Election 42: ISIS

What are people doing to keep us safe from ISIS?

Let's back the hype truck up a bit first. Why are we even concerned about ISIS?

ISIS is a few thousand religious fanatic types who have corralled the market for atrocities in the middle east. They've got guns, oil, and money. They are the very definition of small beer. They don't deserve anywhere near the amount of attention they've been getting.

ISIS's threat to Canada and Canadians might as well be zero.

Know how many Canadians were killed by terrorism last year? Even if we expand the definition of "killed by terrorism" to include those service people fighting said war against terrorism? And expand that definition to include the service people who take their own lives when they come home? Neither do I. I am, however, pretty damn sure that it is less than the thousand or so people that MADD estimates are killed by drunk drivers right here in Canada every year.  It is certainly less than the 47000 people estimated to be killed every year in Canada due to drug abuse.

Where's the War On Molson?

And don't give me any of that liberal "Duty To Protect" sanctimonious bullshit either. If we have a duty to protect those poor innocent Iraqi civilians, why are we not in Zimbabwe? Uganda? The Kongo? Somalia? Turkey to protect the Kurds? ... or Ukraine? Why are the Iraqi civilians so special that we spend our resources "protecting" them and risk the lives of our Canadian service people in a way that we don't protect others?

But, you might say, what of Terrorist Cells Here In Canada Plotting Evil Deeds? Well, that's why we have internal police services, to detect and circumvent these things. Such services have even been handed absurdly powerful powers in the form of C51 fear-mongering. And judging from the low number of people killed on Canadian soil as a result of terrorist operations, they seem to be doing a pretty good job.

This also brings up the potential constitutional problems of the military action in in the middle east. If an ISIS terrorist came to Canada and committed a terrorist act, we would catch them and put them on trial. We would probably end up keeping them in prison for a long time, if not for the rest of their lives. So instead, we have sent planes to the middle east to preemptively kill the potential terrorists, the support people for those terrorists, and any civilians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, on the off chance they might engage in terrorist activity against Canada. We are enacting a higher, wider penalty on much flimsier grounds.

The main argument against ISIS seems to be that these people want to come over here and tell us how to live, and we are resistant to that idea. Why is going over there and trying to get them to see how wrong they are at the barrel of a gun any different?

The root causes of the middle eastern issues come down to decades or centuries of western meddling in cultures that were not prepared to deal with such meddling. Continued modern meddling has not proved to fix any of the continuing problems. The west can't sweep in, knock out all the so-called "bad actors" and have democracy suddenly flourish (see Iraq, Afghanistan, et al). The people involved have to want it, and today they don't. All we do is changing the faces at the top of the various organizations.

The problem in the middle east right now is not a national security issue. It is a humanitarian issue, and that is how Canada should engage. Once the locals have come to a point where they are tired of killing each other such that they can control their hot-headed elements1, even at a empty-words level, Canada should get involved as peace keepers.

So what are people doing to keep us safe from ISIS? ISIS is not a threat. Bring our soldiers home.

1 And yes, that could take years or decades -- see also the Isreali/Arab situation in general.