As Thanksgiving nears and we witness the horrors of the Paris attacks, Americans are once again reminded to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy. But we must also remember those freedoms are only protected by vigilant law enforcement, strong national defense, and an aware citizenry. We all mourn with our allies in France. We all agree that we cannot allow society to become victimized by Islamic extremist barbarians like those who murdered innocent people in France under a misguided belief that their God condones such atrocities. Say what you will about any religion, but none, including Islam and the Quran, justify such cowardly acts. If not stopped they will continue and expand into other countries, including America.
The reaction of politicians has been all too predictable.
President Obama, in remarks on Friday, said, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.” I guess we’ll continue to wait, as we always seem to do, to hear what the president has in mind and what strategy, if any, he will deploy. If it’s placing another 50 advisors into Syria, that is far too little, far too late. Hillary Clinton had little more to add. While her heartfelt sympathy for Parisians is sincere, former Secretary Clinton also failed to express any plan of attack.
Using an odd analogy, Ben Carson commented that allowing Syrian refugees into the United States is akin to medical malpractice and opined that withdrawing from Iraq after the Gulf War created the vacuum that allowed ISIS to grow. Other candidates conveyed condolences for the losses endured by the French. But some went further, weighing in on Twitter. Ted Cruz tweeted, “We must make it clear that affiliation w/ ISIS & related terrorist groups brings w/ it the undying enmity of America.”
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump was less diplomatic, tweeting, “President Obama said ISIL continues to shrink in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE.” and “We need much tougher, much smarter leadership – and we need it NOW!” Even Newt Gingrich chimed in with a tweet, “Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people.”
Not a single politician with a plan. And no doubt as the days pass, we’ll hear more rhetoric from presidential wannabes. The Democrats will criticize the Republicans and the Republicans will criticize President Obama. It will be more of what we’re all tired of hearing.
Now is not the time for politics and rhetoric. It is a time for decisive leadership. We need to seriously consider an alliance with all other threatened nations, including Russia, to eradicate the ISIS cancer. If that means boots on the ground, so be it. We need to make it clear that we will not stand by while Middle East leaders fail to lend adequate support to the solution, including ending our financial aid if they continue on the sidelines. The leadership of the Muslim community must speak out more forcibly and encourage every Muslim worldwide to cooperate and identify those who mean us harm. We need to strike at the sources of ISIS finances and weapons, even if that means destroying oil wells ISIS controls. We and our allies need to seize, not just freeze, the assets of any financial institution that harbors terrorist funds. Arms dealers need to be held responsible. We know who they are and where they operate. Shut them down. And as regrettable as it may be, we need to think hard before we fight enemies that pose little threat to our heartland. Enemies like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As diabolical as Assad is and as antithetical he may be to our beliefs, his regime poses no credible threat to the United States.
ISIS is the one enemy that every right-thinking person─including Americans, French, and Russians─agrees must be annihilated.
President Obama is in Turkey at the G-20 after which he goes to Paris for a summit on climate change. While economic issues on the agenda in Turkey and climate change discussions in Paris are important, they pale in comparison to the ISIS threat. Let us pray that President Obama uses those meetings as an opportunity to build a true coalition and stop being the paper tiger ISIS seems to believe we and our allies are.