Republicans: Please Stop Helping ISIS

After the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris we now have a choice: We can either calmly come up with a rational plan to take on this very, very real threat or we can give ISIS everything it wants.

And Republicans, it appears, have decided they’re going to give ISIS everything it wants.

You see, ISIS, like all terrorist groups, thrives on backlash.

It isn’t just trying to win physical battles; it’s trying to win propaganda battles, and for ISIS, the best propaganda victory is when it gets to portray itself as the sole, legitimate protector of Muslims all over the world.

Since the vast majority of ISIS’ victims are Muslims themselves, this isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.

And so, ISIS has decided to attack the West in the hopes that doing so will provoke a backlash against Muslims that’s so strong that European Muslims will start to believe its sick, twisted version of Islam and join the fight in Iraq and Syria.

This is literally what ISIS says it wants to do.

As one of ISIS’s leading propagandists explained in a manifesto called “The Extinction of the Grayzone” that was published earlier this year, most Muslims in the West actually oppose extremism and have to be converted to the jihadist cause.

The best way to do this, this propagandist went on to explain, was to conduct terror attacks against the West that through their sheer violence provoked a vicious backlash against Muslims.

Once this backlash starts, he wrote, “The Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize and adopt the [infidel] religion propagated by Bush, Obama, Blair, Cameron, Sarkozy, and Hollande in the name of Islam so as to live amongst the [infidels] without hardship, or they [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the crusader governments and citizens.”

This backlash strategy also holds true in the Middle East, where ISIS hopes it can get Western powers to kill Muslim civilians and thus position itself as a defender of the faithful against the evil crusaders.

So, now that ISIS has made it very clear to everyone why it’s attacking the West, you’d think that our politicians and elected leaders would do everything they can to not fall into its trap… right?

You’d think that they would do everything they could to make sure that ISIS’ cynical propaganda fell on deaf ears… right?

Apparently not.

As Max Blumenthal, points out over at Alternet, Western leaders are now falling right into line with ISIS’ “grayzone” strategy.

The problem is, not surprisingly, particularly bad in France, where in the wake of Friday’s attacks politicians have demanded everything from the destruction of mosques, internment camps for “radicals,” and a ban on Muslim immigration.

In a country that already clearly has a problem with religious extremism, a problem made worse by discrimination, a headscarf ban, and widespread Islamophobia, ideas like this aren’t going to help anyone.

They’re just going to make it all the more likely that some unemployed North African immigrant sees what’s going on around him and decides that hey, ISIS isn’t so wrong after all.

And here’s the thing, counterproductive Islamophobia isn’t just a problem in France; it’s a problem here in the U.S. as well.

Republican presidential candidates have wasted no time in exploiting the Paris attacks as a way to prove who’s “tougher” on terrorism, and in doing so, they’ve fallen right into ISIS’ trap.

Ted Cruz, for example, has called on the Obama administration to carpet bomb Syria and Iraq because ISIS "will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties.”

Nothing would help ISIS more than America killing Muslims civilians, but apparently helping ISIS is exactly what Senator Cruz wants to do.

But Cruz isn’t the only Republican presidential candidate doing his part to hand ISIS big time propaganda victories.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week yesterday Marco Rubio called the fight against ISIS “a clash of civilizations.”

That’s exactly what ISIS wants to hear - that it’s a legitimate representation of Islamic “civilization,” as opposed to what most scholars think it is: an extremist offshoot supported by people who have about as much a connection to Islam as Olympic stadium bomber Eric Rudolph does to Christianity.

So thanks for that, Marco.

I can't believe you'd be such an idiot as to give ISIS the legitimacy it so obviously craves - although George W. Bush did the same thing for Al Qaida in 2001 - maybe it's just a Republican thing to love authoritarian religious zealots.

And then there’s Donald Trump, who said on Morning Joe this morning that he would think about shutting down American mosques in response to the threat posed by ISIS.

Never mind for a second the obvious First Amendment problems here, and just think about optics.

Shutting down mosques would be the ultimately propaganda victory for ISIS.

It would make it seem like the War on Terror actually is about attacking Islam and not about taking down a group of radicals who, by the way, mostly kill Muslims.

This really shouldn’t be that complicated.

Taking out ISIS, if that’s what we want do to, is going to be very, very difficult.

It’s a terrorist group that controls territory across two countries, and we may not be able to defeat it by military means alone.

And because of that - especially because of that - we need to be careful that we don’t give ISIS any more easy propaganda victories - particularly victories that they have literally told us that they want us to give them.

Now, more than ever, is the time for tolerance and not hate, because hate will only fuel a backlash that’s guaranteed to cause more terror in the future.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 8 years 30 weeks ago

For more than 100 years, the United States, and other western nations, have been meddling in the affairs of the Middle Eastern countries, for various goals; and THAT, in my humble opinion, is why the Middle Eastern countries hate us.

