General Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Adviser is good news, and not only because of his lack of candor in regards to Russia. Flynn is a believer in religious war. He sacralized the war on terror and saw himself as a holy warrior against radical Islamist terrorists. (Of course, he couldn’t perceive his own extremism and radicalism.)
Both in religious terms and in predatory terms, men like Flynn and Steve Bannon see radical Islamists as the enemy. These “animals” cut off heads! A creed war that treats the enemy as animals is a combustible combination. When you see the enemy as an inferior yet insidious “Other,” there is no opportunity for compromise. Vermin can only be exterminated. Especially when they are allegedly out to destroy your “Judeo-Christian” values.
Flynn’s war against radical Islamists would be unending, driven as it would be by outrage against what he saw as a verminous enemy. In such a “holy” war, killing acquires quasi-sacred meaning. Flynn’s war was not to be a Clausewitzian war of politics by other means. Nor was it a greed-war driven by money and empire. His war was far more insidious.
When you conceive of the enemy as predators who simultaneously have the human ability to enslave you with their own creed (Sharia Law): Well, this enemy is a shape-shifting monster. Small wonder that Flynn infamously tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”
What was the source of his fear? In theory, what is the biggest threat to humans? Not tigers or snakes or other predators; they can be identified. The biggest threat is something human but not quite human. Something that looks human, has human skills, human smarts, but is ruthlessly inhuman, even as it readily blends in with “normal” humans.
The tight Islamophobic circle around Trump (one weaker, with Flynn’s resignation) appears to view Muslims in this way. It’s a little like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
They look like us — act like us — and that’s precisely the problem! Even a five-year-old Muslim refugee, no matter how innocent-looking, is seen by Sean Spicer and crew as an opening to an unstoppable invasion of America, hence Trump’s hurried and sweeping ban on Muslim immigration.
Flynn’s ideology supported the dynamic of permanent religious war. His writings and tweets were consistent with an exterminatory struggle for existence of the worst kind. His actions and views would only perpetuate jihad, a struggle he apparently sees as inevitable.
Until we neutralize jihadists like Flynn (and Bannon) and his Islamist counterparts, until we see a common humanity instead of viewing the enemy as insanely ferocious predators who are out to destroy our way of life, there is no hope for even a semblance of peace in this world.