RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON JORDAN’S KILL-EM-ALL APPROACH TO ISIS:
There are no more knockouts in international relations; just a bare-knuckle eye-gouging brawl that go on for 100 rounds, with the man behind on points revived by speed and dextrose so that he can answer the bell. This is the humanitarianized conflict of today.
In the process, however, the stop-and-go fighting preferred by the elites builds up a huge head of primal hatred, which like a pustule that cannot be lanced creates an unreasoning yet understandable desire for revenge. This is what we see in Jordan’s threat. The balm of hashtags and candles finally fails lose their potency only to be replaced an almost desperate desire to end the conflict, whatever the cost, however great the brutality. The idea of an eternal stalemate, so beloved by lawyers, becomes unbearable to the public until it unleashes an unstoppable monster that neither lawyers nor journalists can control.
However illegal it may be to shoot the ISIS prisoners there will be a lot of cheering among the great unwashed if Amman executes the whole kit and caboodle. There is a point when people are finally all out of sympathy for Mughniyah and his human rights. It is when populations become tired of the lawyers that the real danger begins. The question is: how far are we from not giving a damn?
I think concerns about human rights and international law are cultural imperialism. ISIS’s behavior, and the Jordanian response, reflect the culture of the Arab world. It would be as insensitive of us to impose a western culture of lawyers and human rights on the region — or even to employ one there ourselves — as it would be to serve bacon at a mosque. Because no culture is any better than any other, and who are we to say that killing everyone in an enemy held city and building a pyramid of skulls outside is wrong — for them, or for that matter, for us?
Of course, on a smaller scale, if we don’t want to reach the point at which people are “tired of lawyers,” it behooves the lawyers to be less tiresome, and bossy.