What’s Going On Here?
11 September 2014. Why did ISIS behead two American journalists in barbaric public executions certain to inflame America? Doesn’t the answer lie in their brutal cleverness? If they can provoke us to a national state of rage, then President Obama will have to lay aside his determination to remove America from the Middle East and reenter the region as reactive warriors bent on revenge.
By reentering, we will do exactly what ISIS lacks the strength to do for itself: the radicalizing of thousands of ordinary citizens into a terrorist state as the population rages at American air strikes. The only thing that will ensure their control of the territory they want is a populace united in rage at the American invaders overhead.
14 September 2014. And so it is unfolding. Our appropriately deliberative president – prodded by the predictable national outrage – announced to the nation that we will destroy ISIS from the air. The global support he sought came in the form of pale encouragement rather than offers of active support, especially from the British who declared they would not go to war against ISIS.
Result? Several days later ISIS beheaded a British aid worker in another horrific strike at any semblance of civilized behavior left in our weakening world. This brought PM David Cameron to the microphone with a strong rebuke and new determination to join the battle.
And so a relatively small group of terrorists has succeeded in getting from the Western world exactly what they wanted: a response to their brutality so strong that the people on the land mass that is Iraq and Syria will unite behind their terrorist occupiers in rage against the allies bombing them from above.
There will be no end to this war. Imagine what will happen when an allied plane is shot down with its pilot taken prisoner. Imagine how few incidents it will take for a public demand that we invade with a ground army. And so a barbaric band of terrorists is luring the world to war on land they want to control. The allied invaders, doing the bidding of ISIS, will unite the populations of Iraq and Syria.
Barack Obama withstood the pressure of right wing Republicans until the public beheadings ignited national outrage. It had taken him six years to begin to remove our country from the entanglement begun by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. By 2014 there was general agreement that invading Iraq had been an error that cost thousands of American lives. At the time of that invasion, the Republican administration planned to “bring democracy to Iraq.” Remember? We may be strong, but we cannot do the impossible.
The Republicans are now using the wave of national revulsion at the beheadings to empower their demand that America show the world their power. They are doing the bidding of ISIS. I am very glad we have a President who understands the dangers and impossibilities but I am afraid even he is not strong enough to convince an angered nation that the ever-changing people and borders of the Middle East will continue to change forever. We can only hope President Obama can stand strong in the face of the national demand to sacrifice more American boys and girls in the deserts of the Middle East.