In the midst of all the ISIS stuff going on, I had to release my latest literary effort. In the event any of my readers have also read any of my other novels, you might have noticed that they portray a number of different forms of governance, and highlight the flaws in each. And no, I have not worked out what will work best, and maybe nothing will because as some of the books show, what goes wrong is because some of the characters put self-interest before the greater good. That is hardly original, of course, as was the basic reason the Res Publica failed. Anyway, the latest is the theocracy.
You may ask, how could an advanced civilization have theocracy? Well, in this story the planet around Epsilon Eridani was specifically engineered (and no, there is no evidence this planet exists) and seeded with late Cretaceous life that evolved into a civilization. Think about it; in the great debate relating evolution to creation, what would you think if there were no fossils at all prior to 65 My BP? And what is the difference between an advanced alien race of engineers that can operate over several hundred million years and a God? Anyway, the odd one of them ends up deciding that it would be desirable to remove mammals (us) from the planet of creation (Earth). The question is, how can such religious fervour be averted?
After all this thinking, can I suggest anything to apply to ISIS? The best I can come up with is that some Muslims have to overturn the Wahhabi doctrine and reform Islam. That is not exactly a highly probable outcome right now. Nevertheless, I think it is important. If all you do is bomb them, you probably create more angry recruits than you remove. The problem is, you remove infrastructure and kill the innocent as well as the guilty. And here, “innocent” is taken to mean anyone not actively going out there fighting for ISIS. (As usual, it is important to define terms, particularly if you use them in a slightly different way to others.) Even if ISIS were wiped out, what remains? I have seen one estimate that the cost of rebuilding Syria, which has had half its hospitals and about two million homes obliterated, is about $300 billion! And after you leave this mess behind, all the reasons and the Wahhabi philosophy remain, and if anything, are reinforced.
One other alternative is that of Titus Flavius Vespasianus: you start at one end of the country and kill everyone that is not clearly allied. I doubt modern society is ready for that solution. There are only two ways to win a war: remove the opposition from the field, or remove the will to fight. If you are not going to do the first, then you must concentrate on the second. Exactly how to do it remains a problem, but if someone can reform Islam, that would be a great start. The problem is, Islam does not have an official structure, so the only way to do that would appear to require someone with extreme charisma who will overturn wahhabiism. Do I hear a, “Good luck with that”?
Meanwhile, a quick commercial: Ranh, a tale of plotting, conspiracy, religious fervour, murder, treachery, honour, diplomacy, and tail-ball.