you make me feel so good
You naughty, bad, bad, bad, bad boy
--Bad Boy, Gloria Estefan
A bad little kid
Moved into my neighborhood
He won't do nothing right
Just a sitting got to look so good
--Bad Boy, the Beatles
Bad guy (slang) n.:
a morally bad person or character.
Welcome to hell
--Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Three bona fide terrorism subject matter experts speaking in a recent Charley Rose round table all referred to the Islamic State as the "Bad Guys", reflecting the general consensus of United State's government and military leaders. So this is what the Phony War on Terror (PWOT©) has devolved to -- getting bad guys.
You know what Ranger is going to say: in what code book, Hague Convention or United Nation guidelines is "bad guys" defined? When did being a Bad Guy earn you a death sentence?
"Since August, 2014, the United States has invested more than eleven million dollars a day in military operations, including almost nine thousand airstrikes on Iraq and more than five thousand on Syria" (How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East). The U.S. is dropping bombs faster than they can make 'em, hoping that we will hit a bad guy in the bursting radius.
The problem with "Bad Guys" is that the descriptor depends on which side of the fence you house your goats. To some people, President George W. Bush is a very Bad Guy -- war crime sort of bad. To others, he is a hero. Go figure.
How do you define Bad Guy? Is he a fundamentalist who likes terrorism? Is he a guy who will torture someone whom his government calls a Bad Guy, with nary a qualm of conscience? Do they trade in oil and deceit? Are they the arms dealers represented by U.S. interests?
Know this: the fundies and terrorists of ISIS would not exist without a U.S. foreign policy that affects oil and arms in the region.
What color is your bad?
When the objectives of war are the killing of bad guys, we have entered a vague moral ground ad left a legal, political or military one. Bad guys is a concept a religious person can utter with certainty: "bad" or "evil" is something which is not them. Moreover, it must be destroyed.
When secular states like the U.S. kill on the basis of eradicating "badness" or "evil", we should recognize the futility of the mission. All of the evil in the world cannot be bombed into submission or non-existence.
Know this, too: we are playing the devil's game, and there will be hell to pay.