As many of you know, ISIS has committed yet another attack on targets in the West, bringing their brand of terror to the heart of the City of Love. This comes days after ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre in Beirut and the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 over the skies of Egypt—an apparent retaliation against increased Russian involvement in Syria in support of the al-Assad regime. Just two weeks prior, the Obama administration sent another 50 Special Forces troops in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, which began in late summer 2014 in response to the continued escalation in this region of unimaginable violence.
With these newest developments in Paris, heads of state from France, the UK, and the U.S. have made statements of solidarity, resilience, and threats of their own retaliation. PM David Cameron chaired an emergency COBR meeting (cabinet office meeting rooms) to prepare for additional targets, which may already be in motion in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. President Obama stated on Friday evening that these events were an “attack on all humanity and the universal values that we share,” going on to offer full U.S. support to our French ally.
French President Francois Hollande, who was in attendance at the football match where a suicide bombing attack took place, called these attacks “cowardly,” going further to state this was an “act of war” and promising the French response will be “merciless.” Finally, the Pope called this a “piece” of the piecemeal Third World War,” which this author mentioned weeks ago after ISIS took responsibility for downing the Russian airliner over Egypt.
Clearly this new escalation of force by ISIS can be interpreted as nothing less than their official declaration of war on not just those nations currently committed in Syria, Iraq, and across the region, but on Western civilization itself. The sides have been chosen: Either you submit to their totalitarian world caliphate or become a target. Whether we want to believe it or not, this is a new world reality. This fascist, intolerant, and brutal group, growing stronger and bolder every day, will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to ensure the success of their new caliphate, beginning within the Arab world and, more terrifying, spreading to the rest of the globe.
What brings me nightmares is the lack of solutions to fight against this growing threat. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms about eliminating every single last one of these men, women, and (sadly, but true) children that have been brainwashed into thinking this behavior, this war on Western civilization, is the only solution. With that said, I have yet to hear a viable and, more importantly, achievable solution to the shit-storm we find ourselves in.
We have been waging this War on Terror since the tragedy that was 9/11, and after 13 years, two months and three days, we are no safer and less in control than when we woke up that dreadful Tuesday morning. After the continued sacrifice of thousands of lives from countries across the world, as well as the hundreds of thousands of civilians whose lives have been eradicated, stability remains elusive. The world is now racing toward the horrific chaos of world conflict.
Adding troops on the ground in Iraq, Syria, and in other hotspots in the cauldron of the Middle East and North Africa will almost certainly not improve security and will only increase the enemy’s resolve. Airstrikes, bombing campaigns, surgical strikes, and assassinations seem similar to using a BB gun on a pack of rabid badgers.
It is reminiscent of the story of Heracles and the Lernaean Hydra—the more heads of ISIS we eliminate, creating martyrs in the process, dozens upon dozens more appear in their place. This enemy has studied our TTPs and learned from our mistakes in the most deadly century in human history. What’s more, many have been trained by our defense and intelligence agencies, ensuring competent replacements to each level of their leadership. Many expect, even yearn to sacrifice their lives to this poison of violence in order to further their grisly and misguided mission.
And, if this wasn’t enough, they have populations of hundreds of thousands of uneducated, illiterate, and extremely naïve ready-made martyrs willing to die for what they have been force fed since childhood from their ‘religious’ leaders. such leaders should have been helping their poverty-stricken communities, but instead see them only as cannon fodder in this holy war perpetrated for the benefit of only the top few. “Animal Farm” has come alive as George Orwell sighs (and rolls over) in his grave.
This is not to say that France, Britain, the U.S., and our allies should stand around and take it on the chin. However, what strategy have our fearless leaders formulated to regain control of this rapidly devolving situation? I am all for bringing the fight to them, but at what cost to our service members and the civilians caught in the midst of it all? Massive bombing campaigns, even so-called surgical strikes will and have caused significant collateral damage to civilians, which only empowers ISIS and groups like them—even if it is misinformation. Highly publicized drone strikes killing suspected high-level operators within these organizations, though not a failure, has done far less than what was hoped from these operations, with the media parading failures across every outlet across the globe.
On the other end of the spectrum, leaving these crazed, religious extremists to their own devices will only ensure the capitulation of the remaining pseudo-democratic/republic states that are teetering on absolute failure in the months to come. In addition, ISIS and their allies have shown and continue to show that they are focused on bringing this grisly violence, by any means necessary, into every nation they believe associated with this global jihad. Going back to the era of American isolationism during the Wilson administration is no longer an option. We are a nation at war and have been for decades. Now with these latest aggressive actions by ISIS, the world is nearing the brink of a chaos that we as a society are very little prepared for.
ISIS and their fellow extremists are determined to win no matter the cost in lives of their Ummah. They will stop at nothing. The question is, can we, as a nation of ever mounting consumerism, of the Kardashian-obsessed and technology-addicted, match their willingness and determination to embrace the sacrifice that will—not may—be forced upon us when this war becomes not “over there” but everywhere?
(Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Christophe Ena)