Job security for those of us in the military has never looked so horrifying as it did these past few days in Paris. Naturally, our thoughts go out to the first responders suiting up and heading out to take care of business. Next, we’re looking for retribution. As odd as it may sound to North American ears, Francois Hollande is a socialist president, but over there that’s not synonymous with pacifism. He has been rigorous in using France’s formidable military in fighting Islamic extremism, especially in North Africa. Late Friday night, he did not disappoint with his response, quite rightly calling the attacks an act of war and vowing to act against the “barbarians” with “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies, who are, themselves, targeted by this terrorist threat.”

It is a war whether we want it or not. The echoes of gunfire were still reverberating down the alleys of Paris when suddenly trolls everywhere started using the attacks to push their agendas. Salon even published an article expressing that the attacks would put an end to name-calling by the right on liberals, such as the groups suppressing free speech on Ivy League campuses. As if hurling names and and hurling explosives were somehow equivalent. It may seem that we are too, but the difference is that this is our business, it’s what we know, and entirely consistent with what we have been warning about for quite some time. It is a war. It will not stay within its borders. It is here. There is no opting out. At least not if we want to preserve our freedom and way of life.

That may sound extreme but it really isn’t. Some of the pacifist persuasion will argue that this calls for complete withdrawal and capitulation to the demands of the terrorists. While this is a far more legitimate position than equivocating terrorism with debate as Salon did, it won’t win us any type of peace worth having. It will doom us to accepting ever-growing streams of refugees as they flee from a literal state of terror, where boys are educated with decapitation videos and inculcated with the inevitability of their victory over the world. They won’t be happy with their little sliver of territory for long, not after having humbled world powers. Our withdrawal will be inspiring. If a little bit of terror cowed these mighty countries, what will a bit more win them? These refugee streams will be legitimate cause for worry. Will they harbour infiltrators? Are we willing to seal our borders? Expel the refugees and immigrants that are already here? How has that worked for illegal migrants in the U.S.?

ISIS and their ilk need to be destroyed, and not just in Syria, as Hollande knows full well. The insecurity in North Africa is just as much of a factor. This is where most smuggling takes place along the ancient caravan routes. Libya in particular needs to be secured, as its vast stocks of weapons continue to flood the region after Gaddafi’s fall. No security, no peace for the whole region. ISIL is getting squeezed, Sinjar is secure for now, Jihadi John appears to have been taken out by an air strike, but it’s time to pick up the pace. Increase training, but also start putting more SOF boots on the ground to take out the leaders and mentor and accompany our local allies. In Iraq. In Kurdistan. In North Africa. We can’t leave them any place to hide. And we can’t allow a vacuum when we’re done. Let’s not let history repeat itself.