Every year 42,773 Americans die by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. And for every American who succeeds in killing themselves, 25 more make the attempt.
I include those numbers in light of the latest suicide bombing in Istanbul, Turkey. Despite friends and family members of those 42,773 remaining "vigilant" over the prospects of their loved ones ending their own lives....there is very little they could do to stop them.
The same dynamic applies to Turkish security officials....
Istanbul has been on a high security alert for months after three deadly attacks in the city this year blamed on Islamic State jihadis and the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a radical offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).
The fact of the matter is that Turkish security officials were on "a high security alert" and STILL the following three people were able to carry out their joint suicide plan....
Turkish officials told news agencies on Thursday that the bombers were from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan,
Maybe those three carried out their suicide mission for ISIS, maybe not. No matter, when human beings get to the point where they are willing to kill themselves in order to kill others....even "remaining vigilant" or being on high security alert does little to change the eventual outcome.
Now, I acknowledge that that is a scary proposition...but scary or not, that is the reality.
President Obama and Sec.of State John Kerry have both made public pronouncements warning that there's little that can be done if people are willing to kill themselves in order to kill others. For those honest admissions, they have been mocked by more hawkish elements who would rather kill the jihadists "at the source"...in other words, "over there."
And yet, as U.S. and allied forces have mucked around in the middle east for these past 15 years, you know, eliminating the terrorists over there....most intelligence officials tell us there are more middle easterners willing to kill themselves in order to kill westerners than ever.
Reminiscent of Dick Cheney's "working in the shadows", the GOP presidential nominee told an Ohio crowd yesterday...
"You have to fight fire with fire," Trump said of battling the Islamic State during a rally in Ohio on Tuesday. "We have to be so strong. We have to fight so viciously and violently because we're dealing with violent people."
"What do you think about waterboarding?" he asked the crowd.
"I like it a lot," he said as his supporters cheered in response. "I don't think it's tough enough."
Let's say U.S. officials "fought fire with fire" and began making snuff videos...perhaps chopping the heads off of captured jihadists....and circulating those videos far and wide, in order to prove that America will fight as "viciously and violently" as our alleged enemies. Is there anyone who believes doing that will reduce the number of suicide attacks against westerners? Would it not be the case that Trump's "fighting fire with fire" approach would end up only helping the various jihadist groups recruit more young and foolish Muslim men?
And wouldn't the fact that U.S. and allied western countries have already killed some 4 million Muslims in middle eastern countries since 1990....be enough to convince Muslims everywhere how phucking serious we are about the threat of jihadism? Wouldn't burning Muslim captives alive or chopping their heads off or drowning them be nothing more than...overkill...at this point? Sure, Americans could get their savage ya ya's out in celebration of how vicious we've become....but how, exactly, would doing so solve the problem?
Don Rumsfeld famously stated that the ridiculously-named "war on terror" would be a "long war". Remember? Do you think Rummy had prescient powers? Or, is it more likely that Rumsfeld, and his PNAC brethren, were about to launch their new agenda for the middle east....which, in essence, was all about remodeling middle eastern countries through "regime change" so that the U.S. could "project it's power throughout the region"....global dominance being the ultimate goal? Iraq has been regime changed. Also Egypt. Also Libya. Ukraine is on that list....so too, Syria...and ultimately Russia, yes, Russia.
Point being that the "long war" collateral damage from jihadism was ANTICIPATED by the neo-cons. Just the cost of doing world dominance business. President Obama gets no free pass here either. Yes, he has tried to keep the U.S. from putting combat troops into the Syrian mess....but it was his plan to regime change Gaddifi in Libya, and like W before him, without any plan for what came after. Benghazi became the collateral damage....a Libyan hellhole the outcome.
Finally, I must say that I don't see any solutions to the current jihadism problem. Suicide attacks will continue....many more innocent people will be killed in jihadist attacks. Remaining vigilant or staying on high alert, as the Ataturk Airport attack proves, will not stop future suiciders from killing themselves in order to kill others.
That stated, I do have one rather scary fear about the prospects of throwing a President Trump into the already-dangerous mix. The GOP nominee has spoken quite casually about the spread and/or use of nuclear weapons. Hyperbole? Crowd pleasing?
With the tendency of U.S. media to hystericalize each and every suicide attack which kills westerners.....and Donald Trump as CIC....I can envision a situation where a "final solution" to the jihadism problem would be on the Trump table. I mean, what could possibly communicate how strong and "vicious" America is than incinerating a few million Muslims with a couple of strategic, tactical nukes?
Anyone who dismisses that possibility.....hasn't been paying close enough attention.