It is long past time for us to apologize to the Middle East for all of this meddling, and pull out COMPLETELY. They need to solve their problems themselves; outsiders have not been able to solve those problems and never will. Even if the entire middle east self-destructs in a nuclear haze, it is preferable to continued interference by nations who don't have a clue about the people and cultures of the middle east.

I, as an American citizen, apologize to the entire Middle East for all the damage my country has caused; I also apologize for the fact that WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, have lost control of our government; I hope we will soon regain control.

cccccttttt 8 years 30 weeks ago

Every weekend US has more gun murders than the Paris tradgedy.

See for real time update in your neighborhood.

How about giving all immigration a couple years rest until we can reduce the

human carnage and return to a civil society.

Delusional to import more problems at this time.


Lloyd Lutterman's picture
Lloyd Lutterman 8 years 30 weeks ago

committee of 300, club of rome agenda

Old_Curmudgeon 8 years 30 weeks ago

Alas for Us: We have Rightists

{… a long-ish rhyme …}

It’s EXACTLY what Islamicists want:

that Rightists vigorously flaunt

their self-righteous wrath,

and march on war’s path

as of drum-beats of war they {boast} vaunt.

… …

Stupidly, our Right helps THEIR side!! -

- as the world’s tense cultures collide.

… …

Alas for us: -

- It’s a war of cultures

in which WE are regarded as vampire-like vultures.

So it’s WE who’re thought of as rapaciously evil.

Alas for us: -

- it’s a war asymmetric,

so we can’t cope with their methods so hectic,

which they design for our internal upheaval.

… …

The Rightists don’t know the above,

so they steam-roll and push and shove

so stubbornly to our Own defeat.

They’re with stupidity replete.


Vegasman56 8 years 30 weeks ago

stecoop Very well said

Vegasman56 8 years 30 weeks ago

Article by Reza Aslan

People don’t learn their values from religious teachings, according to Reza Aslan. During an appearance Wednesday night on The Daily Show, the religious scholar argued the situation was reversed — people infused scripture with their own personal values.

“There is obviously a serious problem with religious violence, and particularly with Islam and in the Middle East,” he remarked. “But if you’re going to blame religion for violence in the name of religion, then you have to credit religion for every act of compassion in the name of religion, you have to credit religion for every act of love in the name of religion, and that’s not what people usually think. They focus very much on the negative.”

“Part of the problem is that there is this misconception that people derive their values from their scriptures,” Aslan added. “The truth is it is more often the case that people insert their values into their scriptures. I mean, otherwise, every Christian who read the Bible would read it exactly the same way. In this country, not 200 years ago, both slave owners and abolitionists not only used the same Bible to justify their viewpoints, they used the same verses to do so. That’s the thing about scripture, it’s power comes from its malleability. You can read it in any way you want to.”

“If you are a violent misogynist, you will find plenty in the Koran or in the Bible to justify your viewpoint. If you’re a peaceful feminist, you will find just as much in those scriptures to justify your viewpoint.”

“What if you’re a Jew who loves a bacon egg sandwich?” host Jon Stewart interjected.

“I would recommend the Book of Mormon,” Aslan jokingly replied. “The point is that without interpretation scripture is just words on a page, it requires somebody to read it, to encounter it for it to have any kind of meaning, and obviously in that transaction you are bringing yourself, your views, your politics, your social ideas into the text. How you read scripture has everything to do with who you are. God did not make you a bigot, you’re just a bigot.”

In the extended portion of the interview uploaded online, Aslan said trying to completely divorce religion from violence was also wrong.

“We need to resist saying ISIS has nothing to do with Islam or that violence in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion. Of course it has to do with religion. If ISIS calls itself Muslim, we should probably take them seriously,” he said.

“I’m OK with you saying ISIS is Muslim as long as you realize that the tens of thousands of people that they kill are also Muslim, and the tens of thousands of people fighting them are also Muslims. So if ISIS is Muslim, and their victims are Muslim, and the people fighting them are Muslim — that doesn’t really say anything all that interesting about Islam itself.”

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 30 weeks ago

Sorry Thom you are wrong again. Your way is what we have been doing for years look where it has us. I am so sick of being told to be tolerant. Give them what ever they want. Honestly. The world was a lot better off before this multicultural experiment my generation got sucked into. Lock down the borders and let's get back to the good old days.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 30 weeks ago

I'm in agreement with Thom. The misery index has to be quite high for an individual to want to join ISIS, and the Republican White House wannabes want to crank it up even more with the "kill em all and let our God sort them out" rhetoric.

They're simply pandering to "Merica's" foxmerized baser other words, the citizens who vote themsevles into poverty so they can provide the billionaires with lawless deregulation at all levels in addition to more tax cuts.

