It's Time to Wake People Up From Their Death Cults

Today, President Obama sent to Congress the White House’s plan for authorizing the fight against ISIS. The President’s proposal limits to three years the now-six-month-long campaign in Iraq and Syria, but it perpetuates the idea that war is the answer in the fight against terrorism. And that’s a big mistake.

We need a new strategy to fight terrorism, because the one we’re using right now just isn’t working. In fact, it’s only making things worse.

On The Guardian’s website right now, there’s an absolutely heartbreaking story about a 13-year-old Yemeni boy named Mohammed Saleh Tauiman. Mohammed was killed by an American drone strike on January 26, but before he was killed, he worked with Guardian journalists to produce a video about how his family was coping with the death of their father, who was also killed by a drone strike.

That video exposes in a really graphic way the failure of the War on Terror. Not only are Mohammed’s siblings angry at America for killing their father, but in the wake of his death they now also get financial support from Al-Qaeda.

Now, there’s no proof that Mohammed or his family supported Al-Qaeda, but what happened to them is a great example of what fuels terrorism and terrorist groups.

You see, President Obama was right when he said that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are “death cults." They prey on death and suffering, and like all death cults from the Nazis to the Khmer Rouge, they’re really just nihilists who are interested in one thing: perpetuating their own power through violence.

This has nothing to with Islam, by the way. ISIS and Al-Qaeda are about as Islamic as Hitler was Christian and Tojo, Japan’s military leader during World War II, was Shinto or Buddhist. But back to the bigger point about death cults. The thing about death cults is that there’s only one real way to defeat them. And that’s by helping the people who believe in them stop believing in them.

This is what we did after World War II in Germany and Japan. The people of Germany and the people of Japan were totally behind Hitler and Tojo because they bought into the death cult that both dictators presided over. Hitler said he was bringing about a 1,000 year Reich and the Germans believed him. In Japan, meanwhile, they believed the Emperor was literally a descendant of the sun god.

But after the war was over, we won the hearts and minds of the people and we convinced them that their death cult was wrong.

How did we do this? We showed them that our way of life was better than their death cult. We did this by injecting massive amounts economic aid into their societies and, at the same time, exposing the crimes of the old regime. Can we do the same against the ISIS and Al-Qaeda death cults? Absolutely - but there’s a catch.

Unlike the Nazi or Japanese death cults, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are not states, they’re ideologies (although ISIS has constructed a pseudo-state of sorts in Iraq and Syria).

This means that war, although crucial for the defeat of the Nazis and the Japanese imperialists, will, in the long run, only fan the flames of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda death cults. After all, it’s pretty hard to convince people that their death cult is wrong when every day American drones are killing their fathers, brothers, and sisters.

This should be obvious after 13 years of trying to bomb Al-Qaeda into oblivion only to find out that one dead terrorist means 10 new ones. When it comes down to it, the War on Terror is terror is not a military war, it’s an information war, and ISIS is getting really good at their end of the PR and propaganda.

So the only way we can permanently defeat the Al-Qaeda and ISIS death cults is by showing the people who believe in those death cults that they’re wrong and by avoiding the kind of behavior that pushes people towards those death cults in the first place. We need to dial back the military and ramp up the economic aid.

In other words, we need a new Marshall Plan for the Middle East - one that doesn't involve more massive profits for US military contractors, but helps those countries rebuild their own infrastructure from the bottom up.


macscottcu's picture
macscottcu 8 years 17 weeks ago

I understand where you are coming from. But there is an old adage, "It's hard to drain the swamp when your up to your neck in aligators."'s picture 8 years 17 weeks ago

Totally agree, Thom. As I like to say when someone says we need to destroy ISIS militarily, "You're never going to 'defeat ISIS' with your bombs, your drones, your coalition, your spies.... because the only way to defeat an idea, is with a better idea."

patrick H.T. paine's picture
patrick H.T. paine 8 years 17 weeks ago

That was THEN, this is NOW!!!!!!

You seem to forget THEN, what you are "remembering" was preceded by a war which completely destroyed the militaries of both countries, as well as their entire industrial infrastructure which we then occupied by military force, prosecuted their war criminals, and maintained a military presence and influence to the present day. ( directly, as well as through NATO + SEATO )

If, ISIL, Al Quaeda, Taliban have no connection to Islam, how is it possible that they exist in countries that are dominated by Islam?

