Republican Presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, who, throughout the last five years, occasionally moonlights as Governor of Louisiana, recently published an opinion piece in the hometown paper of the Duck Dynasty clan, The Monroe News Star, to express his outrage about President Barack Obama’s response to the newest existential terrorist crisis in the Middle East. According to Jindal, President Obama needs to stop talking about “justice” and start murdering people, even if we have to go alone. Quoting Jindal:
The president said that when people harm Americans, “we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.” What? Here’s an idea — How about we offer these people death instead of justice?
I understand that the president of the United States should not be prone to wild rhetoric. But this is ridiculous.
“Justice” generally conjures up images of a courtroom with a government-provided defense attorney. Here’s another way the president could phrase it, “we will hunt them down and kill them.” And as for the president’s phrase “standing alongside others,” what does that mean? We should hunt and kill the people who did this completely, regardless of who stands with us.
Yes, “justice,” as Bobby Jindal suggests, is something that only people like Matlock and Perry Mason care about. To him, it’s beneath the President to talk about justice being done. Instead, the President should be talking, unequivocally, about savagely murdering people in the Middle East. Because, apparently, that’s the best way for a mature, industrialized country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and the most sophisticated military force in the world to win hearts and minds and convince our enemies of the morals and the values of democratic government.
Either way, according to Jindal, who really cares if anyone “stands with us”? America apparently doesn’t need allies because it has God on its side, which, ironically, is the same exact thing that ISIS terrorists claim themselves, though their name for God is a couple of letters longer.
But in all seriousness, Jindal’s sudden hawkishness is so hyperbolic, so simplistic, and so heated that there’s only one possible explanation for it: He really, really wants to be the Republican nominee for President, and in order to do that, he needs to look like a war-monger. He saw an opening for his message after the savage beheading of American journalist James Foley, and he thinks Mr. Foley’s murder justifies large-scale war in the Middle East. There are a couple of problems, though: James Foley wasn’t murdered by a native of Syria or Iraq; according to voice recognition technology, Foley was killed by a kid from the UK, potentially a wannabe rapper and musician. And we’ve also learned recently that ISIS is recruiting American kids in Minnesota to join their cause.
So, who are we going to murder, exactly? Everyone in ISIS? What about recruiters? Should we consider targeting bombs against kids in Wales and Minneapolis?
Bobby Jindal concludes his letter with a quaint observation about World War II. Quoting:
In World War II we did not win the future by building, we won it by destroying. Uncomfortable or not, that is the truth. The murderous fools who cut the heads off of Americans must be destroyed, and sent to their reward, such as it is, in the next life.
While that is certainly one way to look it history, it’s just not true: We won by building– alliances, goodwill, intelligence, cooperation, and the weaponry of warfare. Yes, there was unimaginable death, and yes, there was destruction. But Bobby Jindal misreads history: The allied forces won in World War II precisely because they came together and built an alliance that, eventually, outmatched anything Hitler could have done. We used sanctions, smarts, spies, and surprise.
With the war closing in on him, we didn’t have the chance to destroy Hitler; he killed himself. And during the last seven decades, we’ve continued to hold former WWII criminals accountable, including some who thought they had escaped forever. There is justice, even international justice.
And perhaps if Bobby Jindal understood justice as a foundational value of American democracy and not merely some abstraction, he would understand that justice is much more powerful, more permanent, and more effective than any policy built on indiscriminate murder.
We’ve tried a type of Bobby Jindal’s “go it alone,” phony Cowboy, overcompensated machismo policy before: And it didn’t turn out that well. We spent trillions of dollars and more than a decade; we lost thousands of lives; we never found the weapons of mass destruction, and Osama bin Laden was living in a completely different country.
Maybe it’s not a bad idea to seek justice first, before we just start murdering people in the Middle East because of a savage crime committed by a kid from the UK against a journalist from America.