War for Extremism

Most of you probably know that the “global war on terror” is also called the “global war on extremism.” In addition, Condoleeza Rice mentioned in her talks in Lebanon not long ago that she was seeking a way to ensure that the Lebanese could “defend themselves against extremism.” This makes me wonder… what’s so wrong with extremism?

In general, I do not consider myself an “extreme” person. I take the Scriptures and common sayings about “moderation in all things” to heart. I recognize, however, that I believe many things that are considered extreme. I believe in a God, and that my God is the only God and the only path to salvation. I believe many conservative things about how we should behave, and try to live by them. I believe that there is Good and Evil, and an absolute source of these axioms. I would die for my God. These beliefs used to be commonplace in our country, but now they are considered Extreme: more so even than the “X-games” and reality-TV, and right up there with mass murder, genocide, and the world’s new favorite enemy, “terrorism.”

Now, I can recognize a good catch phrase when I see one. The “War on Terror” clearly existed to make people get behind the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it had a reasonably defined (if broad) target: terrorists, specifically terrorists who strike at the US, and even more specifically Muslim terrorists who strike at the US. However, the public lost interest in hating terrorists, so in an effort to make the war even more “appealing” to the public, our country now wages the Global War on Extremism. This concerns me, somewhat.

If “terror” is a broad target for a war, “extremism” is even more so, and dangerously so. Now the war could feasibly target any group of extremists. Ms. Rice herself insinuated that the Israeli government are extremists threatening the well being of Lebanese citizens, expanding the “extreme” category to include not just non-Muslims, but non-terrorists, and in fact a sovreign nation commonly recognized as an ally of the more “civilized” countries in the UN. Now, most people would probably laugh at the idea of Israel becoming a military target of the US, but if they can be classified as “extremists,” what’s to keep them from being enough of an annoyance that they become a target of our War on Extremism? And, going further down that road, what’s to stop groups of people who act “outside of the nation’s best interest” in the US from becoming targets? Who decides what’s extreme enough to be a target in our war? How long is it until “fundamentalist Christians” who believe in terrible things like monogamy and monotheism become targets?

And really, what’s so wrong with extremism, anyways?

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2 Responses to War for Extremism

  1. observer_wanderer says:

    This is what’s wrong with extremism: when US federal administration toes the line with tyranny and being as “extreme” as those governments it refers to as “terrorist” and “evil”…

    What’s to stop people in the US from becoming targets?? It’s already happened! US-born and US-residing citizens have been held for 2, 3, 4 years in solitary, sensory-deprivation confinement under conditions that qualify as torture — WITHOUT access to a lawyer and WITHOUT being charged with any crime! I’m thinking in particular of Jose Padilla, but there have been other cases too involving US citizens (google, or look up the Human Rights Watch site for some). Regardless of their *alleged* actions, these people are under the protection of their nation’s constitution. The government is stretching its power way too far in arbitrarily labeling as “enemy combatant” anyone who looks at it funny. That seems like “extreme” to me…

  2. Toad says:

    In effect, that’s exactly what I’m talking about: the government is applying broader and broader definitions to categorize its “foes”. The “extremists” I’m talking about are extremists of the modern definition: people who believe that they are right about something and that someone else is wrong. People like fundamentalist Muslims. People like conservation Christians. People I know. How long until our government’s clearly fault definition of “foe” expands to include any “extremist”? How long until conservative Christians are labeled “enemies of the state” as quickly as fundamentalist Muslims are now?

    The true Enemy is working hard to see that goal realized, and he’s even got “Christians” like Shirley Phelps-Roper on his side, actively villifying Christians in the public light. The question I’m asking is: how long until America is completely his?

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