What in the fresh hell is this? Musician Ariana Grande is better suited for counterterrorism than Secretary of Defense James Mattis? It’s only something you’ll find in a hyper-progressive publication like The Nation. Granted, like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Publisher and editor Katrina Vanden Huevel has been good calling out the Democrats for what she sees as a neo-McCarthyite furor enveloping the party regarding Russia. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss has some Democrats feeling that any meeting with the Russians is inappropriate. At worst, it constitutes treason. It’s totally insane, as is Michigan Professor Juan Cole’s op-ed, where he criticizes Bush, Mattis, and Trump for their approaches to terrorism, but says that the national security apparatus should be following Grande’s Twitter feed. Why? Well, because she just understands counterterrorism better; it's evident on her Twitter feed. This piece came after Secretary Mattis said that U.S. policy would be shifting to annihilation tactics regarding the Islamic State [emphasis mine]:
The strategy of annihilation is sort of like fighting forest fires with gasoline hoses. In his interview, Mattis showed no interest in how ISIL arose in the first place, or how it attracted or gained the tacit cooperation of several million Syrians and Iraqis. He seems to think that a few slick tweets or videos in cyberspace are the problem. The fact is that all the ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria have siblings and cousins, and simply annihilating them creates a whole slew of new feuds with the United States. Further, the fighters could not have amounted to anything if the citizens of cities such as Falluja and Mosul had felt well-treated by their government and well-represented in the Baghdad parliament. As for eastern Syria, its hardscrabble Sunni Arab farmers have lived under a totalitarian, one-party state for decades, a state oriented to the country’s west and controlled by a Shiite minority. The drought of the last decade killed 70 percent of their livestock and drove tens or hundreds of thousands off their farms.
George W. Bush’s war on Iraq…created the exact conditions in that country that were guaranteed to foster terrorism. Washington has never come to terms with its own responsibility for destabilizing the region. Mattis himself helped annihilate Falluja in 2004 (seeking to destroy Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which thereafter morphed into ISIL). That scorched-earth campaign drove the Sunni Arab Iraqis to boycott the 2005 parliamentary elections.
More recently, President Trump’s conviction that the Arabs need a strong hand at the till is exactly the policy that leads to terrorism. Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia last week promoting a Sunni alliance against Shiites, moreover, is another push for regional violent conflict that will spill over onto the West.
Meanwhile, pop singer Ariana Grande, 23, whose concert was attacked by a British ISIL operative in Manchester, announced that she would return to Manchester for a benefit concert for the victims. The second-most-followed person on Instagram stressed that her concert was about inclusiveness and that would not change. “The way you have handled all of this has been more inspiring and made me more proud than you’ll ever know. The compassion, kindness, love, strength and oneness that you’ve shown one another this past week is the exact opposite of the heinous intentions it must take to pull off something as evil as what happened Monday… We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win.”
Her sentiments, the essence of counterinsurgency when it comes to ISIL’s polarizing plot, were shared by Manchester Muslims, who marched in solidarity with the victims.
I’m hoping that the Pentagon follows Grande’s Twitter feed. Because she nailed it.
Okay—the benefit concert was a nice gesture and it was necessary. Yes, it shows that we will not be afraid of living our lives in the face of terror attacks, as demonstrated by the packed crowds who attended the concert. At the same time, we’re going to use this to guide anti-terror and national security policy? That’s absurd. No wonder why voters trust Republicans more on these matters.