BrainBust Articles

Blake Schreiber

Us Versus Them

Blake Schreiber

Apr 14 2016

 

When I got to work on Tuesday morning, the news was already all over the terrorist attack in Brussels,

 

 Belgium. Social Media was on fire, the numerous talking heads of various networks were spinning their

 

 opinions, but most of all, the world mourned. Not for the first time, a group of cowards attacked a soft civilian

 

 target full of nothing but ordinary people like me, people who were just continuing on with their lives. ISIS

 

 later came out claiming responsibility for their attacks, promptly calling on arm-chair quarterbacks from

 

 around the United States to come out in force calling for some sort of increased action against them, as per

 

 usual, just the typical day in America for the most part. Then, three days later, ISIS bombed a soccer game in

 

 Iraq. This time, there was no vast outcry against the extremist group, no calls for blood. If anything, the most

 

 I saw was “let them take each other out”, and other less pleasant things being said.

 

 

It’s far too common these days in our country: A Western nation gets attacked, and Conservatives start

 

 flexing their muscles. But when Ankara, Turkey was bombed, they joke about it, not caring and sometimes

 

 even applauding the fact that “the Muslims are taking themselves out”. There were eleven attacks committed

 

 by ISIS in March alone, but the only one that garnered a significant reaction from American Media was the

 

 Brussels attack, the only attack to take place in a non-Muslim-majority country.  We’ve come to instill this

 

 Us-Versus-Them mentality, but the problem is that it’s being used divisively.  Instead of being “those against

 

 terrorists/extremists” vs “terrorists/extremists”, it’s become “not Muslim” versus Muslim, or not even care

 

 about it at all because it’s not in a first world European country. This is the kind of environment these

 

 extremist groups thrive in, because their opposition can’t put down their differences to

 

 fight against a common enemy, and would rather just fight against each other.

 

 

In the Marine Corps (and it goes for the other branches as well), we were taught that all of us, regardless of

 

 Race, Creed, Religion, or any other unimportant factor, were a team, fighting for the same goals against a

 

 common enemy, an enemy that also didn’t care about any of that. They wanted us all dead equally. But our

 

 cohesion, our willingness to fight alongside others so different from ourselves, helped us achieve the mission

 

 we were sent there to accomplish. In World War II, we fought alongside the Soviet Union to stop Nazi

 

 Germany. America and the Soviet Union didn’t ever exactly get along, but still fought for a common goal

 

 against a common enemy. The concept is nothing new, and if America can set aside its differences with an

 

 entire country to fight for what’s right, then we as American Citizens, both left and right leaning, can do it.

 

 But for some reason, we aren’t. Every week I read about Christians being killed in the Middle East by ISIS on

 

 right-wing websites like Young Conservatives, but far less often do they post about Muslims or Yezidis or

 

 any other religion that these extremists are targeting in their mission to gain complete control of the area,

 

 but these groups keep reiterating that it’s the Christians in danger. They’re all in danger, because ISIS

 

 doesn’t care who it kills on its way to achieve complete control of the area.

 

 

Further perpetuating the divisive state of opinion on ISIS, and what we should do about the situation in the

 

 Middle East, are the current Republican and Democrat primaries for the upcoming Presidential Election. The

 

 current prospects for the two major parties, and their respective schools of thought, refuse to compromise.

 

 On the Right we’ve got individuals such as Cruz and Trump, both running for President, who’ve said they

 

 would “carpet bomb ISIS” and “attack their families,” as well as blocking all Muslim immigrants.

 

 Carpet bombing is a relic of wars where advanced guided ordinance had yet to be developed, and killing

 

 non-combatants, regardless of their affiliation with the enemy, is strictly against the law of war. Also, you

 

 can’t just tell 1.6 billion people they can’t come to the United States. You can’t tell a family in Indonesia that

 

 they can’t come to America because of their religion. On the left, President Obama and Hillary Clinton want

 

 to take in a vast amount of refugees, despite no efficient way to make sure they aren’t a terrorist threat.

 

 We cannot afford to just take in tens of thousands of individuals whom we cannot properly make sure aren’t

 

 a threat to American Citizens. This does not mean we shouldn’t fight ISIS, or that we shouldn’t help families

 

 that have been devastated by the war in Syria, but there are ways we can do so without endangering

 

 ourselves or becoming the monsters we seek to destroy.

 

 

America has used compromise since its beginning. The Constitution and Bill of Rights weren’t just something

 

 that everyone agreed on right away; Hamilton and Jefferson argued relentlessly about what role the

 

 Government should take and what powers it should have. Every patrol I went on in Afghanistan was a

 

 compromise. We either walked through cotton fields that had 200% humidity in them, or walked in the canals

 

 that Afghanis relieved themselves in, or we took the open route and risked being hit by IEDs, Gunfire, RPGs,

 

 or any combination of the three. But we figured it out, and made the best decision we could at any given time.

 

 Now, I see people who refuse to make any sort of compromise; its endless squabbling rooted in cognitive bias,

 

 referencing anything that supports their argument but refusing to acknowledge events that don’t. Americans

 

 are treating each other like the enemy, when there is a clear physical threat in the world to our security and

 

 wellbeing. In order to come up with a strategically sound plan of action against ISIS that doesn’t result in

 

 nothing more than another power vacuum in the area, we must put aside our relentless bickering and strive

 

 for honest compromise.

 

 

 

 

©Brainbust Media Group, LLC 2016