What can one’s reaction be, other than profound sadness, following the Bastille Day attack on so many innocent people in Nice? What sensible course of action can be taken, other than recognizing that the threat posed by ISIS, is an international criminal conspiracy combined with traditional conventional warfare in Iraq and Syria, and as such, an old-fashioned response of simply declaring war and sending in the troops will offer only a partial solution, or perhaps no solution at all?
For the United States and the West, this third attack on France in 19 months could lead to another perfect storm, another gross overreaction of the same kind that led to the US invasion of Iraq, which in turn led to the creation of ISIS, when the Bush Administration so foolishly let the Iraqi government fall into the hands of the Shia, alientating those of the Sunni faith who then, with nothing left to lose, went off into the desert and created their new power base which came to be known as ISIS.
With the Bush Administration loudly banging the drums of war, the United States marched into the quagmire of Iraq, creating an even bigger problem with ISIS. And now Donald Trump follows that same drumbeat, boldly proclaiming that he would ask the Congress for a formal declaration of war. Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s possibile picks for VP thinks all American Muslims should be forced to swear their rejection of Sharia Law or be deported. In other words, Gingrich would gut the First Amendment, while initiating faith-based witch-hunts in America. His other suggestion, that anyone who visits a website that smacks of Islamist extremism should be charged with a felony, is beyond ludicrous.
Donald Trump’s modus operandi, appears to be ratcheting up rhetoric that draws a response from his audience. If that means appealing to fear and race, then so be it, regardless of the implications for the war on terror. His approach is irresponsible, unpresidential and unacceptable. Simply put, it is an appeal to ignorance.
This same kind of fear-mongering and wrong-headed thinking that led to the invasion of Iraq, serves onlly to feed the fear and misinforation ISIS uses as recruiting tools. It also further alienates American Muslims and others of the Muslim faith around the world whose help we badly need in the ongoing fight against global terrorism.
Mr. Gingrich does not seem to understand that Muslims are also being killed in ISIS sponsored or inspired terrorist attacks. Mr. Trump is apparently blind to the reality that a conventional army can do nothing against an international criminal conspiracy while wealthy extremist Saudis, and others in the Middle East continue funding both conventional ISIS fighters and their unconventional offspring, lying in wait in places like Nice and Boston.
Perhaps the pressure currently being applied to Iran, should instead be turned on the Saudis and others who continue to fund the ongoing efforts of ISIS and its offspring?
This “new reality” so many are talking about, requires, it seems, a whole new way of thinking. A conventional attack on the identifiable battlefields in Syria and Iraq, and a more unconventional attack working alongside Muslims who can help identify ISIS hidden progeny while, at the same time, doing all they can to promote peace and tamp down the fires of hate as their religious past smashes into the present.
Shutting off the money would seem to be a logical place to start, followed by a methodical partnership with those who wish to promote a real solution as opposed to race-baiting and fear mongering by those whose principle interest is in personal political gain.