Instant-RunOff-... 8 years 30 weeks ago

As long as we remain addicted to oil, as our Bankster/Oil Baron overseers demand, we will be constantly at war in the Middle East, Islamic Terrorism will continue to rise, there will be more Oil wars, more failed states, more mass migrations.

Oil has been called "The Devil's Tears". So much pain and suffering has occured in this world due to our totally unnecessary capitulation to the Bankster/Oil Barons and their noxious product.

richinfolsom 8 years 30 weeks ago

To the people of France -- to all people who inhabit a small, obscure planet circling a life sustaining star, may we find our way from the infliction of terror perpetrated by but a small and otherwise insignificant number of deranged people posturing with hiving up their lives for fifteen minutes of fame and through their insanity stirred up the winds of hysteria, uncertainty, and trepidation as the bombs again fall in cities, the names of which we never before heard their names.

Humanity has long followed tribal ritualism which some call religion -- though the ages have twisted even the best of the diety's teachings to which conflict and war are the ways of the ancients to bring clarity in the face of the death of the other.

I wish I could find an optimistic note of hope but find it difficult to rise abov the mantra espoused by the news corporations and politicians to be afraid; to cast the fate of hundred thousand people to the wind; and fodder the return of neo-fascism in Europe.

It is time that the countries in the region formulate a strategy for peace. If net, tell them we want back all the Planes, tanks, and economic subsidies.

Old_Curmudgeon 8 years 30 weeks ago

A Fringe off their Hinge

{… a rhyme …}

Increasingly frenzied is the widening fringe

of lunatic-ery where off their hinge

swing Rightwingers’ minds on a Looney Tunes binge.

It gives a sane man a painful twinge.


marl1's picture
marl1 8 years 30 weeks ago

When was the U.S so better off? Without tolerance for law abiding citizens of every faith you void the very essence of our U.S. Constitution. Our U.S. borders have always been open to refugees and immigrants from all over the world...that is the basis on which the country was born and nurtured. Tolerance is what this country has been built on. Tolerance is the very basis of Christianity. Lest you forget!

marl1's picture
marl1 8 years 30 weeks ago

When was the U.S so better off? Without tolerance for law abiding citizens of every faith you void the very essence of our U.S. Constitution. Our U.S. borders have always been open to refugees and immigrants from all over the world...that is the basis on which the country was born and nurtured. Tolerance is what this country has been built on. Tolerance is the very basis of Christianity. Lest you forget!

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 30 weeks ago

Marl1. The US and Canada needed immigrants previously, that is why they where tolerant. We built railroads that went to nowhere to nobody. For decades no one was unemployed. It is completely different now. The US has a massive homeless, healthcare and debt problem. The immigrants need us we don't need them. It would make more sense to help them on their own soil. I just liked it better when I could go to a movie or a sporting event and didn't have to worry about getting blown up.

sawdust1's picture
sawdust1 8 years 30 weeks ago

This place seldom changes. My friend Brian suggested I read this. Nevil Chamberlin started the thread by saying that confronting a group of people who took arms, confiscated large land areas in soverign nations, perpetrated genocide against native Coptic Christians, beheaded captives, drowned people in cages, gang raped women, set people on fire and finally attacked and killed hundreds in france should not be provolked by reacting to them militarily.

All righty then. Go agead and support the afore mentioned crimes against humanity. That's not my style. People who do those things are a cancer on humanity. To suggest that their ideology will change by the actions of a weak president who believes that bombing them only five times a day instead of twelve hundred that was the standard under the previous administration, is fantasy. Good luck with that.

NAst's picture
NAst 8 years 30 weeks ago

The question is

"why US, Saudi Arabia and Turks all in cooperation create and still support ISIS ?"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 30 weeks ago

Reply to Old Curmudgeon’s post #11: You remind me of Calvin Trillin, The Nation’s Deadline Poet.

Reply to #14: Kend, chill out. Statistically, you’re about as likely to die from a lightening strike in this part of the world as an ISIS terrorist attack. You sound like someone who watches too much FOX. Try turning off the idiot box. It’s those right-wing, white Christian dudes you should be worried about.

Lance Guest's picture
Lance Guest 8 years 28 weeks ago

I couldn't help but notice, there is not one single supporting article, that has been listed in this whole transcript. It is just me, or the fact that Mr. Cruz, Mr. Rubio and even Mr. Trumps comments are made to look exactly the opposite of what these gentlemen actually said? In other words, the twisted opinion of a progressive radio talk show host can only be accepted by the most gullible of liberals, who probably lie to and even among themselves just as Thom Hartman appears to do in this broadcast.

Progressive Republican's picture
Progressive Rep... 8 years 27 weeks ago

Reply to #7:

Learn your history about how the West, and especially the U.S. has been stirring the Middle East pot for over sixty years and then tell me THAT doesn't make you sick.

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