It was good to see Chris Matthews put on someone with common sense today to counter his rant yesterday about "moral humiliation" and why we should wage war to keep ourselves from suffering from it.
Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State, patiently explained to Chris that war will not solve the problem, nor will it eliminate ISIS. She pointed out that in places like Libya where there is no governance and no opportunity, groups like this grow in fertile soil.
In response to Matthews' incredibly banal question about whether "we're killing enough of them," Harf said, "We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians."
She continued, "But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs..."
Chris Matthews wasn't having it. He basically pooh-poohed the notion that poverty and want was a root cause for extremism of the sort ISIS hands out.
Harf once again pointed out that we need to dig at the root causes that "cause 17-year old kids to pick up an AK-47 instead of starting a business."
If you listen carefully, you can still hear heads exploding all over the Internet. At The Right Scoop, the verdict was in.
But that’s not the problem. It’s Islam. Jihadism is Islam and to hear this administration spouting this ‘we can’t win this war by killing them’ nonsense just reveals why we will never be successful at winning this war.
Killing the Islamo-Nazis is the only way to bring peace to the Middle East and to the greater world. And until this administration and the rest of the world gets it, Islamo-Nazis will keep slaughtering the innocent and keep recruiting like wildfire.
A new term, intended to inflame! Imagine if someone were to call extremists here Christian Nazis. I wouldn't do it, because it's not applicable, any more than this is.
At Red State, the problem is that we're just not killing enough of them.
Commentary Magazine just scoffs.
But Harf can’t be dismissed or ignored, because she speaks for the Obama administration. And yet it is downright tedious to have this conversation for the millionth time. Here, for example, is Charles Krauthammer explaining the root-cause fallacy–thirty years ago. Harf’s career in the American government never coincided with a time when the root-cause theory prevailed.
They should go back and study Afghanistan a little closer if they believe this. Back in the days of that flaming liberal Richard Nixon, the United States was investing heavily in economic development in that country. Things were improving. Progress was being made.
And then the Soviets invaded, and instead of letting the Afghans settle things with them properly, we gave them weapons and stated a preference for one group over another. Then we invaded, and once again promoted one group of people over others while raining destruction all over their country.
Perhaps the writer at Commentary should pay attention to history before assuming Harf doesn't know what she's talking about.
It frustrates me every day that we are so conditioned to assume that because ISIS has refined trolling to an art form and elevated the stakes with real human lives, we're supposed to leap to the ready with more guns and more killing.
Harf is right. We cannot kill our way out of this, nor should we.