What noble cause are these Islamists fighting for? The right to have nine year old brides? The right to keep women as chattel? The right to mutilate and kill people for bullshit religious reasons?
You know.. you really don't know these people. Have you talked to a muslim? Have you listened to an Arab, Persian, Yemani, Pakistani talk about their homes and family? Yes, there are some of these things you speak of.. just like you got people here in the US who won't let their daughters go out unescorted, cut their hair, wear makeup and refuse to let them wear anything but fully covering dresses and talk to 'unfaithful folk' (their words..not mine. I went to school with them).
Cultural and Religious intolerance are alive and well here in the US. Don't assume that we hold the high ground. Let's do a quick tally. Who trained Bin Laden and his nut jobs. We did. Who let the Shah of Iran and Saddam kill their political rivals by the truckload. We did. Hell we supplied Saddam with the reagents for his gas warfare program.
Consider this.. when you look at some of the BIGGEST atrocities done in that area.. who supported the regimes doing them? Oh that's right.. WE DID. We supported killers, psychotics, and people who were perfectly wiling to do things out of Hitler's playbook. Because they were there to make sure the Russians didn't win or were willing to back our companies over the competition.
Look at it from the point of view of the folks that we so quaintly classify as 'collateral damage'. Your neighbor might be a member of the people who are up in arms (they might be just fighting.. or muscling down your village). Along comes an air strike and hammers the building flat, taking out a block or so. Maybe killing members of your family or just destroying your livelihood and home.
One side, the folks who bomb you, never follow up or do anything. To them, you don't exist.
The other side comes up and says 'sorry about your losses, here is something to help you out.' Maybe in the past they put a boot to your neck and threatened you but now they are there in moment of need.
Sorry, but I'm not seeing any moral equivalency between these cretins and the people who founded America. And I'm not nominating the Founders of America for sainthood. They had their foibles, to be sure. But considering they lived in the 18th century, I think at least to a limited extent they ought to be graded on a curve. It's one thing to grow up in an era where people didn't know any better. Quite another to deliberately and wantonly cling to violent atavism in modern times.
Consider this before you put ALL folks in that side of the world as rabid frothing at the brain islamists. The people of Pakistan had a FEMALE president. She was a moderate. She's dead now, odds are killed either by those men you think represent everyone over there. (Or perhaps one of the people WE are supporting). I don't see a female president (or vice president) over here.
And some of those cretins, the ones I talked to.. listened to or worked with.. speak five or more languages, have the equivalent of two degrees and literally worked their way up from the stone age to the modern age. The folks of the Middle East might be a bunch of rabid nutjobs to you, but I'll let you know most of them simply want the same things we want. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A lot of the regimes out there are heavy handed and use our support to stomp on their rivals. Consider this, if you are working off the intel provided by 'allies' in the field, might be using us to help their version of the Hatfields looking to take out the McCoys in the next valley.
Without physical assets in the field, and follow up efforts our efforts with the drones are doing as much harm as good. You can feel free to sneer at their culture and highlight the bad without considering the good but you only perpetuate the stereotypes that prevent us from winning hearts and minds in the region. Smart bombs, drones, and air strikes from carriers don't win ground.
I've had my say.. I've tried to show what I thought was the fault of our policies. Without better reporting, rules of engagement, physical involvement and attempting to defuse the issues that the enemy uses in the region we will never win this fight. And right now we let FEAR guide our hands rather than thought. America's policies in the area are ruled by fear, our leaders use the threat of a war unlike any we've ever fought to do things that we'd have never considered before 9/11.
I served my country. I've seen the people the media and fear mongers say we should fear.. and I say this. We are doing this wrong and we will LOSE more if we continue to fight this way.
I'm done..clearly reasoned discussion has no place in further discussion and the refusual to see the people in the Middle East as anything but primative savages won't allow the consideration that we can work things differently.
So, before I start doing more than screaming at the screen and taking a long walk before posting.. I cede this thread to those who have already made up their minds about those we face.