This question poses the same type of conundrum as, if there are actually "good cops", and "prosecutors", how is it possible that there are any bad cops?

You will, of course, keep repeating this nonsense because you "love your job" and you will have it "forever" because you suck at it......although I hear RT television is under attack so maybe not. ( your kindergarten progressivism 101 is worse than nothing at all and until you abandon your reverence for the historical myths that compromise your understanding of the founding of this nation you will impress as many people as Oakly Tyler among the pines, which is to say very few, if any.)

Civilization is in the process of failing AGAIN, for the LAST TIME....will you go out wimpering as it does????

delster's picture
delster 8 years 17 weeks ago

How is it possible that the same level of abhorent behavior exist among so called Christians in Christian societies. The etrocities in war are perpetually equal. All is fair in War ! Ane we do it as well. Ever seen the after effects of napalm ? We are in a perpetual war that has been brewing as a result of our sticking our big fat nose where it does not belong since after WW II. Make orphans and widows and you establish groups like ISIS. The Knot heads who invaded Iraq will go down in history as making the biggest strategic military blunder since George Armstrong Custer, and how many years did it take for the truth to be revealed about that effing idiot ? While we are busy exhausting our military resources and tireing the public with war other potential enemies like Russia and China are quietly observing our mistakes. Brilliant !

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 17 weeks ago

The US created this problem by recklessly removing the only stabilizing factor that existed in Iraq--Saddam Hussein. That cultivated the quagmire that exists today. We have two choices. We can back the hell out and let the natives of the region work out their own problems. Or, we could build and maintain a permanent military presence in the region. If we do the latter, not only will we be under constant attack and perceived as invaders--which clearly we would be--the effort would cost this country a King's ransom. In the end, we would not be successful. We could never leave without the inevitable vacuum of chaos ensuing. Therefore, the only logical solution is to stay out and let the native people settle their own business their own way.

The region needs it's own indigenous centralizing force. They're on their way to create such a force. The REAL problem is that in the new paradigm there is not going to be any room for US multinational corporations to rob and pillage the national resources of the country with impunity. THAT is the REAL THREAT Obama and his owners are concerned about. They don't give a crap about the people. They never have and they never will. Remember, this isn't the only country on the planet with mass slaughter and genocide. However, that is what you'd think if you just watch FOX News.

oneworldatpeace's picture
oneworldatpeace 8 years 17 weeks ago

This is why WAR IS OBSOLETE! War on the cheap won't work! After WW-2 we had the money to pay for TOTAL WAR and the REBUILDING because we had a top tax bracket of 90%! So now the really rich aren't going to give up their tax cuts to do it right So maybe we should be smart and not waste any more LIVES that only piss people off and don't do anything beneficial. OH! and it might be the moral thing to do.

NAH! It's just too expensive!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 17 weeks ago

The Teapublicans have no problem with wasting trillions on endless/pointless war.....which is exactly what the 'terrorists" want! Then simultaneously these same Teapublican Jackasses are calling for cuts to Social Security....... That's Merica by Jesus!

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 8 years 17 weeks ago

If the US was serious about ending terrorism, they could stop participating in it, but that's using reason and that ain't allowed.

Why doesn't the President go to the UN with a proposal to regulate and control the allocation of munitions? A multilateral proposal that all the world's weapon and ammunition manufactures submit their inventories and sales to the UN or a agreed upon regulatory body; including the producers of raw materials need in the manufacture of weapons and ammunition. Starve these terrorist groups of ammunition and re-armaments.

I know the answer already, but that's just one way of fighting terror that doesn't require US military intervention.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 8 years 17 weeks ago

This is a battle for hearts and minds, not bodies and souls.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 8 years 17 weeks ago

Lot of good points but there are other alternatives than the two you present. We should try to lead a mult-nation diplomatic effort on how to confront ISIS and all the differences in the region. It should include the Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, and it should include Iran, Syria and Russia. Part of the problem is this is a proxy war between Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 17 weeks ago

Thom, while everything you’ve said is true, you seem to be coming from the assumption that the AMERICAN death cult sincerely wants to “defeat” terrorism. To the contrary, ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban etc. etc. are GREAT FOR BUSINESS! Come on Thom, war contractors and their CEOs have bills to pay too!

