05 February 2015

American ignorance

Every so often something gobsmacks me with a reminder of how staggeringly ignorant many Americans are of what is going on in the vast world beyond the borders of our country.  The comments on this post at RedState, on Jordan's execution of ISIS-linked terrorists in retaliation for the ghastly murder of pilot Mu'âdh al-Kassâsbah, furnished such a reminder.  A sampling:

Finally, a predominantly Muslim country stands up to ISIS on their own instead of waiting for the United States to do it for them.

ISIS has made their bold statement to the Arab world......... existential threat. Now let's see the Arab world response? Cower in fear and wait for death, or fight back boldly with our help?

This ISIS barbaric act is sorta a good thing in that it should be wake up call for the Arab world to stop being complacent, pretending that this is America's problem to solve. Commit massive ground soldiers of Arab composition and we would give you air cover and intel...nothing more!

It is time the Arab states came to that realization and set out to destroy ISIS. For the last 13 years the United States has spent blood and treasure in the Arab world with little appreciation shown for the United States efforts. It is time for the Arab states to realize ISIS is out to destroy them and any other country that gets in their way. I agree with gunner, arm them, give them air cover, but its time for the Arab states to realize this is a fight for their survival.

Possibly this is a turning point where the Arab states come to the realization that this is their war to fight. The US can support them with arms, advisers and air support, at the end of the day the Arab states will have to come to the realization that they have to supply the boots on the ground to eradicate ISIS.

To these commenters, Jordan's hanging of a couple of convicted terrorists obviously looked like an unprecedented tough Muslim response to ISIS, a startling contrast to whatever they thought Muslims have been doing about ISIS so far (presumably, nothing).

Not one commenter on the post seemed to know that for months, it's been Kurdish and Arab soldiers who have been fighting the main, dangerous, bloody, boots-on-the-ground war against ISIS, taking and inflicting thousands of casualties, with US and other Western forces being relative late-comers to the fight and playing a supporting role (though an important one) with airstrikes, while another Muslim state (Iran) has played a similarly important supporting role on the ground.  Comments like those above are staggeringly divorced from reality.

It's not as if they were ignorant of the details of a war raging in central Africa or Burma or some such place we have nothing to do with.  US air power has been engaged in the war against ISIS for some time now, yet these people are utterly unaware of the main war effort our aircraft are supporting.  It doesn't even make any logical sense.  Why would a Jordanian pilot have been flying missions against ISIS in the first place (and thus gotten shot down) were it not for the fact that his country was already strongly committed to the fight?

I wish I could say that this is exclusively a right-wing problem, but even some liberal bloggers sometimes seem to know little about what's happening in the Middle East beyond clichés and a few tidbits they pluck out of context to score points in the arena of US domestic politics.  There's really no excuse.  Even if your regular news sources are too busy reporting Justin Bieber's latest antics or Rand Paul's moronic views on vaccination to observe that the Arabs have in fact noticed the giant war raging in the middle of two major Arab countries and are even doing something about it, Al-Jazeera or the Guardian are just a mouse-click away.  You're citizens of the most powerful nation on the planet, for crying out loud.  The leaders you vote for make decisions affecting the lives of millions elsewhere.  At least make some effort to educate yourself about what's going on.


Blogger Jono said...

Being owned by entertainment companies tends to turn the news into promotions,and strong editorial opinion tends to skew the facts beyond recognition. Al-Jazeera and various British news sources have helped me a lot when trying to find out what is really going on.

06 February, 2015 08:24  
Blogger Tommykey said...

One of my friends from high school posted on Facebook "Why aren't we doing anything about ISIS?"

I was like "Are you kidding me?" and posted links to articles about how our airstrikes helped the Kurds liberate Kobane and the Mosul Dam, killed the ISIS governor of Mosul and took out some weapons specialist.

Some people seem to think that it should all play out like some Chuck Norris movie wherein the goods guys are able to go in and kill all the bad gays in a day or two without incurring any casualties.

06 February, 2015 09:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jono: Yes, Al-Jazeera is surprisingly good, and not only about the Middle East. Britain has more than its share of trashy tabloid websites, but it also has quality ones like The Guardian.

TommyKey: It's bizarre. I can't even imagine living with that degree of disconnection and disinterest in what's going on in the world. That person probably doesn't vote, either, but that may not be a bad thing.

06 February, 2015 16:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would only make sense that Al-Jazeera would have the most accurate info about their own region

06 February, 2015 20:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, it's not only that. Their coverage of Europe and Africa is quite good too. And some "news" agencies are just propaganda organs. I wouldn't trust RT for straight reporting even about Russia. Especially about Russia.

07 February, 2015 04:26  

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