In a video, that I considered posting here to drive the point home but chose not to, an Australian sounding man surrounded by a hundred or so masked gunmen of ISIS promised that they would never stop until the black flag flies over the White House, Buckingham Palace, and whatever you guys down under have in Australia. Part of me was hoping it was the Pirate black flag which I thought wouldn’t be so bad, but they kept going. They stated that their victories came from God and they would not stop until it was so. And yet, with each act of war committed on American soil we have a political climate and sensitive culture that hopes it is just an act of workplace violence. After all, I suppose the Japanese bombers at Pearl Harbor just got lost and thought they were in China somewhere. Perhaps it is time we stop patronizing the foreign state that says they are at war with us and just take them at their word.
Work Place Violence?
In what was a less than shocking revelation, just prior to the attacks in San Bernardino, shooter Tashfeen Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. I realize that many had hoped that the admission would read more like the following, “I pledge allegiance to workplace violence and its leader, Milton from Office Space.”
Now, I don’t know who took the Jihadi’s stapler, but this hardly seems like an appropriate response. The man who held a secure job making decent money and was a recent newlywed with a child hardly seems like a crazy man. Rather, he seems like a man with a mission. One that trumped all other concerns and respect for human life. This man was no more lost in life than were the Japanese planes at Pearl Harbor.
I participated in an interview in the summer for NPR along with William Saletan from Slate magazine, which I hear is a slightly more reputable source than Unprecedented Mediocrity. Sarcasm, I was out of place. But he wrote a brilliant piece calling the summer’s attacks in Chattanooga as an act of war, not terrorism. We attack ISIS recruiting centers, so why is it shocking that they would attack ours? I take it a step further and say that Hitler and Japan targeted civilians, so why are we shocked when the foreign state of ISIS does so as well.
The George W. Obama Conundrum
Sadly for Americans, this war has become more of who to blame rather than heavily weighing the idea that we ought to win this war and perhaps write a paper about it later. I know there are those who think we can’t win a war of ideology with military might, but show me in history where we have actually won a war of any sort with anything but. I’ll confess, I drank the George W. Kool-Aid hook line and sinker in 2003. As a Marine in Iraq, I was pissed about 9-11 and ready to go and take the fight to the enemy.
As an older man now, I confess that although I appreciated the trip, the war in Iraq looks like a bad call and trust me in that I am not alone among Iraqi War veterans. At no fault to the men and women who fought it, the blood and treasure spent has yet to produce fruit that I would deem worthy at this point in history. But why is it that if W. walks into a room of Veterans today he will be cheered and adored like no other. Perhaps it is because we don’t expect perfection from our leaders in a crazy global war, but we do expect leadership. The sort that inspires and the sort that lets us know you at least get it.
I have often held back on any extreme criticism of President Obama although I am not afraid to tell the Commander-in-Chief when I think he is wrong. However, I’m going to offer the strongest rebuke to him that I have had to date. I think the man is philosophically ill-equipped for the war at hand. President Obama is not a bad man, a tyrant, or stupid. He is a good father, liberal, and intellectual. But he is philosophically ill-equipped to lead this battle because he can’t even acknowledge the war we so obviously face. And unless something changes, that is what we can expect over this next year. Please don’t take this as overly partisan. I’ll judge George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq to date just like I will judge Obama’s non-intervention against ISIS to date. Just surveying what I see with my own eyes. The dumbest article I ever wrote was the one early last year when ISIS first emerged and beheaded Americans where I said they would be quickly crushed. Instead, those they have inspired have struck Paris and America multiple times in what is nothing short of a war.
The Milton Effect
I honestly don’t know if President Obama is playing some sort of long game that he trusts will work out after he is gone or if he honestly believes a militant Milton from Office Space is going to come along and prove him right. But if he thinks he is protecting innocent Muslims, he is far from doing just that. His refusal to talk about the obvious has led to the worst climate for Muslim Americans since 9-11 and in fact, many Muslims would report it worse. It patronizes Americans to insist they can’t make the obvious connection between terrorism and radical Islam and only gives voice to those spewing hate, not reason.
And to tell us that we are not at war is horribly misleading. Bush spoke fondly of Muslims after 9-11, but he also brilliantly called what we faced a war. America could digest that dichotomy. We keep getting told that aggressive military action will only push others towards ISIS, but you can read my above meme and come to terms with what I think about that. If another country’s foreign policy, be it good or bad causes you to join a child raping organization then you had issues long before this ever took place. But a quick message to those who will war against us, just know and be warned as the people of the famous Gruntworks site let us know and every single terrorist you have sent our way has found out, if you play stupid games you will win stupid prizes.
We are at war and our refusal to destroy the state responsible is the reason you see the attacks of Chattanooga, Paris, San Bernardino, and were it not for the well-aimed shots of a deputy in Texas it would be Garland Texas as well. Al Qaida might have kicked this sucker off, but ISIS has given a homeland to extremist thought and history proves people fight for their homeland like no other. The time for blaming W.’s mistake of invading Iraq are over. Even CNN reports that in this war on ISIS America is firing missile and bomb stockpiles faster than we can replace them. We are literally wasting our ability to fight a war on a pointless strategy because we insist on fighting not to win. Whatever President Obama hands off in 2017, will be his and his alone. And unless he changes course, he will hand off a war he refused to acknowledge to his successor.
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