Wednesday, September 17, 2014


First Issue Cracked (cover art, Bill Everett)
Saying that there would have been no ISIS if the US hadn’t invaded Iraq is little like claiming that Ray Rice wouldn’t have gotten into his current difficulties if he and his wife hadn’t taken the elevator or gone to Atlantic City. The Saddam Hussein regime was tantamount in brutality to Bashar al-Assad’s in Syria and if the US had never intervened it might well have run into problems soon after Arab spring with another revolutionary force that the dialectics of history produced. The opposition might have been Shiite rather than Sunni but Newton’s Third Law, “every action creates an equal and opposite reaction,” is as applicable to politics as it is to science. The fodder for despots and terrorists is chaos and hopelessness and there's enough of that in the Mideast without the United States having to raise a finger in the name of oil or democracy or both. This isn’t the first time in history that we've seen social cohesion and purpose coming out of violence. The rise of fascism in Germany can almost directly be tied to the onerous effects of the Versailles Treaty—which crippled the German economy. Marx said “ the opiate of the masses" and Raymond Aron famously titled his critique of Marxism as The Opium of the Intellectuals. But the fact is that the history of the civilization records the search for varying kinds of anodynes for despair. Some are benign delusions such as the notion there is a meaning and purpose in the universe. But some addictive substances and beliefs can turn people into monsters, as the Grand Inquisitor chapter of The Brothers Karamazov demonstrates. Terrorism is civilization’s crack.

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