sadly, we also have those who whip up
our empathy for others and try to turn it into political divisions here in
America because they are just really focused in a laser-sharp fashion on winning
our next election.
By Nancy Brisson