Letter to the Editor: Idealism vs. Idealism

Idealism vs. Idealism

By KHALIL SPENCER
Los Alamos

Interesting contrast in idealism.

For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline From Minnesota to Militancy http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/for-Jihad-recruits-a-pipeline-from-Minnesota-to-militancy.html

Los Alamos Native Seeks Help For His International Battalion http://www.ladailypost.com/content/los-alamos-native-seeks-help-his-international-battalion

In one case, Minnesota youths become radicalized Islamists and join an international assortment of young men fighting for ISIS; later two die in service of their “ideals.” In another case, a young man from Los Alamos joins an international assortment of volunteers who have formed a brigade as part of the Israeli Defense Force as they head off to fight in that cauldron of violence, injustice, and evenly matched political pig-headedness, Gaza. Seems to me the last thing the Middle East needs is more young idealists heading over there to kill each other. Maslow’s Hammer, you know.

I’m sure no one in the FBI or State Dept. will object too strongly if we send money to Jonathan Miller, but I would check with the Feds before I wrote a check. Try writing a check to those Minnesota boys who joined ISIS and see how fast Uncle Sam’s black SUVs will be pulling up to your door.

There is certainly no equivalence between ISIS and Israel, but there is an equivalence of young men overwhelmed with idealism, following their bliss, and taking up arms for what they consider a just cause–and killing other people. We just don’t know except in retrospect if the cause is really just. Many kids came back from Vietnam pretty jaded. Or for that matter, from more recent conflicts. Heck, there was a time in my life when I lustily cheered on the IDF, my first name notwithstanding. I’m a little more detached these days. That’s what age and history does to you.

It seems to me that if American kids want to join the army, it ought to be ours. Or, become a citizen of another country. Abraham Lincoln Brigade notwithstanding.

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