President Obama likes to claim that anybody on the world stage who disagrees with his philosophical truths or refuses to act in the manner the President approves is simply acting in a manner which is unacceptable in the twenty-first century or remaining in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. This was his response to Russian President Putin’s actions provoking violence and using provocateurs instigating situational conflict which would demand and facilitate Russian intervention allowing the reabsorption of the Ukraine once again by the Russian government. This has also been his latest accusation against ISIS and their beheading of American photojournalist James Foley which they claimed was a message and a threat being issued to the United States. Where I really do wish that President Obama’s proclamations were valid and actually applied to our world in this the twenty-first century, the popularity of the first Saw movie which spawned a complete series of follow-on Saw films may be a closer commentary on the state of appetites and morality than President Obama’s expectations. Meanwhile, there was a pair of photos depicting a hooded youth decapitating a doll presumably showing support for ISIS and their murder of James Foley. The implication of such a pair of pictures on Twitter is that while in the United States there is a sufficient market for gruesome films depicting the torturous death or deaths of victims of sadistic captors, the story-line of the Saw series, a series my son claims were great and entertaining cinema, proves that perhaps there are those among our populations whose taste bends somewhat to ad absurdum and sadistic violent content. Whatever such might define about our society, the popularity of such proves that there are all sorts making up our own societies, so how can we make statements about what other cultures find acceptable which do not strictly apply to our own peoples. That is part of the absurdity of the President’s commentary on the gruesome decapitation of photojournalist James Foley.
The rest of President Obama’s statement included a reference that the future belongs to those who build and not to the destroyers. Sometimes leaders make statements which sound fantastic but only serve to prove they either have no knowledge of history or are simply making grand and sweeping statements simply to sound optimistic and provide a reasoned approach which does not require actions, especially if they are reluctant to use military force even in the most dire of situations. There are numerous examples throughout history of how those who espoused violence and sewed destruction were not only victorious but left a great swath of smoldering ruins in their wake. Such was the result of the Mongol hordes sweeping westward out of eastern Asia and across the Middle East finally stopping at the eastern edges of Europe. The Roman Empire eventually became builders over the stretches of their empire but initially the advance of the Roman Legions meant that your city was very probably going to be destroyed and still lose the battle. Further, becoming some of the greatest builders of their era did not prevent the fall of Rome and Rome fell to barbarians who spread destruction in place of Roman building. The one consistency that many an archeologist will tell you is that many of their excavations find ruins and charred remains and other signs of violent end which put an end to whatever building the previous society might have been performing as part of their growth factors. Yes, the most advanced nations are typified by building rather than destruction, but that does not make them survivors into the future against those who are willing to use violence as a means to their ends. The civilizations which became successful builders also built strong armies with the most advanced weaponry of their period and only when they reached the point where they came to believe that they were so dominant that they no longer needed to build sizeable armies, or even worse, that they could hire others to fight their wars and guard their borders for them that these civilizations fell, often falling to the barbarians who were given access to the soft underbelly of the advanced empire by those very same guardians they had hired to keep them safe in place of manning the border walls themselves.
Losing the will to fight to retain ones society is by far the fastest route to destruction. In the recent past former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, addressing the Israel Policy Forum in 2005 stated the absurd announcing, “We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want that we will be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies.” This defeatist attitude prevailed through the administration of Ariel Sharon which was responsible for bringing the catastrophic Israeli disengagement from Gaza in August of that year. The refusal to remain strong and act boldly but rather to claim that Israel would rely on building the future and that their answer to terrorism and violence perpetrated against the state by building more houses which many believe is the reason that there have been three wars with Hamas including the present situation since those dark days. Thankfully those days are behind us and hopefully the future will elect those ready and willing to do what is necessary even in the face of a world demanding Israeli surrenders as the answer, the same demands which led a series of tired Israeli leaders to attempt retreat to end Palestinian terrorist violence. That did not work all that well as even many who approved of the surrender path to peaceful coexistence by Israel were soon to realize. One wonders how long it will take for the people of the United States to realize the falsehoods of these platitudes about builders defeating the destroyers. The destroyers, especially those who believe that a beheading best represents their position and is an acceptable means of expressing your beliefs and threats to your enemies, are not intimidated by building of anything other than an army capable of ending their reigns of terror. The United States has the military might and the capability to strike down ISIS if only the will to do so is realized and acted upon. Unfortunately the United States appears to have grown tired of fighting, tired of being courageous, tired of winning, and tired of defeating their enemies. President Obama desires honestly to want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with those enemies, even ISIS. Unfortunately, those enemies which include ISIS do not desire a different or new approach to relations; they simply desire to destroy everything built by the builders.
