In December, 2011, President Obama described Iraq as "sovereign, stable, and self-reliant." Less than three years later, we can see that Iraq's stability and self-reliance were less than a sure thing.
The swiftness with which ISIS arose is particularly disturbing, particularly given the timeline of events in Syria. The CIA began delivering arms to Syrian rebels
in September of 2013, with the Obama administration giving assurances that those weapons would not end up in the hands of Al-Qaida militants. Personally, I think it is no coincidence that not long after that, this radical Al-Qaida offshoot began gaining power and expanding beyond Syria.
In Michael R. Davidson's
recent article, he points out that, throughout the religion's history, Islam has been spread through violence. It's typically of the "convert or die" variety, though some 'lucky' non-Muslims get to pay the jizya
, which basically amounts to Islam's version of "protection" money. Like mobsters, they force non-Muslims to pay the jizya
tax, and if you don't pay, you could see your business or your home destroyed, and face beatings & even death...and Islamists are notorious for going after entire families, not just individuals.
In the past, the West has had a unifying factor that brought people and nations together to oppose the violent spread of Islam: Christianity. But in today's post-modern society, Christianity doesn't unify the free world like it used to. In fact, in the United States' climate of Political Correctness, Christians are one of the few remaining groups for whom ridicule is still acceptable. This definitely doesn't help matters any when it comes to uniting the world under one banner to oppose a group that is with no doubt the face of evil in the modern world.
Since ISIS invaded Iraq, the sentiment in much of America has been that ISIS is Iraq's problem to solve. We don't need another Iraq war. Iraq needs to stand on its own. Yet at the same time, the predictions made before we pulled out of Iraq have turned out to be true. We left a power vacuum, and ISIS has moved in to take advantage of the situation. They have taken control of a significant amount of the advanced military hardware we left for the Iraqi military.
And already, they govern the area with an iron fist. Non-Muslims are being murdered in some of the most brutal ways imaginable. Some of the latest news coming out of Iraq is that ISIS militants are beheading Christian children.
The other day, as I was driving home from work, I passed a small gaggle of anti-Israel protesters at one of Bakersfield's busier intersections. I didn't have the time or interest to read most of their signs, but their largest banner was unmistakable. It read, "STOP GENOCIDE IN GAZA." It was nearly enough to make my head explode. Israel definitely has the military might to wipe out the people of Gaza, should they have a mind to, yet they go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties...yet so many are focused on the conflict in Israel, they completely miss ISIS working on true genocide in Iraq.
While it's true that ISIS may eventually collapse under the weight of its own extremism
, as well as the weight Islam's sectarian conflicts, they are not a threat that we can afford to ignore, or even to limit our response to dropping a few bombs from drones in order to protect Americans in the region, as President Obama has chosen to do. ISIS controls a significant area, and with the military hardware they have captured, it is likely that they will expand their reach before they face significant enough opposition to drive them back.
During the intervening time, ISIS has the potential to do great damage to the global economy and the free world. They could disrupt oil shipments from the Middle East, driving up the price of oil. The areas they have already captured are more than sufficient to serve as training grounds for terrorists, and with the U.S. Border Patrol overwhelmed by the current influx of illegal immigrants, there exists ample opportunity for terrorists to make their way into the United States undetected. ISIS has already made overt threats against the U.S. We shall see whether those in power take those threats seriously.
What we are facing today in the Muslim world is a war of civilizations: those who value life and freedom versus those who value the religious "purity" of radical Islam. We can ill afford to turn a blind eye or to take half measures. President Obama may have declared the Global War on Terror to be over, but it looks as though the terrorists have other plans.