Must stop calls by Trump and Cruz for wrong-headed barbaric answer to Islamic Extremism

This morning Islamic Extremists attacked Brussels, with suicide bomb attacks at the Brussels International Airport and in a Subway station near the European Union HQ.  This is the latest in a series of attacks on targets in The West, and is probably not the last.  It followed the attacks in Paris which occurred just before the Paris Climate Summit, and immediately followed the capture of Salah Abdesalem who was heavily involved in planning the Paris attack.  The attackers were all born in France of Belgium, but were of Islamic descent and lived within Islamic enclaves within cities like Paris or Brussels.  Hence, we’re not talking about imported terrorists, but home-grown terrorists, which is an important distinction in something I’m about to discuss.

The immediate response on the US Presidential Campaign Trail has been for Republican candidates to call for a crackdown on Islamic people.  The Donald called for waterboarding and harsh, medieval-like, treatment of the people involved.  His attitude seems to be that you meet barbarism with more barbarism – he probably doesn’t understand that “violence piled upon violence only begets more violence”, an idea that keeps returning to my mind since September 2001.

Ted Cruz said this:

Today radical Islamic terrorists targeted the men and women of Brussels as they went to work on a spring morning. In a series of coordinated attacks they murdered and maimed dozens of innocent commuters at subway stations and travelers at the airport. For the terrorists, the identities of the victims were irrelevant. They –we—are all part of an intolerable culture that they have vowed to destroy. For years, the west has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods.

We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here. We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized. We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we are are at an end.

The problem with this is that it is utterly wrong, both on the facts and on the tone of response which is required by this situation.

Why is it utterly wrong?  It’s not that “the terrorists” (I prefer the phrase Islamic Extremists) are have “vowed to destroy” our “intolerable culture” because it is intolerable.  The fight is on because of a different thing.  Our collective addiction to fossil fuels has caused a multi-decade effort by The West to subvert The Middle East and any other country unfortunate enough to have crude oil resources.

The West invented the crude oil powered machines now around us, that have propelled our technological marvels to unbelievable heights.  For example, the ability to freely travel the world whether for work, pleasure, or warmaking, is because of crude oil.   But, despite inventing these machines The West did not have much supply of crude oil.  The fate of history is that the primary crude oil resources are in the Middle East – the Persian Gulf must have had a rich abundance of sea creatures for millions of years to build up such a rich crude oil reservoir – while the primary users of crude oil are in The West.

What The Donald and The Ted propose is outright illegal and unconstitutional and immoral and frightening all at the same time.  Their rhetoric directly inflames the situation in the Middle East, and does nothing to solve anything about this situation.

My solution is to abandon crude oil consumption as quickly as possible.  The technology for renewable energy is finally inexpensive enough, reliable enough, etc, that over the next few decades we can build out a system of renewable energy.  Wind and Sun resources are spread evenly around the planet, and therefore we would no longer have to fight wars over control of pools of limited resources made from the bodies of animals who died millions of years ago.

The influx of migrants Ted Cruz talks about were a side effect of the war-making to control Middle East fossil fuel supplies, both crude oil and natural gas.

The Islamic Extremists who are angry at The West grew angry in part because of what we’ve done to the Middle East for the last 60-70-or-more years.  It’s also true that there is home-grown Islamic Extremism, the Sunni-Shia divide has been fought for 1500+ years.  It’s also true that many suggestions by American politicians would amplify the Sunni-Shia problem.

Shredding the U.S. Constitution (Ted Cruz is a Constitutional Lawyer, who is qualified to argue cases before the Supreme Court) is not the answer.  Preserving our identity as the U.S.A. and everything for which it stands has to be a major part of the answer.

We need to be the country we pretend to be.  We need to be technological leaders of the world, leading us all to an age of clean renewable energy.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.
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About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

One Comment

  1. David,

    In the simplest and most useful way to look at this, everyone is generally right.

    Islam has three internecine battles raging: 1. Shiites v. Sunnis; 2. fundamentalists v modernists; 3. haves v havenots. The first battle has literally been raging since the day Mohammed died; the second battle has been growing fiercely over the past couple of generations; and the third battle is a constant in every top-down society such as are found in the Islamic world. The frustrations and manifestations of these battles result in attacks on the West,

    The West is obligated to defend itself. That defense is, tactically, going to result in some use of military force. But, it would be wrong for the West to think that the battle is primarily about it, because it is critical to recognize that the battle is not primarily about the West. It is useless, wasteful, and distracting for the West to be heavily engaged.

    Therefore, from a strategic perspective, the single best thing for the West to do is let the battle rage inward where it belongs, and to starve the combatants of money and arms and motivation so that the battles are quieter. And in this you are absolutely correct, for these reasons — as well as equally important environmental and economic reasons — the single best thing the West can do is to stop buying oil and produce its own domestic renewable energy. And ultimately, in blood, money, and progress, domestic renewable energy is the most efficient approach to the ills of not only the Islamic world, but also the ills of the West.

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