The Head of State for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi repeatedly raped and abused a captured American female, Kayla Mueller. I know we have come to think of ISIS as a ragtag group of misfits, but make no mistake about it, they are a State. The international community’s refusal to recognize it as such doesn’t negate the fact that they control territory over which they act as the sovereign power. They have laws, albeit twisted, and they exact judicial punishment over its population, albeit medieval. They engage in behind the scenes negotiations with other nations, i.e. Turkey, and they wage war on others. They have identified the United States of America as an enemy of the state and have waged war on all its interest and citizens where they have any reach. And yes, the leader of the State by our own government’s admission repeatedly raped and abused a captured American citizen. So I ask, when will ISIS have done or raped enough?
Didn’t Want to Care
I have written time and time again that I didn’t want to care what happened in Iraq. I served there with the Marines in 2003 and that seems like forever ago. I don’t care if the Shias or Sunnis run the place and were I in charge, I’d give the whole place to the Kurds. They seem to insist on being a tribal people and it would be my inclination to leave them alone like the Aborigines of Australia or a lost tribe in the Amazon. For it would appear that with America’s invasion of Iraq, the only wrong we really committed was to violate Star Trek’s Prime Directive of sorts and dabbled in the affairs of a primitive population who simply were not ready for the Democratic freedom that might as well have been a warp powered starship to them. Needless to say, a year and a half ago, I simply didn’t want to care what happened in Iraq.
However, that all changed when I started seeing American citizens beheaded, Christians crucified, gay people thrown from roofs, children raped, children sold into sexual slavery, children forced into committing atrocities, and the destruction of centuries worth of ancient history in the lands they occupy. One year ago on this blog, I wrote an open letter to ISIS after they beheaded the American journalist telling ISIS that they were done. I went all Joe Pesci on them and was certain that America was about to lower the boom. I was wrong, ISIS persisted, and by our Government’s own admission, ISIS is as strong today as they were a year ago. While our Government did state that ISIS has not grown this past year, I simply don’t think that a letter threatening ISIS with zero 4 quarter growth is hardly as menacing or fair compensation for their crimes against humanity. I was wrong, ISIS is here to stay given the current course.
The Bush-Obama Paradox
To be quite honest, George W. Bush and Barrack H. Obama couldn’t be more different and I don’t mean in the typical partisan context for which we have all grown completely sick. George W. Bush invaded Iraq with full bravado and fanfare in 2003 of which I was soon to be a part and history might very well indicate that was a less than favorable plan. It is hard, even for a Veteran of Iraq, to look at the blood and treasure spent to date and see a current outcome that would appear worth it. Decades of history might prove otherwise, but I’ll write about that in the future if so. I am simply talking today as I type and nothing else. It has nothing to do with Republican versus Democrat, just looking at the region in 2002 and 2015 and making an honest analysis.
Obama likely would not have invaded Iraq in 2003, but that means absolutely nothing. Obama was not President in 2003, he is President today. When he was elected in 2008, he inherited it all. He owns decisions post 2008 and how he handled whatever it is that he inherited regardless of whom he blames for his inheritance. He has a seeming desire to be anything but George W. Bush, almost to a fault. He insists that the fight with ISIS will take years and he does not seem to be deviating from that course. To which I reply, can’t we just have Obama and Bush switch places. For there is a time and season for everything. A time for peace and a time for war. And yes, that means a time for Shock and Awe, and a time for the slow play and I am of the opinion the past two Presidents seem to have lived in the wrong season like the Parent Trap movie gone horribly wrong.
I get the logic behind the slow play, I really do. If America continues to rush in and save the day, the region will never have the forces needed to combat such threats over the long-term. One might argue that it is the smart play and I might not be able to argue against it. However, there comes a point in time where the smart play becomes the immoral play in light of unprecedented atrocities that would make the most fervent Nazi skip with glee. Have we, or will we ever reach a point where the moral imperative to protect the innocent today becomes the priority? How many child rapes next year are worth the child rape today?
The Case for War
If ISIS could sink the Lusitania they would. Put them on horseback on the Mexican border, call them Poncho Villa and they would raid the American countryside. What would ISIS do over Pearl Harbor if they could? Ho Chi Min was an enemy of the United States for a time, but I doubt he ever raped an American captive repeatedly. In 1994, over 800,000 humans were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide over a 3 month period. When asked about it after the fact, President Bill Clinton said of America’s failure to act, “I do feel a lifetime worth of responsibility.” Going on he said, “If we’d have gone in sooner, I do believe we could have saved at least a third of lives that were lost… it had an enduring impact on me.”
That is not a swipe against Bill Clinton, the fact is on the heels of Somalia America probably didn’t have the stomach for it and our failure to act is all our shame. And so it is with ISIS. Most of America wanted to be done with Iraq and it is not our fault the Iraqi people chose to be a cowardly and primitive people in the face of ISIS. But here we are now and before you go to sleep tonight, countless little girls you will never meet are getting raped and it will be so every day until this ends. What else must ISIS do before we acknowledge that we are where we didn’t want to be? They are trying to kill us here at home and abroad. Face it, we are in a state of War with a foreign State committing atrocities that would cause the average American to weep for years were we to witness a single one of them. It is true that we cannot stop every evil in the world, but nor should we do nothing for the sake of being consistent.
We hear our nations plan to degrade and destroy ISIS over years and many applaud the academic prudence, but for those who desperately need us most that means years of rape if they survive it. I’m sorry, but I’m not a policy maker and I recognize I have zero influence over this process. However, as a Veteran of Iraq who didn’t want to care, I can’t ignore the building moral imperative for a little Shock and Awe. We can defeat them, and we can do it quickly were we to have the stomach. History could prove the 2003 invasion of Iraq as one of the great foreign policy blunders, but America’s failure to act decisively against ISIS today will be a moral failure with few comparisons. For years from now when they are defeated and the testimonies, mass graves, and scarred children come out for all the world to see, we will realize what occurred on our watch while we drank our Starbucks and watch our football. So count me as one of the few that calls for total War against ISIS. That is total war, where political objectives cease to exist. Unconditional surrender or death is the only true war that was worked as evidenced by WW2 and every war since. It is time, for total War against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Feel free to join me if you wish and declare, you have had enough.
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