Why ISIS?

images-1BY ED FELIEN

To hate someone enough to want to kill them, you must, first, dehumanize them. They must become “the other.”  They must be seen as less than human, a species that if allowed to propagate would contaminate the gene pool. In order to want to kill ISIS, the American people must come to believe that it would be a gift to humanity to wipe them off the face of the earth.
I am old enough to remember the dehumanization propaganda that sanctioned the killing of Germans, Japanese, North Koreans, Vietnamese, Communists, Latin Americans and, now, Arabs and Iranians.
President Obama, in his speech before the U.N. in September said, “The future belongs to those who build, not to those who destroy,” and the brutality of ISIS “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”
The most publicized and well-known examples of the brutality of ISIS are the public and videotaped recordings of the beheadings of British and American citizens caught behind the lines. Certainly a public beheading is a horrific act.  But the botched execution in Oklahoma by lethal injection that led to a prisoner’s painful minutes of suffering from a heart attack—seemed, even to the White House, inhumane. And our closest ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, just before Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit last month, executed 22 people, eight of them by beheading.  According to Amnesty International, four members of one family were beheaded for receiving drugs.
We are told the treatment of women by ISIS is further proof of their inhumanity, but, once again, Saudi Arabia is on par with or even excels ISIS in misogyny.
ISIS wants to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Sunni Muslim territories.  Could that be the reason they are outside the pale of human existence? But some folks in Scotland wanted to become an independent country, and some people in Catalonia want to secede from Spain, and, yet, no one regards them as subhuman.
But if ISIS secedes it will destroy the integrity of Iraq. The drawing of the boundary lines for the nation of Iraq was done by the French and British when they were dividing up colonial spoils after World War I. It was done without any regard for the cultural or ethnic resident groups. The Kurds in the   north have established an autonomous region that is quite separate from the rest of Iraq. The Sunni ISIS Caliphate would be quite similar.
Well, if it’s not about the brutality of capital punishment or beheadings, or about the treatment of women, or of secession, then why should we hate and loathe them?
Is it, once again, because of oil? Is it because, as Dick Cheney used to say, our oil is under their land? The Kurds have been quite successful in selling their oil on the open market despite opposition from the U.S. It seems ISIS wants to do the same. Exxon-Mobil owns the leases to the oil in the western part of Iraq, and it’s their refineries that ISIS has seized. So, the bottom line is, once again, we’re going to war to protect the vital interests of Exxon.

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