If I were an ISIS recruiter — I’d tell everyone in Iraq and Syria that the U.S. government is the enemy of Islam everywhere in the world, and has bombed Muslim countries and interfered in Islamic governments everywhere they exist.
I’d point out that the U.S. government is bombing Muslims in Yemen and drone-killing Muslims in Pakistan. I'd tell them that U.S. commandos have killed Muslims in Somalia, and that the U.S. government is is bombing and drone-killing Muslims in Syria. I’d underscore that none of these four countries had ever attacked the United States, or American citizens, before the U.S. government began its attacks.
I’d allude to the fact that the U.S. government has also bombed Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq and interfered in their policies for three decades, including some 15 years before the September 11 attacks.
I’d argue that it is the patriotic duty of native-born Syrians and Iraqis to join ISIS and fight off the foreign invaders, who have attacked Muslims without provocation. I’d point out that even before the U.S. government bombardment against Syria and Iraq began, ISIS had not killed even one American. I’d also point out ISIS has killed only two Americans since the U.S. bombardment started, and that at least one of those two had a profile of a CIA spy.
I’d argue it was the religious duty of all Muslims to join ISIS and fight off the greatest enemy of Islam in the world today. I’d remind them that the U.S. government has a long history of toppling freely elected governments in the Islamic world, going back to the Mossadegh government in Iran that was toppled in a 1953 CIA-backed coup. I’d claim that the U.S. government installed the CIA-trained General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to depose the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. I’d explain that the U.S. government keeps control of Islamic governments by buying off the governments of Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia with massive foreign aid and arms sales. I’d point out that the United States maintains military bases in the Islamic holy land of Saudi Arabia, even though it has no land or property within 6,000 miles of those bases and has no vital national security interests in the region.
I’d note that the U.S. government has incarcerated innocent Muslims in Guantanamo without trial or due process — even people that the U.S. government has for years openly admitted are innocent. I’d stress that the U.S. government has tortured only Muslims — never Christians or Jews — at Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and other secret prisons. And I’d cite the fact that the U.S. government has admitted that at least a quarter of those tortured were non-combatants and had never been enemies of the United States.
I’d point out that U.S. leaders (such as former Vice President Dick Cheney) who carried out the torture of innocents have such a low opinion of Muslims’ lives that on national television they continue to applaud their decisions to torture hundreds of innocents.
If I were an ISIS recruiter, I’d realize I have nothing to offer the people of Iraq and Syria in the way of positive contributions to their society. So I’d need help to get recruits. But I’d be glad the U.S. government is doing every single thing it can possibly do to promote more interest in the cause of radical Islam in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) — and I’d hope they keep doing more of exactly what they are doing.
If I were an ISIS recruiter, I’d also want the mass media to keep doing the same thing it’s doing by keeping the American people ignorant of how I get new recruits by associating my ISIS cause with patriotism and religion. The last thing I would want is for the American people to demand a change in policy.
And there would be a way to prevent that change in policy. I would want the media to continue to give the American people no reason to think of Muslims as equals and fellow human beings who love their country, especially when it’s attacked by foreigners. I wouldn’t want them to understand that people in Middle Eastern countries rally around their country when it’s attacked by foreigners just as much as Americans rallied around their flag after the 9/11 attacks. Thus, I’d want the media to keep deploying the uninformative word “extremist” and other non-descriptive pejoratives to describe ISIS to the American people, and to co-mingle my organization, ISIS, with that of all Muslims in the minds of as many Americans as possible.
But I’m not an ISIS recruiter — and I have to wonder why the U.S. government has oriented its foreign policy to maximize the radicalization of Islamic forces and to associate all patriotic and religious sentiment toward that end. And I also have to wonder why the mass media is complicit in this policy.