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Tough talk from the gallery

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I for one have no illusions about ISIS. I think this article sets the matter out in the detail required. Jeremy Corbyn would have preferred that Osama bin Laden and now "Jihadi John" had been put on trial rather than summarily executed. I would like ISIS to be extirpated, or, failing that, deported from the planet. Both of us may dream of what would be preferable to what is. But we live in the real world where dreams alone will not do. And yet we need to hold onto them, or we stand for nothing.

Those who mocked Corbyn for musing about trials that could never happen are the very same people who imagine that complex global relations can be fine-tuned with bombs.

We -- that is, the state to whom we are subject(s) -- disapprove of the governments of other countries, with exquisite selectivity. We join the invasions. In Iraq alone, 1.2 million men, women and children were liberated from life. As now confirmed by what I would think is an impeccable source for the bien-pensants, that exercise was largely about oil after all. Iraq: now the bedrock for ISIS. Libya -- a bloody mess, waiting to coalesce into yet another T-1000. Afghanistan -- falling backwards, the naked brutality of the now ISIS-infected Taliban met by American hospital bombing, burning patients in their beds.

But we keep on keeping on. Sowing dragons' teeth is all we know. The very clichéd definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

So here's John Gormley. The reaction to his call for death to anyone saying "God is great" in Arabic must have surprised him -- he apologized, using that well worn formula, "if [he] offended anybody."

And then there's that spouting hysteric Terry Glavin, pro-refugee without a doubt, but doing his best to set the conditions for millions more. His Twitter avatar once showed him wearing an AK-47 -- one sincerely hopes that the safety catch was on. A man of 60, carrying on like this: "War to the knife & the knife to the hilt," ironically borrowing a quotation from the Missouri pro-slavery movement. And this: "[T]here is only one decent and proper liberal way forward in this struggle: unapologetic, unceasing, merciless, pitiless war, until victory." Setting aside the jarringly out-of-place "liberal," he sounds like he's channeling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself.

Against a seventh-century theocracy macerating in genocidal yearnings, the joyful infliction of torture, mass rape as a religious exercise and the restoration of slavery, we have hyper-macho posturing in the dailies that, at this juncture, is not merely irritating, but dangerous. How do we wage this pitiless war? I'd suggest the task is many times more difficult than extracting a psychopath like Jihadi John from his lair and giving him a proper trial. But the chickenhawks who are more than willing to send young folks to war haven’t a clue. Bombs. More bombs. Boots on the ground.

Please, put these merciless, pitiless guys on the front lines. They're straining at the leash.

So anyway, here's my friend and rabble.ca editor Michael Stewart, trying to inject a little reason into these overheated conversations. I don't necessarily agree that ISIS can be talked to, unlike the Taliban; they are a unique breed of polecat with no interest in anything but our deaths. But an attempt is made here to change the frame of the discussion, to take the long view, to engage, however tentatively, in the "patient labours of peace."

Read the comments. That's what we're up against. Gormley and Glavin are very far from alone.

But there are things about Canada that I hope will never change, for all of that. We have read, in the aftermath of the Paris massacres, of a Muslim woman treated rudely in a grocery store; of arson in a Peterborough mosque; and the beating of another Muslim woman, picking up her children at school, by a couple of cowardly hoodlums. Everywhere, hearts sank. Mine leapt up. For all of the previous government's attempt to whip up the lynch mobs over the niqab issue, for all of the human sympathy -- and its companion, rage -- over the Paris hecatomb (and for some, the mass murders in Beirut and Baghdad), there have been three reported incidents. In a country of 34 million, where nearly a third voted for he who shall not be named, where crowds of know-nothings fill up the talkshow lines with noise and jam the on-line comments threads with their vicious, stupid, hateful nonsense.

Three incidents. Followed by massive outcries from the decent, an outpouring of material support, communities rallying round.

Go on, you hoarse-voiced, chest-beating pundits urging slaughter to put an end to slaughter. We're better than you are.

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Keep Karl on Parl

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