Robert A. Levine 11-17-15
The massacre of innocent civilians in Paris by suicide bombers from ISIS reinforces the problems involved in defeating radical Islamic terrorists who want to die for their cause. Convincing them the path they have chosen is erroneous will not work, as their fundamentalist religious beliefs are deeply inculcated and reasoning with them to change is an impossible task. They perceive the world through a distorted lens, where everyone of a different religion or even slightly diverging from their practices is considered an outsider or apostate and should be killed. This includes moderate Sunnis who do not agree with them, and particularly Shiites who they have slaughtered in Beirut, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In Paris, they went after young people their own ages who were out having fun on a Friday night, drinking, talking, and listening to music, alien concepts to the radical Islamists.
If we are going to alter the minds of ISIS adherents it has to occur early on before the death cult insanity is imbedded in the individual’s persona, or preferably prevent transformation before the radical Islamic ideology has taken hold. This means working with Muslim communities in the West and having respected Islamic religious figures denouncing ISIS, emphasizing how their bestial behavior runs counter to the Koran and religious texts. Those mullahs who recruit for ISIS or propagandize against democracy should be expelled from Western countries and returned to their nations of origin. If Islamist religious leaders are hostile to Western culture and democracy, they should not be living freely in democratic states. European nations also have to work to better integrate Muslims into their societies.
Aside from other ISIS members who revel in the production of death in the West, only right-wingers and neo-Nazis are happy with the actions of the radical Islamists when they wreak havoc in Europe and the Arab nations. This means more votes for those politicians who rail against Muslim immigrants and citizens who practice Islam. And Republican politicians in the US also use the ISIS bombings as an argument against immigration, even though the vast majority of American immigrants are Hispanic or Asian.
Obama’s tactics against ISIS thus far have been an abject failure. It is time that America took ISIS’s actions and potential more seriously and concentrated on their destruction. If that means boots on the ground to aid the Kurds and Iraqi forces, so be it. But it needs to be a NATO effort in conjunction with the Arab states and perhaps Russia. The US should not be going it alone. But are the NATO nations willing to spend the money to build up their militaries and armaments to confront ISIS? After Paris, there should be no question about it. However, most NATO nations spend less than 2 percent of their GDP on their militaries while America spends close to 4 percent.
A strategy that combined and coordinated forces from NATO, the Arab states and Russia would be able to dominate and eliminate ISIS in Syria and Iraq fairly quickly, particularly since most of the population does not want to be ruled by these extremists. Libya, Yemen, the Sinai (Egypt), Afghanistan, and Nigeria would be a lot more difficult. The governments in the latter three states have already been unable to control ISIS, and Libya and Yemen are failed states with essentially no government.
Still, the civilized world has to continue to battle ISIS everywhere it exists. It cannot be allowed to occupy territory where it can plan attacks on Western countries and continue to recruit new adherents who are disenchanted with their lives and willing to kill themselves merely to kill others. Glorifying suicide to destroy the enemies of Islam and attain paradise is not a plan civilized nations can countenance. Islamic religious leaders in Muslim countries and the West must constantly emphasize that killing civilians, women, and children is forbidden by the Koran and is not the path to paradise. Western propaganda must also become more sophisticated to appeal to disaffected Muslim youth, and give them hope that their lives will not be wasted.
The West has fought death cults before and emerged victorious, against opponents who were even more powerful and vicious than ISIS. In World War Two, Germans and Japanese soldiers were ordered to fight to the death and not permit the enemy to reach the German and Japanese homelands. And German bombs targeted civilians in Great Britain and the Soviet Union to try and break the people’s morale. Kamikaze pilots killed themselves trying to destroy American ships and planes. Yet the war was won against these two terrible adversaries. ISIS cannot be successful if America and its allies are resolute and willing to do what it takes to eliminate this scourge from the earth.
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