Long as there’s an “enemy” to fight, the American death cult can justify its existence and bloated military budget, and American weapons manufacturers can keep singing all the way to the bank. We’ve created these monsters, Thom. You think we’re gonna suddenly switch gears now, and try winning hearts & minds instead of blowing up civilians in their beds, massacring them at their weddings and funerals?!!

God bless the USA. - AIW

playarocadave's picture
playarocadave 8 years 17 weeks ago

Again, it's easier to shake a hand with aid than to blow it off with a bomb.

ezwriter's picture
ezwriter 8 years 17 weeks ago

Can we just get real for a minute here? Considering the overwhelming evidence that our very own home grown CIA as well as Israel's Mossad are arming and funding most of the worlds terrorist groups, perhaps we can just politely ask them to cease and desist. Am I the only one that has followed the evidence down this rabbit hole? Veterans Today has been investigating this story for years, and has found ample evidence to support this. Perhaps if more of these alternative media sites would invite others to do their own research, the people would begin to wake up to the treasonous atrocities that our present government, (all puppets), and the corporations, banks, and puppeteers continue to dupe the public with. This hidden agenda is beginning to come to the surface, and folks are waking up. Perhaps it's time that this blog does too!!

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 8 years 17 weeks ago

Thom, you seem to think that our problems with the middle east began recently. Not so. If you check your history books, you'll find that these problems have their roots in the actions of the western nations beginning about 6 months after the World War I armistice, when wartime agreements with the middle eastern "tribes" were thrown in the trash heap of history, one after another. And then, we really began meddling in middle eastern affarirs.

The real solution to these problems, in my humble opinion, is for US to stop f&*%ing with other countries.

ArlenGrossman's picture
ArlenGrossman 8 years 17 weeks ago

Well said, Thom. You and I are thinking alike. My article in OpEd News:

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 17 weeks ago

We're fighting an enemy called Terrorism. George Bush called it "the war on terror". Terrorism is not a person like King George, or Hitler or Ho Chi Minn. There was a person responsible for terrorism called Osama Binladen and he was killed but terrorism still exist. Terrorism is not a country like Japan or Spain or Germany. We sent large armies to two countries over a decade ago to stop terrorism but terrorism still exist. Terrorism has no borders and no single leader. Terror is a state of mind. When a person has this state of mind they are said to be terrified. People who cause that state of mind are called terrorist and the act of causing that state of mind is called terrorism. When U S high speed jets and unmanned drone aircraft fly over civillian populations causing them to to be terrified, because they know these aircraft sometimes kill innocent civillians, doesn't that make the U S the terrorist? How many innocent civillian deaths are acceptable as collateral damage per bombing or drone strike? 5? 25? 50? In my opinion the number is 0. Those surviving relatives are going to retaliate. It looks to me like we're fighting terrorism with terrorism. That's like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it. There must be a way to end this war but what we've done so far has not worked. I'ts time to rethink what we've been doing and do something different.

Loremaster's picture
Loremaster 8 years 17 weeks ago

Yes, this Great Country was built of Lying, Raping, Deception and Free Labor. So what's changed?? Not a damn thing!

So what's your point??

lindsze's picture
lindsze 8 years 17 weeks ago

You are so right! But too many people has been drinking the kool aid dished out to them during bush years and watching fauxnews. How do you convince them that supporting more wars isn't the answer?

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 8 years 17 weeks ago

Where there's a will there's a way.

Bottom line...The U.S. Government MUST STOP POLICING THE WORLD; Our Corporate high jaked government is WORSE than that of the King's Rule that We originally declared & fought for our Independence from. We need to take inflated profit out of war, stop glorifying the Military, and put Howard Zinn's The Bomb and Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun on all High School Reading list.

Our foreign policy should not be one motivated by the Military Industrial Complex...Stop Empire Building.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 17 weeks ago

No one has mentioned the straightforward, hard to understand action that Obama could do on his own. He just needs to pardon Bush and Cheney. In so doing, he would say we committed war crimes. In this way, he would be telling people like the head of that terror attack in France that he was right and had a reason to be pissed off.

Hayneedle 8 years 17 weeks ago

Cutting social security is REAL austerity banging on 'Merica's door!

