Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Want to See ISIS Clearly. By Jim Geraghty.

Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Want to See ISIS Clearly. By Jim Geraghty. National Review Online, December 22, 2015.


A couple folks in the comments section of last night’s piece contend Hillary Clinton’s debate claim that Donald Trump “is becoming ISIS’s greatest recruiter” doesn’t rank as an insane lie; they suggest it’s just garden-variety hyperbole and bashing of the political opposition.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit points out that these sorts of willy-nilly accusations steer the national discussion about how to handle ISIS away from the truth:

How far should this rule extend against saying things that jihadis might exploit? Trump shouldn’t have proposed his ban, the theory goes, because ISIS will use it as proof that America hates Muslims. In that case, should Obama have held off on stating his support for gay marriage? I’m no expert but I’d guess most Muslims would be more receptive to propaganda that the infidels are perverting Allah’s moral order by letting men marry men and women marry women than that some random politician who isn’t the president wants to keep Muslims out (temporarily). In fact, doesn’t ISIS agree that Muslims shouldn’t visit the filthy Dar al-Kufr known as America (except for purposes of jihad)? They’re trying to build a caliphate; the only proper place for Muslims, according to the caliph, is the caliphate itself, I would think. It’s a neat trick to try to build resentment at the U.S. for keeping people out when ISIS presumably is trying to keep them in. But to repeat the underlying point: If we’re going to let our policy choices be influenced by jihadi reaction, how do we justify legalized gay marriage?

Two: Explain to me why ISIS would see Trump’s Muslim ban idea as some irresistible propaganda goldmine when they have endless other more seductive grievances, real and imaginary, that they can exploit. If you were suddenly tasked with making an incitement video for ISIS, where would “Trump calls for ban” fall on your depth chart of things that need to go in there?

ISIS is not outraged about Trump statements or a potentially discriminatory U.S. immigration policy; they’re outraged by the existence of infidels and people who think differently from them.

(To simplify a longer discussion, according to the Islamists’ interpretation of their holy book, God’s on their side, and is supposed to be helping them win. They look around and don’t feel like winners. (Boy, after a while we all sound like Trump, don’t we?) The Caliphate is supposed to be the most powerful and strongest kingdom, and instead the West is (and China, and Russia, and arguably Israel, and…) … they’re lashing out at what they see as a cosmic injustice, attempting to correct a world where they were supposed to be on the top but feel like they’re at or near the bottom. Because they’ve victims of a demonic injustice, perpetuated by the Great Satan, etc., all means and tactics are justified.)

Allahpundit concludes, “The actual thought process here, I think, goes something like this: Cartoonish right-wing populism is the worst thing they can imagine in their own personal Overton window of American politics, therefore any cartoonish right-wing populist proposal must necessarily be enabling ISIS, the world’s worst, most dangerous group of people. It may not actually be true, and it might make no sense when you think about it for five minutes, but this is Larger Truth material if ever there was any.”

The bigger point here is that Hillary Clinton is allegedly running on her experience, her superior knowledge of foreign policy, and her deeper understanding of the threats America faces…. and now we’ve seen her blame Benghazi on a YouTube video and pre-emptively blame Donald Trump for any forthcoming ISIS attacks.

Remember, she’s the only candidate in this race who called for “showing respect, even for one’s enemies; trying to understand and, insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.” But even if you think that’s a good or needed approach, she doesn’t do any of that. Her takeaway from her big speech about the Islamic State was “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

Again, this is a deliberate effort to avert our eyes from what this group claims to stand for and how it sells itself to potential members and supporters. From the 2015 Global Terrorism Index:
One of the most powerful tools of the ISIL is the creation of its brand and image, linked to the notion that it is a modern-day “caliphate”. By creating this notion, ISIL presents itself as the vanguard of militant Islam, the only legitimate jihadist movement to hold territory and govern a pseudo state. It claims to offer an “authentic” way of life different from secularism. The ISIL propaganda machine maintains that it is providing medical, social, policing, and rescue services and an effective administration… As long as ISIL holds territory, the more plausible its caliphate and its accompanying political, ideological, social and economical pretensions become.
Hillary Clinton will insist we need to destroy, not contain ISIS in one breath and then turn around and denounce alleged Republican fearmongering the next. Her thinking is a contradictory mess, her proposals are a vague mess, and her record on fighting terrorism at the State Department was a mess that looks worse and worse over time. Why would anyone expect her to be different as president?