I’ve often accused Republicans of being incredibly short-sighted. It’s astonishing to me how almost nothing long-term goes into anything that they think or believe. In the past I’ve referred to this as “bumper sticker politics.” By that I mean if it’s not simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker, it just might be too complicated for the average conservative to understand.
The Iraq War is a prime example of this. The only “plan” the Bush administration seemed to have was to rush to Baghdad as quickly as possible, remove Saddam Hussein from power… and that was about it – “Mission Accomplished” as the infamous banner read. In my opinion, the Iraq War perfectly exemplifies the simplistic, ignorant and short-term thinking of the GOP. And because of that way of thinking, it’s 2015 and we’re still dealing with the ramifications of that incompetence.
We’re seeing some of the same nonsense as it relates to ISIS/Daesh. A lot of the rhetoric emanating from the vast majority of Republicans is only helping to strengthen the most dangerous terrorist organization in our world today.
1. Anti-refugee propaganda: My colleague Manny Schewitz wrote a piece talking about how the rejection by the West of these Syrian refugees plays right into the overall strategy of ISIS/Daesh. Leaving these terrified Muslims – many of whom are women and children – with no place to go, shunned by Western cultures, only increases the odds that some of these refugees might embrace radical Islam and anti-West sentiment. When people are afraid and destitute, they’ll often turn to anything or anyone for even the slightest hope of any sort of stability.
2. Suggesting that we will only take Christian refugees: What a better selling point for radical Islamic terrorist groups than, “See, the West will only embrace Christians because they view Muslims and Islam as the enemy.” It’s absolute idiocy for anyone to even suggest this. Not only is it un-American, but it’s bigoted and completely inhumane.
3. Thinking that more violence is the answer: President Obama seems to grasp that “bombing everything” and “boots on the ground” is not a long-term solution to this problem. All that would happen is these terrorists would assimilate back into the population, hide out and wait for the United States to leave – then rise up again later. The only way we avoid an indefinite war where our troops remain deployed for 10-20 years (if not longer) is if we allow this to locally work itself out, with any direct ground effort being led by other Muslim nations in the region. This cannot be Iraq Part 2, because we all saw how that worked out. And if Republicans get their way, they’re only feeding into the hands of these terrorist organizations who will use American troops in a Muslim land as “proof” that the West is waging a “war on Islam.”
4. Pushing bigotry and hate: It’s amazing how public bigotry and hate against Muslims is openly accepted among Republicans. While I will be the first to tell you that there are a lot of issues within Islam, vilifying all Muslims the way that a lot of this Republican rhetoric does only increases the likelihood that even more Muslims are going to hate us. What Republicans should be doing – what we all should be doing – is embracing the moderate Muslims, especially here in the United States, to show that we’re a tolerant nation that accepts all religions and beliefs. To show that Islam doesn’t have to be what it is in the Middle East, which is a mostly oppressive, sometimes extremely violent religion. But we can never convey that to the Muslim world as long as Republicans continue feeding into the hands of terrorists by pushing their message of hate, fear and intolerance.
5. Their Christian fundamentalism: While most Republicans will deny it, many of them are fairly radical Christian fundamentalists. If I’m talking about a group of people who:
- Oppose abortion.
- Believe homosexuality is a sin.
- Don’t support same-sex marriage.
- Think government should be based on religion.
- Don’t believe women deserve equal rights.
- Feel that their religion is superior over all others.
- Use religion to manipulate people into going against their own interests.
- Talk about the religious end of the world.
- Use God to justify their hatred.
You don’t know if I’m talking about governments like Iran or United States Republicans.
The truth is, many Republicans see a war against Islam as a “holy war.” In fact, some have even said so. And that’s the sort of rhetoric that these terrorists use to recruit and justify the horrible things they do. We’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with radicals and jihadists – which is why the president has avoided using the term “radical Islam.” By doing so we would give these terrorists a recruiting tool for them to use and say, “See, they’re waging war against Islam.”
While there are several other ways Republican rhetoric is actually helping fan of the flames of terrorism, these are some of the more common practices many of them use that ultimately only end up strengthening these terrorist groups.