One history professor thinks 23-year-old pop singer Ariana Grande is better at handling counterterrorism than Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general.
Professor Juan Cole, the director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, made the assertion in a Wednesday op-ed for The Nation.
The 64-year-old professor claimed that Mattis could learn from Grande, accusing the defense secretary of having a poor understanding of radicals in the Islamic State.
On Sunday, Mattis, 66, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson that the U.S. is moving away from “attrition tactics, where we shove [ISIS] from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics, where we surround them.”
Cole argued that resorting to “annihilation tactics” will be futile because it will just anger the next generation and turn them against the U.S., which will result in more terrorists:
He seems to think that a few slick tweets or videos in cyberspace are the problem. The fact is that all the [ISIS] fighters in Iraq and Syria have siblings and cousins, and simply annihilating them creates a whole slew of new feuds with the United States.
To solve the problem, the professor opined, the public must ignore Mattis — and the West’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State — and embrace tolerance because the “strategy of annihilation is sort of like fighting forest fires with gasoline hoses.”
Before announcing the event, which sold out in six minutes, Grande praised Manchester for its “compassion, kindness, love, strength and oneness” and encouraged unity by telling her fans to not “let hate win.”
Cole praised her comments as “the essence of counterinsurgency” against the Islamic State.
“I’m hoping that the Pentagon follows Grande’s Twitter feed,” he wrote. “Because she nailed it.”
This is not the first time Cole has made such bold — and even outlandish — claims. In 2015, he blamed right-wing Jews and an “Islamophobic networks” for inspiring Charleston, South Carolina, shooter Dylann Roof to carry out the massacre against black church members at the Emanuel AME Church.