Sunday, September 7, 2014

Idealism vs. Idealism....

Interesting contrast in idealism.

For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline From Minnesota to Militancy

Los Alamos Native Seeks Help For His International Battalion

In one case, Minnesota youths become radicalized Islamists and join an international assortment of young men fighting for ISIS; later two die in service of their "ideals". In another case, a young man from Los Alamos joins an international assortment of volunteers who have formed a brigade as part of the Israeli Defense Force as they head off to fight in that cauldron of violence, injustice, and evenly matched political pig-headedness, Gaza. Seems to me the last thing the Middle East needs is more young idealists heading over there to kill each other. Maslow's Hammer, you know.

I'm sure no one in the FBI or State Dept. will object too strongly if we send money to Jonathan Miller, but I would check with the Feds before I wrote a check.. Try writing a check to those Minnesota boys who joined ISIS and see how fast Uncle Sam's black SUVs will be pulling up to your door.

There is certainly no equivalence between ISIS and Israel, but there is an equivalence of young men overwhelmed with idealism, following their bliss, and taking up arms for what they consider a just cause--and killing other people. We just don't know except in retrospect if the cause is really just. Many men came back from Vietnam pretty jaded. Or for that matter, from more recent conflicts. Heck, there was a time in my life when I lustily cheered on the IDF, my first name notwithstanding. I'm a little more detached these days. That's what age and history does to you.

It seems to me that if young American men want to join an army, it ought to be ours. Or, become a citizen of another country. Abraham Lincoln Brigade notwithstanding.

Added later.

Valerie Harris has attacked me and my letter, which is certainly her right, just as it is my right to criticize young men for volunteering to join various Middle Eastern military or terrorist organizations when it is apparent that neither military force nor terrorism have a ghost of a chance of solving the problems endemic to the region for the last half century.

Indeed, Mr. Miller's request was for equipment that would be used as his unit marches off towards Gaza, which is the latest scene of violence and devastation in a region long used to senseless acts of tit for tat attack and retribution.

Ms. Harris could not, however, do a better job of conflating Israel the nation-state with Judaism the religion or with the Jewish community in order to shut down any criticism of the nation-state by hanging the threat of an accusation of religious intolerance or hate crime over the heads of those with which she disagrees. Such conflations are highly unfortunate, and to some degree, are red herrings.

I truly hope that Mr. Miller gets home safe and sound, whether home is in the US or State of Israel, but also wish that all of the various adversaries in the Middle East would find a more constructive way than bombs and rockets to solve their problems. The State of Israel is a fact of life and it is not going away nor should it contract to indefensible borders. The inhabitants of the region would be well advised to find constructive ways to live together rather than fight each other. I'll leave it at that.