What would America fight for? We may be forced to answer sooner rather than later.
In early May, The Economist ran this cover story, “What would America fight for? – A nagging doubt is eating away at the world order — and the superpower is largely ignoring it.” The opening sentence quotes the President as saying, “WHY is is that everybody is so eager to use military force?” The article the refers to the Pew poll stating that 52% of Americans want the US to “mind its own business internationally.” If that poll were taken today, would the results be the same. I think not. Certainly not for this American.
In mid-August, British Prime Minister David Cameron penned an op-ed in the UK Telegraph, that ISIL posed a direct threat to Britain as well as to the rest of Europe.
“The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home. Nor is it a problem that should be defined by a war 10 years ago. It is our concern here and now. Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent. Indeed, the first Isil-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place.
“We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology, which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime. We face in Isil a new threat that is single-minded, determined and unflinching in pursuit of its objectives….. If it succeeds, we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a Nato member.
This is a clear danger to Europe and to our security. It is a daunting challenge. But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”
This was written while President Obama was on the golf course, with the only strategy in his mind was how not to hook to the left on the 13th fairway.
With the breaking news that a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was murdered by ISIS, the question of American military involvement once again comes to the forefront. Our government knew of the ISIS build-up since the war in Syria began years ago. There are now 170,000 dead in that war, with countless thousands dead and dying in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and other parts of the Middle East. But for many Americans, and not only those who lost loved ones in 9/11, in the sands, mountains or villages of Afghanistan or Iraq, or in the Benghazi consulate, the warnings of another, more deadly attack(s) are profound and imminent. This recent CNN video showing ISIS recruiting children, many as young as the age of 7, being indoctrinated with hatred and allowing them to witness executions, illustrates what the US and the world is up against for decades to come if ISIS is not crushed and obliterated.
If that were not enough, Foreign Policy is carrying an exclusive, “Found: The Islamic State’s Terror Laptop of Doom“.
“The laptop’s contents turn out to be a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State’s deadly campaigns. They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another.
But after hours upon hours of scrolling through the documents, it became clear that the ISIS laptop contains more than the typical propaganda and instruction manuals used by jihadists. The documents also suggest that the laptop’s owner was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry, in preparation for a potential attack that would have shocked the world….The ISIS laptop contains a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals.
“The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” the document states.”
And while the jihadists don’t have chemical weapons yet,
“The Islamic State’s sweeping gains in recent months may have provided it with the capacity to develop such new and dangerous weapons. Members of the jihadi group are not solely fighting on the front lines these days — they also control substantial parts of Syria and Iraq. The fear now is that men like Muhammed could be quietly working behind the front lines — for instance, in the Islamic State-controlled University of Mosul or in some laboratory in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital — to develop chemical or biological weapons.
In short, the longer the caliphate exists, the more likely it is that members with a science background will come up with something horrible. The documents found on the laptop of the Tunisian jihadist, meanwhile, leave no room for doubt about the group’s deadly ambitions.”
History’s archives are filled with brutal murderers of the last century — Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mao-Tse-tung — whose combined killings number into the tens of millions. What makes the present situation in the Middle East more personal is not only the brutal murders of Foley and Sotloff, with more sure to come, but the already 6802 Americans who gave their lives as of April 2014 in Iraq and Afghanistan. They died so that more Americans here at home would not have to pay the ultimate price as over 3000 did on 9/11/01. Instead, we all have been betrayed by an American president, whose detached and feckless foreign policy has brought us to this boiling point. While he dithers and uses his cerebral cells to decide where best to fund-raise, when he’s not making vacuous statements, our porous Southern borders are a national security threat, and our pinprick strategy in Iraq has thus far failed to cower or stop the ISIS march. The only ray of sunshine, if one can call it that, is the Kurdish forces retaking some ground from ISIS.
But back to the original question, what would America fight for? Perhaps we won’t know the answer to that until ISIS strikes in America. Maybe Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian will be moved off the front page. More importantly, maybe Obama will finally be moved out of the White House. Nixon resigned 40 years ago; history could repeat itself.