Beyond the Cusp
What would be the response from the leadership and citizens of the other NATO nations say if they realize that it would take only a small amount of effort for terrorist fighters while training to enter Syria could be granted passports from the NATO country where their training was conducted? This is not just some silly figment of an overactive imagination but an actual potentiality which may have already been realized. One must consider that one of the aims of ISIS and those assisting their Jihadist nightmares is to implant sleeper cells within European nations and especially within the United States. ISIS had made repeated references and threats to carry out attacks on the United States even more deadly than the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Towers, Pentagon and a foiled assault brought down by the actions of the passengers in a determined and desperate breaching of the cockpit over a field outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ISIS Leader and self-proclaimed Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was a former prisoner held in the United States run Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq released by President Barack Obama in 2009. His release was likely part of the winding down of the United States efforts in Iraq and simply part of the preparations for the closure of the detention facilities. Still, there are those who claim that his time spent in United States custody is behind his deep seated hatred and is what had fueled his burning desires to take revenge against his captors and the entirety of the American people. But how does al-Baghdadi’s hatred for the United States and the West in general translate to the possibility that ISIS trainees were possibly provided with passports from a NATO nation which would make their entrance into any European NATO country and from there possible ready access to the United States? That is where things get interesting and also affirm those who have suggested that Turkey’s membership in NATO be revoked as Turkey appears to have joined the jihadist efforts and turned against the core beliefs and mutual interests of the rest of the NATO alliance members.
The proof comes via evidence produced proving that Turkey has acted as a clearing house and operated training centers for future ISIS members and new recruits. Walid Shoebat has posted a video “showing the ISIS training centers in Turkey” on August 20, 2014. <a href=http://shoebat.com/2014/08/20/leaked-video-isis-training-center-turkey/</a> Walid Shoebat reported that “as far back as March,” there existed ISIS “training centers in Orfa, Ghazi Antab and Antakia (Antioch) set up by the Turkish government for more terrorists to be sent to Syria.” Within the video one hears the speaker calling to “Destroy and blow up our enemies, victory is near…young men, enroll, land and win…young men it’s our religion attack with your weapons and win…spread throughout the earth and raze the strongholds of the unbelievers.” This video makes a mockery of the claims by United States, European and other Western leaders who have yet dared to identify ISIS threats by their proper title, Jihadist terror. The most egregious example of oversimplification and missing the mark was the recent statement by President Obama stating, “The ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings…people like this ultimately fail. They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.” Additionally, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey stated that, “ISIS will only truly be defeated when it’s rejected by the twenty-million disenfranchised Sunni that happen to reside between Damascus and Baghdad.” Such a naiveté which completely ignored the hundreds, if not thousands, who have flocked to the rallying cry declaring ISIS to be the new Caliphate and their apparent invincibility presupposes that a sizeable number of those twenty-million Sunni living between Baghdad and Damascus have not already joined ISIS if for no other reason than to survive and follow what they perceive as the strong horse. The few bombings which have assisted the brave and seasoned Kurdish Peshmerga Militias gain a routing to relieve some numbers of the besieged Yazidi and to retake the Mosul Dam has at least made a small start at turning the front around but it will take far more of the same continuing over a prolonged time-frame, something which President Obama may shy away from with the midterm elections approaching this fall.
As far as the distant future of ISIS one can only believe that they have overstretched their ability to hold supply lines and command and control coordinating their forces and thus will not be able to push further in the immediate future and may even face serious pushback providing Western nations, especially the United States, will continue to provide air support and provisions to keep the Kurds and potentially the Iraqi forces capable of continuing to operate at their full potential. For such a sustained effort it will be necessary for President Obama to face both the Congress and the American people and give a full accounting of the extent and the reasoning for the partial return of United States military efforts in Iraq even if these efforts are restricted to only air support and provisions to arm those fighting ISIS on the ground. Should there not be an effort by President Obama to express the United States intentions to fully support the forces engaging ISIS in Iraq to the American people then it is very probable that he does not intend to continue with the air strikes for much longer which would place the entire weight of support most likely on French and British air squadrons and the resupply might prove to be beyond anyone other than the United States to provide thus very possibly stymying any efforts by both the Kurds and the new Iraqi government. Such a failure would prove short-sighted and would lead to a disaster in the making. ISIS received a huge logistical advantage when they swept into Iraq and the Iraqi forces fled the battlefield leaving their supplies and literally tons upon tons of United States front line weaponry including armor, assault rifles, trucks and munitions enough to keep ISIS supplied for a respectable period probably extending a few months into the future. This is the minimal period for which those fighting against ISIS will need to be furnished with weapons, munitions and air support. Should ISIS not be contained in Iraq then the future of the region will be questionable and something the Western nations should be motivated to avoid. Further, it should become a top concern for Western intelligence resources to investigate whether any ISIS or other jihadists who were given training in Turkey by the Turkish government were provided with Turkish passports and if so, the names on the documents would be critical need to know information in order to protect their borders and homelands. This will be made all the more difficult as the United States as well as much of the rest of NATO have very poor and shallow intelligence within the jihadi ranks and even less human intelligence operatives in place and infiltrated into the ranks of ISIS. Further, relying on Turkey to be forthcoming would be a fool’s errand and a waste of Western efforts and resources. NATO should operate under the assumption that Turkey has joined with the jihadist forces and is no longer a reliable ally. Their membership in NATO needs to be reviewed and probably suspended for the safety of the rest of the NATO nations.
Beyond the Cusp