Thursday, December 10, 2015

NY Times op-ed: radical Islam seeks escape from "freedom's burden" of "personal choice and its dilemmas"

Roger Cohen has an article from the New York Times Magazine “Turning Points”, titled “The Evil that Cannot Be Left Unanswered”, link here.

Note the startling paragraph that starts with “Freedom is not for everyone.”  Then Cohen writes “the road to Raqqa is in many ways the road from freedom’s burden – from personal choice and its dilemmas to submission …” Indeed, freedom works only when people recognize their interdependence on others without being forced to.  I like the analogy, you pass the desert at a family dinner table just as you pass the spinach.

Cohen does talk about military policy comparatively. In 2001, after 9/11, the Bush administration would not tolerate a Taliban in “power” in areas of Afghanistan. The Obama administration tolerates the failed state of Syria, although the practicalities of doing otherwise may be much more complicated than what Bush faced.  And Bush went to war in Iraq apparently under the wrong assumptions about Saddam Hussein and WMD’s (I’m not so sure Bush and Powell were completely wrong) and when Obama pulled out, the power vacuum filled with evil (some of it left over from Saddam’s own military).

The idea of dealing with enemies – politically at a country level and personally if forced to – seems all to novel now, but people tend to forget all but the most recent history.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture from Mt. Sinjar in Iraq with USAID and Yazidi refugees (public domain from USAID.   A co-worker from back in 2002 when I was living in Minneapolis had a friend or relative living in Mosul, so the degrees of separation are small.

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