Copyright 2015 by John T. Reed

The media and Republicans have their hair on fire about IS. Tonight, Hannity said in a near panic that they have 25,000 members and are seeking more.

How about a sense of proportion?

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has 28,000 undergraduate students. They are also seeking more. I don’t think anyone is setting their hair on fire about it, not even Ohio State.

For perspective, the population of Iraq is 33 million; Syria, 23 million. If the 25,000 IS members are a problem of some sort, the 56 million Syrians and Iraqis ought to be able to handle it—with switchblades.

The White Man’s Burden

If they need the “white man” to “pick up his old burden,” to borrow phraseology from Rudyard Kipling, I refer them to the 700 million white men in Europe or perhaps their fellow Muslims could help them. There are 1.6 billion Muslims.

The distance from Syria and Iraq to Europe is zero miles. Turkey is Europe and it borders both countries.

We 317 million Americans, in contrast, are 5,284 miles away from Syria. It’s not our problem.

Close their oil business

We should knock the oil producing facilities they have captured out of action so they cannot makes oodles of money—enough money to enable them to strategically threaten us. But if the Sunni want to kill the Shia and vice versa with their little AK-47s and RPGs, it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of “Death to the USA” chanters.

I have never been much for poetry, but Rudyard Kipling is the great exception. He is the John Wayne of poets. Here is his “White Man’s Burden” poem:

Rudyard Kipling already analyzed this—in 1899

The White Man’s Burden (The white man in this discussion is the U.S. military, the other people in the poem are the populations of Syria and Iraq.)

Take up the White Man's burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden, In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit, And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden, The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden, No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper, The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter, The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living, And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better, The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
"Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden, Ye dare not stoop to less—
Nor call too loud on Freedom To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper, By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden, Have done with childish days—
The lightly proferred laurel, The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood, through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, The judgment of your peers!

To recognize how long this IS type crap has been going on, please note that Mr. Kipling wrote this poem in 1899 and it was subtitled The United States and the Philippine Islands, which we had just acquired in the Spanish-American War.

Here are some Facebook comments about the above article:

John T. Reed I mentioned Hillary and Kerry because you cited the State department as authority. Now you suggest the subordinates of Hillary and Kerry are experts who got it right and Hillary and Kerry are irrelevant to the lower-level experts. No one in those organizations deviates one iota from the party line publicly.

Ross is correct.

I wrote an article years ago that terrorism is a publicity stunt. I read the book What Terrorists Want after hearing the author spoke at a Harvard Business Reunion. She was the daughter of terrorists—IRA, and is now a college president back in Ireland. She said they want the three Rs: revenge, recognition, and reaction—actually overreaction.

America’s overreaction to 9/11 is exactly what they want and exactly why they do spectacular things rather than strategic things like killing 100,000 Americans. Ross called them “flashy and newsworthy.” Just so.

The media is complicit. I said in my publicity stunt article that the media are the paymasters of the terrorists, paying them in fame and provoking overreaction.

With regard to the youth youth football parent meeting analogy, Derek and I met when he became a youth football coach for the first time then took a brand new youth team to an undefeated season in his first try at coaching football. My youth football books are extremely detailed and technical. Youth parents, on the other hand argue all sorts of idiotic things based primarily on NFL approaches or faded memories of their 30 years ago playing days. To let them do much of that in a parent meeting is a total waste of time that I did not have.

Here the subject is whether IS should be getting tons of air time every single night on Fox News and whether there should be a great outcry for America to do whatever it takes to stop IS because they are a clear and present danger to us.

My debate tactics list gives credit for things like doing a masters thesis on a subject, but it prohibits stating that as why you are right as a substitute for showing where I am wrong. My failure to have written a masters thesis about IS may indeed be why I am wrong, but let’s first point out where I am wrong with facts and logic rather than assume I am wrong because my lack of particular experience might cause me to be wrong.

I did graduate from West Point, and another year of Army officer schooling after that—ranger, jump school, communications officer courses. I was in the 82nd Airborne and did a tour in Vietnam. (Derek was a Coast guardsman and in his 30s now I believe.) I learned a little bit about wars in general from that training and experience. I am also professional writer and have written thousands of articles generally performing research for each. I have written 38 books—each the equivalent of a thesis in length typically. In particular, I have studied current military affairs by reading various books, attending talks by Petraeus and other participants, watching TV and movie documentaries.

So I am not going to defer to your thesis experience to the extent that I take notes silently when you speak. I am not as ignorant of this IS subject as youth football parents are of coaching. They typically never coached or attended a coaching clinic or read a book about coaching. Most probably never played the sport. To say that I am to you on IS what youth football parents were to me on football coaching is way off base.

I would defer to your knowledge of Coast Guard operations, which I have no training or experience with. On that subject, I would be like a youth football parent talking to me about coaching a team.

The issue here is, as Ross says, distance, statistics, weaponry. I think the total number of noncombatant Americans killed by IS in the last two years is something like three: the two reporters who were beheaded and the woman who was murdered. All went there on their own nickel in spite of State Department warnings not to go there. Here is an article about the stats:
. Derek lists a number of attempted terrorist incidents like Pam Geller. There were also the underwear and shoe bombers, neither of whom caused a detonation. The LA airport bomber was detected and stopped in Seattle. With each additional such incident, Americans should be less scared, not more scared. The main successful incidents were the WTC twice and a couple of U.S. Army soldiers who went postal. This is not a reason to spend half a trillion dollars sending boots on the ground to Syria or Iraq. We already know how that would go: IEDs, “friendly” Iraqis or Syrians suddenly turning on us and shooting, and the enemy spending all their time in buildings with human shields to prevent us from killing them. We should not consider more of that because of three morons who wanted to impress their friends with their dangerous adventure and got themselves killed in the process.

John T. Reed