03 February 2007

What is the Problem?

It is my opinion that the problem in Iraq is with a small percentage of radical Muslims (am I over stating the obvious?), and their need to feel part of something greater than themselves. It is not enough to just be a part of this group, but the leaders of these groups want more and more power, and will use force, fear, and intimidation to get it. Power corrupts. Many areas in the Middle East (but not limited to) are incubators to these groups.

This is a world wide problem. Most of the residents of planet Earth are in denial, and with that, this problem could reach a tipping point. What America does, or does not do will make the difference (for better or worse). I hate to sound like a “doomsdayer”, but those who do not understand, and learn from history, may repeat the same catastrophic mistakes.

Here is my theory:

People gather together naturally - groups are formed; and then there is the fundamental need for the group to achieve pride. This pride is often gained by being the best at something. It is a typical human need (I think this is more prevalent is men, but women are not exempt).

This group dynamic is usually healthy when contained to organized sports (participating or rooting for), professional clubs, college fraternities/sororities, political affiliation, religion, ect – I could go on and on forever. I expect you could quickly name five groups/teams/clubs you feel closely connected to. Our connections to groups start the day we are born and join our first group – family. From that moment you also adopt many associations by default: being American, social class, race, sex, etc.

All these groups have the potential to go bad - sports teams fight (along with the fans in the stadium), clubs become overly exclusive, politics become corrupt and even families can become part of a mafia style organization. Some groups just start bad – young poor youth often turn to criminal gangs. Extremist clubs, political and religious groups start to believe that not only are they the only “right”, but everyone else should not exist.

Extremist are not limited to Muslims (we are not immune to this, you do not have to look hard to find many example in America – many non Muslim) – but they are getting the most press now-a-days and, admittedly, are very dangerous. There is not a time is history where a group was not attempting to conduct genocide to the rest of the world. The current attempt by the extreme Muslims is quite tame (for now) when looking back on the history of civilization. In recent history, we as a human race have become really good at killing each other:

Genocides and other mass murders killed more people in just the twentieth century than all the wars combined: 1.5 million Armenians. 3 million Ukrainians. 6 million Jews. 250,000 Gypsies. 6 million Slavs. 25 million Russians. 25 million Chinese. 1 million Ibos. 1.5 million Bengalis. 200,000 Guatemalans. 1.7 million Cambodians. 500,000 Indonesians. 200,000 East Timorese. 250,000 Burundians. 500,000 Ugandans. 2 million Sudanese. 800,000 Rwandans. 2 million North Koreans. 10,000 Kosovars. Try to get your head around those numbers…

The world’s response was denial in the beginning of each of these situations. “Never again” has turned into “again and again.” Again and again, the response to genocide has been too little and too late. Genocidal massacres are systematic and the warning signs are as compelling as the warnings of a hurricane.

I admit, there are other places in the world where the current genocide problem is worse, but the Middle East area has the potential to be much, much worse than the world has ever seen (that is saying a lot).

There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world; they represent about 22% of the world's population and Islam is growing about 2.9% per year. This is faster than the total world population, which increases about 2.3% annually. It is thus, attracting a progressively larger percentage of the world's population. About 10-15 percent of these Muslims support extremism. (I recommend reading this paragraph again)

I agree that killing all the extremist is not the answer, but some of these groups are readying weapons of mass destruction and have no problem killing you (and killing themselves in the process – that is hard to stop)…. The answer: is taking out the radical leadership (who do not kill themselves to kill you – but have no problem sending their children in suicide missions) and emplacing a secure democracy; with checks and balances in the system. We have to go to the problem – not wait for it to come to us.

The tipping point can go one way or the other… like it or not, America is the only country with the ability and desire to do something. Do not lose the desire to finish this mission… not just in Iraq, but wherever it takes us. It is not easy, but it is worth it. What are you doing to help? What do you support?

With so many people protesting the war, how many are making recommendations on the bigger issue. Do you honestly think we can pull all the troops home, become isolates, and we will be left alone? The World Trade center was attacked (twice), two embassies and the USS Cole were attacked without provocation before our deployments… many more attacks were planned, some attempted. Americans have been targeted to be wiped off the face of the earth… you have two choices, stand up and fight, or sit back and hope the problem goes away. Which one do you think will work?


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