- Thu, 10:47: Nothing is more annoying than people who don't follow through with what they say they are going to do.
Even as the Islamic State continues to expand, threatening not only the region but the West, the President of the United States has said we don’t have a strategy yet for dealing with them. Meanwhile they leave a trail of carnage, murdering countless innocent people by the most brutal means. These people are possessed by a blood lust we have seldom seen before. When religion condones murder there is no limit to what men will do. In fact they will do it with enthusiasm, based on the delusion of serving a just cause and the will of God. They may be misinterpreting or even distorting Islam, but that is academic as the killing continues.
We are tired of war and do not want to become embroiled in another Middle East conflict. However, ISIS is leaving us no choice as they state unequivocally their intention to destroy the US and its European allies. Thus, whether we like it or not we must have a strategy to deal with this threat. Towards that end we should consider the following options:
1. Build a coalition of the Islamic states to go after them. They are the ones most threatened by this movement. Until now they have shrewdly sat back and left us to take the heat. This must stop. This is their back yard, and in reality is their problem. We can never extricate ourselves from this region until this occurs.
2. In addition to, or failing this, call for action by the United Nations. There is not a single country in the world supporting these terrorists, so where could opposition to such a mission possibly come from? In this instance unanimity ought to be possible. Instead we are going to the Security Council about the Russians invading Ukraine, which does not affect our vital interests, and at this point only divides major partners and potential allies.
3. The first two options takes the world as it presently exists. However, to the extent that this spreads as an attack on the West, the West must respond forcefully. That means NATO, which should be engaged to crush this evil if we are to avoid major attacks on our homelands. They have stated clearly what they intend to do to us, so it is foolish to wait until something happens and then respond. We should have a strategy in place to annihilate ISIS now.
This requires governments that believe in the West and its values, and sees them as a force for good as well as progress in the world. It means having an abiding faith in our principles, which is sorely lacking in this administration. Unmotivated by a belief in the justness of our cause means vacillation, indecision, short-term action devoid of long-term context, and worst of all informs our enemies of weakness that they need not fear.
They do not fear us, they do not respect us, and are contemptuous of our leadership. We cannot approach this problem with half-measures and abide by rules that are totally ignored by the enemy. We must do nothing less than terrorize the terrorists. Instead of reacting to the carnage they will unleash we must act forcefully now. Western intelligence sources suspect an imminent attack. Must we wait until that happens before doing anything? The time to act is now and we should have a clear objective- eliminating ISIS from the face of the earth.
The extent of the evil perpetrated by the “Islamic State” in Iraq against religious minorities is mind-boggling. It is the sort of thing the world has not seen in many centuries. ISIS has buried Christian children alive, cut a child in two, and crucified others. They have beheaded innocent people and then displayed their heads on pikes. They have killed all the men who refused to convert to Islam and then raping the women before selling the girls into slavery. Others have been forced to convert to ISIS’ brand of Islam or to otherwise leave their homes and all their possessions behind. Christians have been forced from territory they have occupied continuously for two thousand years. It is not just Christians receiving this treatment, but the ancient Yazidi sect that is being massacred along with all other religious minorities, as well as Muslims who refuse to follow ISIS.
That such things are happening in the 21st century indicates how fragile the veneer of civilization is. For here we have an instance of pure evil, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Paradoxically, the area has been ruled for many centuries by Islamic regimes which tolerated the religious minorities within their realm. Christians and Jews have been persecuted before, but the cruelty of this genocide is something new. This, for the moment trumps the case I recently made for getting out of the line of fire. The U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Australia are providing some aid, but not enough to tip the balance. Blame certainly falls on the inept regime in Baghdad that is unable to control its territory, although that will hopefully now change as the government is reconstituted to become more representative. We certainly don’t want to get involved in another Middle East conflict, but we also cannot tolerate genocide.
If ever there was a mission for the United Nations this is it, if the UN is to be at all relevant. There should not be great difficulty in reaching a consensus. No country supports these murderers so it is hard to see how there could be any opposition to action. ISIS must be completely annihilated, and anyone surviving must pay for their crimes. It is true that a UN force would largely be supported by the US, and although I don’t place a lot of faith in the UN, based on past actions, it would at least indicate complete international solidarity against this evil. In the absence of that we need another “coalition of the willing,” although the UN would then be missing another opportunity to legitimize itself.
Americans are tired of such conflicts, but the extraordinary cruelty of these maniacs cannot be ignored. We also have some responsibility for stirring the pot in the first place, but I’m not interested in blaming Bush for starting it, or Obama for precipitously pulling out. A tenuous argument for ignoring them could be made if they did not directly threaten us, but they have clearly stated they intend to attack us and the rest of the west. If they are allowed to gain ground unimpeded in pursuit of establishing their “caliphate” there is no telling how far they could go, and what they subsequently might do from conquered territory. This menace must be completely wiped out before it spreads any further if there is to be peace and security in the world. This should be followed by a strategy that will insure that such things do not happen again.