Here is what happened in the two weeks since I wrote on the GOP response to ISIS.
Counting on Our Foolishness – A follow-up by Wood himself discussed the feedback he’s already received on his first piece. A quick and decent read, even if filled with frustrating academic back-and-forth about terminology and rankings, that struck me with the last paragraph which quoted an ISIS supporter:
Maybe you can understand to some degree one of the reasons why many Muslims will share your piece. It’s not because we don’t understand what it is saying in terms of how to defeat the Muslims, rather it’s because we know that those in charge will ignore it and screw things up anyways.
It’s Islamic – Wood’s piece above also touches on something I wanted to write about two weeks ago but which didn’t really fit in with the piece. I first actually heard about it from David Brooks on the NewsHour several weeks prior (and yes, Tom is absolutely right that we all should be watching Shields and Brooks) and Wood was the next to touch on it: that there is real religious undercurrents to the ISIS movement and it’s foolish to ignore that.
There are some issues with those in the West trying to address this, though. First, as wood mentioned in his original article, the best counter is a differing Islamic ideological view that can sway ISIS supporters. Unfortunately if the West tries to push said view we immediately rob it of any legitimacy. Second, there appears to be the fear that if we address the religious aspect, that will be perceived as an attack on all Islam rather than this one ideological offshoot. I can only hope this is the reason that after the recent major summit on fighting extremism at the White House we saw colorful posters showing how we need to do better with the war in social media instead of the quote further up being the real reason.
Congress – Congress still hasn’t acted on the President’s request for Authorization for Use of Military Force nor have they offered their own proposal. Instead of showing leadership of their own or solidarity with the Commander-in-Chief the Senate is playing politics with negotiations with Iran.
Scott Walker and Jeb Bush – Scott Walker made some controversial remarks at CPAC where he used his fight against Unions in Wisconsin as some sort of indication he can handle ISIS. I’m less offended by the perceived insult of some on the Left that he was lumping Unions in with ISIS and more by the fact he would think simply dealing with political opposition is remotely comparably to dealing with a military opponent from a completely different culture.
What I would actually love to hear from Walker in times like this is less what he would do (he simply doesn’t have the experience or team) and more of who he would go to and seek council from.
This last bit is important because Jeb Bush announced his list of advisors and none other than Paul Wolfowitz was among them. I cannot think of a faster way for someone to no longer garner my interest than in making a pick like that.