February 17, 2015

I would like to explain to Chris Matthews that if we waged war every time there was moral humiliation, we would likely be walking around with AK-47s knocking off NRA loons at every turn after the Sandy Hook massacre.

If ever there were a case to fight against moral humiliation, it would be the slaughter of 20 innocents at the hands of a survivalist with mental illness who somehow managed to get an AR-15 and a lot of ammunition into his hands. Instead, we couldn't even manage to pass a mild gun safety law for background checks.

With that context, Tweety's rant about ISIS and their recent slaughter of Christians rings hollow and immature. Here's what he said:

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the news. Like many of you, I live in conflict over this horror for the mideast. These 21 beheadings of coptic Christians is an ancient horror that’s been carried out before our eyes purposely so. Why else is the indecency so well video taped? So well produced to hit every screen in our state of the art possession. They’re using people other there, the death of people, to demonstrate their devotion, their ruthlessness, their power.

They’re killing people in the most disrespectful way so they can be seen doing it by the people they want to recruit. By the people they want to kill. They want to stir up recruitment by showing their willingness to go all of the way to stir up anger by doing what the hell they decide to do to the people they are committed to destroy: other religions, other countries, other Muslims.

What can we do? Can we do nothing? Can we just look at the pictures, ask what’s for supper? What’s on TV tonight? What’s the weather like tomorrow morning and go on with our lives warding off the knowledge that these people are being killed in demonstration against us. How about this: can we content ourselves by doing something that we know right now will not be enough to stop this horror.

I know, we all know we need a plan. We need a root that takes us to destroy ISIS because the alternative is too sick, too un-American, too un-human. We can’t see people killed like this in our face and simply flip to the sports page or the financial news or what’s at the movies or who’s going to win the Oscars and act like America, our country, is not being morally humiliated, because it is, with the lives of at least some of these people, who must, in their last minutes, have to be wondering if there’s any chance the people in the United States could be coming to their rescue because that’s how we were taught that we conduct ourselves. We don’t leave people behind.

Moral humiliation. Let me see if I understand that in the frame Tweety placed it in. Because America is not running to the rescue of people -- including our own people -- who understood that they were placing themselves in danger and that they could not rely on United States protection to guarantee their safety, we are suffering moral humiliation. Perhaps we should feel some moral humility, given that it was amoral hubris which was the genesis of the current humiliation being inflicted upon us.

Where does that moral humiliation factor into our domestic policies? Is there moral humiliation when conservatives argue that Americans should die rather than have access to basic health care? Is there moral humiliation when we let Wall Street run roughshod over everyone, or when we allow billionaires to buy "political speech" at the expense of our political integrity?

You bet there is, but I'm not hearing Tweety call for war declarations over that.

Why don't we start asking some serious questions about our media's addiction to war? Perhaps we should reject the cowboy vigilante approach to foreign policy and give diplomacy a chance. Or better yet, allow the regional forces in the area to deal with the problem.

I would like Tweety to prioritize. His outrage shouldn't be over the fact that ISIS' social media producers are a bunch of psychopaths who know how to run social media campaigns. It should be genuinely directed toward those who argue for repeating the very same mistakes we made that spawned ISIS and the extremists in that region in the first place.

If Matthews still needs a plan, here's mine: Give diplomacy a chance and deal with the moral humiliation in your own back yard.

Can you help us out?

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