As the ISIS terror threat gains momentum, I have wondered. “At what point does the United States intervene?” After all, we helped create the power vacuum.
The nation is war-weary. We hear loud cries of “Get the h-e-double-hockeysticks out” of foreign entanglements. Or, “We can’t be the world’s policeman.”
On the other hand, why should we tolerate or appease genocidal maniacs bent on death and destruction? Do we step in when people are dying of thirst because to get water is to die? Do we step in when 16oo people are executed in one YouTube video, instead of 1500?
Seriously – it’s a mess over there.
I agree with John English who posted earlier that ISIS is truly THE axis of evil. It’s horrifying on a scale that makes most people just turn away because normal human beings cannot process that level of depravity. The Rwandan genocide got close. I’ve been to Rwanda. The things they did to each other – to women and children and babies – defy description. Defy humanity, really. Yet we did not step in. Years later, I still wonder why.
Back to ISIS……
In a speech at Ft. Bragg, NC on December 14, 2011, President Barack Obama spoke about the “end” of the war in Iraq.
“Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people. America’s war in Iraq will be over….Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” (emphasis added)
ISIS has been on the move for months, growing bolder all the time. They have co-opted social media to be used as an instrument of terror and psychological torture. “Join us or die” is the message that spreads virally. This week, I saw a picture on Twitter of an ISIS terrorist holding the bloody head of what used to be a man – someone’s son, brother, husband, father. It struck me how happy the beheader looked, while dressed in a butcher’s apron.
At the beginning of July, the New York Times posted an interactive map showing how ISIS has been remarkably successful at gaining control of the areas along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. That strategy enabled them to have significant control of the region. Check out the map here.
They are waging a brutal, ugly, smart, calculating, terrifying war.
Remember Fallujah? It was in the news a decade ago with the Gulf War. Liberated by American troops, turned over to the new Iraqi government. Yeah. That city was lost over eight months ago.
So when is it right for America to intervene?
Apparently, the President of the United States decided that today was that day. In spite of some early mis-reporting, there are now confirmed stories that the US has dropped bombs on a previously unhindered ISIS convoy. No troops are going to be sent in. Meanwhile, according to CNN, ISIS militants captured Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam, just north of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
So – the new question is this: Is it enough?
I suspect it is not.