Hayneedle 8 years 17 weeks ago

The United States is not accountable (prosecutable) under the Geneva Convention. That's why war crimes, atrocities are never paid for. They don't need a pardon. Another little piece of trivia is that any American president could have with six months notice removed us from any trade agreement. That's built into the agreements.

Accusations of American "exceptionalism" aren't hot air, they have a basis. Most of the agreements, treaties, etc., U. S. enters into have clauses excepting or exempting the U. S., opt-out clauses.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 17 weeks ago

Since the biggest predictor of where Koch Bros. money goes is minority populations, I suggest that Republicans adopt the extrmely cynical attitude of drawing minorities to their districts in order to get their beaks wet on that deal. Ha ha.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 16 weeks ago

Reply to #19: Hi Nachos. Long time no see. Thanks for another bull's-eye comment. Empire building is the game, and a deadly one at that. This empire is doomed to crash and burn just like all the others.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 16 weeks ago

One fact is not well known and that is that the U.S. created Islamic radicalism in the Eisenhouer era to fight the Soviet supported Arab nationalists like Abul Nassar and then the Soviets in Afghanistan.. There's a good story about this at Mother Jones

Thom's right though. To use violence offensively is almost always politically self defeating, look, for example, how 9/11 hurt the cause of radical Islam and the left - so much so that many people suspect it of having been an inside job by right wingers or the Mossad.

The only problem is most Americans approve of the of drone strikes. (What's a few dead Arabs? Only good one's a dead one you know ) Ob ama won't stop using drone attacks until the American people tell him in no uncertain terms that they don't want them and even if that means Al Quaeda has a safe haven in Pakistan or somewhere. Every president will be more afraid of the appearance of being soft on terrorism than the opprobrium of the Pakistanis - or any foreign people.

Thus the target of our campaigns against drone strikes must not be the president but the American people - who Noam Chomsky called "the most powerful political force in the world".

ANNofARK's picture
ANNofARK 7 years 42 weeks ago

Aggression is a hysteric fit.It might be caused by frustration, of course, but the point is - hysteria expresses itself through human behavior depending of what hormones are available. Uncontrollable crying fits happen in estrogen-rich bodies, while testosterone causes the same hysteria to express itself in uncontrollable aggression fits. And, of course, we have all seen infantile type hysteria expression in juvenile tantrums.

Now, as we all know (and what modern PC prohibits us to admit) that the only way to effectively deal with hysteric fits is - physical impact, which is something totally unacceptable outside this particular condition. I cannot imagine slapping or spanking a human being under any other circumstances , let alone hitting hard - that is, unless in self-defense . Though, there's one more case to use physical force - that is, in defense of someone else. Which is exactly the case of hysteric fits - the person has to be defended against his/her own self.

Therefore, qualified mental healthcare professional will know better than trying to reason with a person during hysterica fit, it doesn't work this way. First and foremost the fit has to be STOPPED and only after that comes every other form of treatment. Like analysis, reasoning, medications and consolations/negotiations. ( "No, you cannot have this expensive toy, and if you don't get up from the floor, Mother never will go shopping with you again " , or " No, you cannot alter grown man's upbringing, get a divorce lawyer" or " No , folks , you cannot convert everyone to Islam and you cannot have your caliphate on your neighbor country land , get over it."

Recently, Thom Hartmann paralleled the condition of African American population in USA to a person suffering PTSD, saying that they are understandably not to be held responsible for their uncontrollable anger after suffering for 3 centuries. (Strangely, Thom somehow fails to cut the same PTSD slack to people practicing Judaism, which folks have been persecuted for millenniums, blaming them for defending themselves. Go figure.)

Anyway, if we follow Thom's logic, ISIS must be venting frustration of being defeated in the end of 17th century in the neighborhood of Vienna by the army of Jan III Sobieski and been stopped from conquering Europe , i.e. they are having typical hysteric fit of masculine/testosterone type. While our leaders are trying to appease them instead of STOPPING the fit in the first place.

I thought we should demand that our politicians are obligated to take gynecology course ASAP before exposing depth of their ignorance trying to interfere with women's health issues, but it looks like they'd better take mental health 101 course first, before it's too late to stop this world-threatening hysterical fit of Islamists.

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