“In other words, even as we stoke the Islamic State, we stoke ourselves as well. The longer we fight, the more deeply we are seized by fear. The more we fear, the more fiercely we are determined to fight. Perhaps the point is not to win the war but to remain trapped in this vicious circle, which feels perversely comforting because it offers a sense of unified national identity as nothing else can in our otherwise deeply divided nation.”
The historian Ira Chernus, who also studies conflict, has come to many of the same conclusions that I have, although he has summarized the dilemma much better than I ever could have. My fear is that we will never learn this historical lesson given that it is not as emotionally gratifying nor as easily grasped as the black and white, good vs. evil narrative that is so appealing.
Read Chernus’s trenchant piece here: History News Network | America’s Reckless War Against Evil