What Do We Do Now?

Steve’s got a bit of drama brewing.

And what I think’s going to get lost in one of those dumbassed blog-meta hissyfits over who is oppressing the free speech of whom and who doesn’t understand the history of sexism or something (which is usually what these things turn into) is a very important point:

We are ALL accountable for this. It’s not just a matter of Muslims, because those bombs killed everyone. They have to speak up, so do we all. It is not acceptable to leave young muslim men prey for fanatics. Friedman is right in the sense that the Arab world doesn’t support moderates, and Cole is right in that any blanket condemation is racist. But that’s not what we were saying. I won’t speak for Jen, but I think the problem is that you have these large umbrella groups which issue a formal statement, then nothing changes. Those kids are cheering because they feel like and have been told they are victims and need to strike back.

We know most muslims are not insane fundies. But the problem is that those folks aren’t called out. They should be treated like the Klan or the Aryan Nations. They shouldn’t have access to kids. That they do is a collective failure.

I’m sure that when the next attack happens, muslims will be as sorry as everyone else. But the question we ALL need to ask, because this is a collective problem, is what have WE done to blunt Islamic fundamentalism and reach out to their likely targets.

I don’t say it’s important because I agree with it. I don’t know what I think about it. The collective tonnage of what I do not know about the Middle East and about Islam would stun a team of oxen in its tracks; I say that knowing I know more than the average bear. However, this idea of collective responsibility for the growth of radical Islam is one that bears some thought.

I got into an argument the other evening with My Mom The Test Republican (hi, mom!) about how to pull our national dick out of the bees’ nest that we’ve stuck it into in Iraq. It progressed to the point that I opined that we will never be secure in any way from this particular source of terrorist action until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (and our role in it, and the perception of our role in it) is dealt with. The Palestinian question is everything. It’s the oldest and longest-running piece of anti-American propaganda in the Middle East and one of the most effective.

She asked what possible answer there might be to that when years of back and forth meddling to one degree or another has yet to produce a workable solution that allows people to live in peace. The only answer I had for that is “Fuck if I know, but what we’re doing now isn’t really working, either.”

Steve suggests ostracization of the extremists, in the same way the Klan and other white supremacists were marginalized.

Chew on this a bit for me, would you, and let’s come up with some ideas. Because mine tend toward isolationism, and even I know that’s neither effective nor practical. We’re engaged, whether we like it or not. It’s a little late to question whether the bees’ nest was a good place to stick our dick.

A.