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War and more war

"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."
Alexander the Great

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
Sun Tzu

It is August 28, 2014 and more than ever we're witnessing something very important. It is particularly interesting because the stakes are so high. If we don't get the middle-east situation right, the enemy seems likely to make life very bad for a long time in many regions of the world.
    The very important question is what can be done about the insane, violence-on-steroids brand of terrorism? The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and whomever they morph into tomorrow, as well as other ruthless offshoots of Al-Qaeda, pose a serious problem.
You can't reason with people who are bat-crap-frickin'crazy. In the name of some bastardized version of Islam that they make up as they go along, they'll do anything to anybody. It isn't Islam any more than I'm the Pope. There isn't an Imam worth his salt who concurs with their tactics, their message, or anything else about them.
    Since they are immune to reason, we have no alternative but to have every sane nation commit their money and their military, join forces, and pound the bejeezus out of them. It is how the Allies defeated Hitler and it will take nothing less here. That's what many want to do but perhaps it is more complicated and requires a less emotional approach.
    The problem is the bad guys have this home-spun ideology. If we pound the crap out of them, legions of dumb-as-a-brick believers (they are also certifiably sociopathic) will run and hide, recruit some others and come back later, fueled by what they believe was an attack on their faith.
    Let's be clear, to attack the likes of ISIS is not an attack on faith. It is an attack on stupidity and the terror it spawns. No faith in the world advocates such unreasoned violence. Yes, the Christian's had their crusades against Muslims. My only response to that is what our mothers told us: "Two wrongs don't make a right."
    One thing is sure: one country can't win this struggle by itself. There has to be wide support from other western and middle-eastern nations. Without multi-national participation it could be wrongly perceived as an attack on Islam rather than what it really is: an attack on an immoral bunch of guys running amok.
    So what's the answer? Four suggestions compete for the honour of being least wrong. One is to muddle along, have as much dialogue as possible, and see where it goes. No one seems to know what the outcome of that would be because the issue is, as they say, "so fluid."
A second is to leave them alone and let them kill each other off. This sounds attractive, but these loons would never stop, and the killing would spread. To ignore them and let them fight it out is like having Ebola in your midst and doing nothing.
    Third, as George W. famously said, we can wage war against the enemy with a coalition of the willing like the Allies did against Hitler's Germany, Italy and Japan. This solution, by itself, rarely works as expected when battling groups of terrorists because there are too many moving parts. Research and history tell us that single mode strategies are liable to back fire as they did in Viet Nam and Iraq. The "turn-them-to-dust" approaches often take us in unanticipated directions.
    Fourth, depending on who you listen to, is some combination of the above. Combining the first (muddling dialogue), and the third (strategic military attacks from a diverse coalition) might be best. It needs to include a highly targeted dirty war by as many nations as possible against the common enemy where ever it is. It would mean fighting their kind of war; the unpredictable and ruthless kind with lots of black ops and special forces guys. If all the sane nations committed to it, it would bring pressure on the middle-east and other nations to pony up and put their military and their money where their mouth is.
    The muddling along part of this fourth option needs mountains of credible counter propaganda from Muslim countries and Muslim spokesmen directed against the enemy's make believe ideology in order to discredit and dissuade its followers. It also requires unprecedented communication, cooperation and commitment.
    Hopefully the many people and nations who are working on this problem come up with effective solutions. It is definitely important and needs to be satisfactorily resolved so we can continue to live well between our ears.
    For a compilation of 110 of my earlier columns go to,, or and search for my book Live Well Between Your Ears.