Apparently the task of getting liberals worked up into a lather against ISIS has been farmed out to Secretary of State John Kerry. I guess it’s a good sign that the Administration thinks the Left needs to wake up to the ISIS threat, but it’s strange that they would need this much hand-holding. The genocide, beheadings, and efforts to build a global guild of throat-cutters weren’t enough?
Here’s today’s installment, hot off the Twitter griddle:
Kerry says of ISIL, “it’s time to put an an end to a group so extreme it bans math and social studies for children.”
??? Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 19, 2014
Those bastards. We might be able to get over the crucifixions, mass graves, and posing for photos with severed heads, but we draw the line at messing with math and social studies classes! Has anyone given any thought to paralyzing ISIS by dropping Common Core math on them?
This put me in mind of SecState Kerry’s encounter with Code Pink the other day. The last whacked-out remnant of the old “anti-war” movement – give them some credit for consistency, since their Bush-era comrades-in-disarm suddenly decided unilateral warfare is super awesome when Barack Obama does it – barged into a congressional hearing and interrupted Kerry’s testimony. Kerry addressed the protesters thus:
???I respect the right of Code Pink to protest and to use that right,??? he said. ???But you know what, I also know something about Code Pink. Code Pink was started by a woman, and women, who were opposed to war but who also thought that the government???s job was to take care of people. And to give them health care and education and good jobs.???
???And if that???s what you believe in ??? and I believe it is ??? then you ought to care about fighting ISIL,??? Kerry continued. ???Because ISIL is killing and raping and mutilating women. They believe women shouldn???t have an education. They sell off girls to be sex slaves to jihadists. . . . And they???re not offering anyone health care of any kind. They???re not offering anyone education of any kind.???
???Frankly, Code Pink and a lot of other people need to stop and think about how you stop them and deal with that,??? the secretary of state concluded.
(Transcript and video courtesy of National Review.)
He almost seems… animated here, doesn’t he? So much less wooden than he used to be. He’s come so far since the days when all he could say was, “I AM KERRY.”
Everything Kerry says about ISIS’ brutal treatment of women is true… which makes it disturbing that they’ve had so much success recruiting women into their ranks, from young Shannon Conley of Coloardo – picked up by the feds while trying to board a plane to Jihadistan – to the cheerleader-cute Austrian teens who became burqa-clad harpies and went to work recruiting other teenagers for the caliphate, to the British women running the ISIS rape camps. Conventional wisdom about the social and political inclinations of women would seem to have failed in these cases.
It’s also interesting that feminism as a movement – not just the Code Pink loons, but the entire massive apparatus of mainstream feminism – has have very little to say about the mistreatment of women by ISIS, or the Taliban, or Iran. The people who think refusing to pay for someone else’s birth control constitutes a “War on Women” don’t spare much of their energy for denouncing the hideous treatment of women by these regimes. Perhaps they don’t see any profit in talking about it, since they’re focused on expending an increasing amount of political energy to compel enlightened societies to make marginal concessions to the feminist agenda, based on loud assertions and rather dodgy statistics. Convincing American women they’re earning 77 cents on the dollar because of institutional sexism takes a lot of work. Who’s got time left over to denounce female genital mutilation?
But it shouldn’t take an identity-politics appeal to persuade any civilized human being that ISIS is villainous. There’s something so off-kilter, and yet depressingly common, about the presumption that identity groups speak their own issues language, and can only be made to take a problem seriously by tailoring it to their world-view. A feminist anti-war group is yelling at you? Don’t waste time discussing ISIS crimes against humanity, the damage they’ve done to regional stability, or the national security threat they pose to America. You’ve got to talk about how rotten they are to women, or you’re going to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to the feminist protesters.
And dinging them because they don’t offer “health care of any kind” or “education of any kind?” (Actually, I suspect they offer all sorts of “education” in the Islamic State. In fact, I know it for certain, because their training centers were early targets when retaliation began against them.) I couldn’t help thinking of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and her infamous declaration, post-9/11, that Osama bin Laden had spent the previous decades “building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful, he’s made their lives better.”
Since bin Laden had popular support, Murray naturally assumed he had been doing those things, or else why would anyone be willing to hide him? Likewise, John Kerry felt obliged to cite the lack of jihadi health and dental plans, and top-quality public education, as evidence of how rotten they are. To my ear, this comically undersells the problems with the Islamic State, or at best sounds like piling on: not only do they commit unspeakable atrocities, but they’re also bad dancers, and just try getting a decent Netflix feed in Mosul since they took over. I guess if it works and gets the Left on board with combating the threat, it’s working, but it’s kind of sad anyone would think it necessary.