Vail Daily column: Don’t dismiss ISIS | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Don’t dismiss ISIS

Mr. Carnes (My View, Nov. 24):

From Merriam-Webster: “Buffoon: a stupid or foolish person who tries to be funny; a ludicrous figure: clown.”

They may be stupid, but they’re not foolish and they’re not trying to be funny. There’s nothing ludicrous about their wake of destruction.

We’ve come to a place where words have lost their meaning and/or taken on new meanings. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “My head literally exploded”? Of course their head didn’t “literally” explode, but that’s what’s become of our language.

These guys aren’t masterminds, but they’re pretty damn clever. I’m not talking about the goofballs who blow themselves up, I’m talking about the guys at the top, selling oil, kidnapping and convincing their minions to sacrifice themselves.

The Paris attacks were no military marvel, but they took a lot of planning. Not planning on the grand scale of 9/11, but planning nonetheless. Still, to call the planners masterminds is to misuse the word in the extreme and to give these monsters undue credit.

To underestimate them, however is just as foolish, only much more dangerous. A year ago we thought they were a bunch of Hamas wannabe punks; now they control significant real estate in Syria and Iraq and have international reach. Their use of social media is ground breaking on the level of Barack Obama’s in 2008.

To call them buffoons, to infer that there is anything funny or ludicrous about their intent, their actions or their accomplishments is not only short-sighted, it is tremendously insulting to their victims and the families of those victims.

You can call Stephen Colbert a buffoon, although he is a brilliant comedian. You can call Donald Trump a buffoon and you might just be right. Calling ISIS buffoons dismisses them in a way that imperils Western civilization. It would be akin to Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler, who was evil incarnate, but certainly no buffoon.

Bob “R.J.” Abrams