As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump campaigned to become a war criminal. He protested the Geneva Conventions, vowed to “bomb the shit” out of the Middle East, and insisted the US had to kill the family members of terrorists. Though he’s reneged on plenty of promises so far, he has stuck to these frighteningly well. But this is far from a legitimate strategy to fight terrorism. In fact, Trump’s presidency is sure to create more of it. Continue reading
Radicalized Islamic terrorists have become the focal point of national security concerns and much of the 2016 presidential election. Not without good reason – groups like ISIS, al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and others are among the most barbaric gangs of cold-blooded killers, kidnappers, torturers, rapists, sex traffickers and drug dealers ever. But treating them as an existential threat superseding the Nazis, as some have done, is granting them way too much legitimacy. Continue reading
On Friday, November 13, the city of Paris was laid siege by a small band of terrorists from the Islamic State who raided a theater, a concert hall, a soccer stadium and other venues using AK-47s and suicide bombs to. No final tally has been released and many victims remain hospitalized, but at least 129 are known to have died. In terms of death toll, it’s the worst attack in France since World War II.
In addition to the French massacre, ISIL is responsible for downing a Russian airplane carrying 224 tourists to Egypt. The day before the Paris attack ISIL detonated bombs in Beirut, Lebanon, claiming dozens more lives. These attacks are in addition to many smaller ones, the group’s destruction of culture, and the atrocities committed against women, hostages and apostates in ISIL-controlled territory.
After the attacks, French President Francoise Hollande called for the eradication of the Islamic State and declared France at war. France has since launched several air strikes against the Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria, which has served as a capital since roughly 2013. Among the targets were an Islamic State “command post, jihadist recruitment center and weapons and ammunition depot,” as well as a “terrorist training camp.” Continue reading
Obstruction has defined and united Congressional Republicans since the earliest days of President Obama’s term. Few Republican maneuvers, though, have generated as much rage as Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton’s cynical, stupid and dangerous letter to Iran. Forty-seven Republican senators signed the letter, attempting to undermine or diminish the nuclear deal being worked out between Iran and the U.S.
Per the deal, in exchange for the U.S. lifting some of its sanctions on Iran, Iran will agree to keep its nuclear program within certain agreed-upon parameters, including postponing any nuclear weapons programs. As the specifics continue to be ironed out, Cotton’s letter provided a senseless, politically motivated distraction. Fortunately, the Iranians are more serious than Senate Republicans, and the letter hasn’t derailed the diplomats having the real conversation. Representatives from the most powerful nations on the globe – the U.S., Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – are all working with Iran to come up with an internationally agreeable program. Continue reading
There are a seemingly infinite number of ways a person can define him or herself in relation to the spiritual world. Regardless of your views on religion, the supernatural and the metaphysical, there is likely a word to describe you – believer, agnostic, atheist, deist, spiritual, and all manner of subcategories in between. A tragedy is buried here, though, and it’s the fact that people must identify as one of these or another in the first place. Continue reading
Last week on Real Time with Bill Maher, a panel featuring one of the nation’s most prominent anti-religious voices, Sam Harris, discussed radical Islam. Harris made quite a few valid points, as he often does, and so did the rest of the panel – but they all managed to leave some important context out of the discussion that is crucial to understanding the hatred and violence consuming so many in the Arab world: a century of imperialism. Continue reading
The Middle East has been the focus of great fuss in the century or so since the discovery of its oil. Iraq has been of particular interest to the U.S. since the 1980s, when the Reagan administration supplied Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with weapons in his war against Iran, where a revolution had recently overthrown U.S.-installed leadership. When Hussein began acting aggressively without U.S. blessing in the early 90s, Washington turned on him. Since then, Iraq has been subjected to sanctions deemed “genocidal” by the UN diplomat responsible for overseeing them and military actions leading to the deaths of over a million Iraqis and the complete devastation of their infrastructure. In addition, there is widespread sectarian violence where previously there had been almost none as Sunnis and Shias turn on one another amid the chaos of war to fill political power vacuums. Continue reading