By Vincent J. Truglia
As my long-term readers know, I am a great supporter of realpolitik, or using diplomacy and/or the military to support a country’s national interests. As a result, I did not support efforts to get involved militarily in Syria’s civil war. I have even opposed the use of sanctions against Russia regarding the Ukraine. Until recently I believed that the greatest danger was Iran building atomic weapons. However, when circumstances and facts on the ground change, then policies need to change. In this case, I now fully support the use of military force by the US and NATO to destroy the so-called Islamic State.
As an analyst of both economics and politics, over the years I have learned to try to read between the lines, so to speak, regarding official government statements and the reaction of the major press outlets. When I first heard about the beheading of James Foley, I was of course, appalled. However, I was surprised about the press coverage, and the obvious anger in the tone of official statements by the Administration. I believed there was more to this story. I was especially surprised by the blockage of video coverage of the act. After all, only a few weeks ago, there was widespread coverage of an 8-9 year Australian boy, whose father is a jihadist, holding the head of a Syrian soldier, with the child having a broad smile on his face. I knew there was something likely more appalling in the original Foley video. Normally, I abhor looking at such things, but I wanted to get behind the obvious emotions officials discussing the event appeared to display. I assumed that YouTube took the original down, so I looked for someone who might have uploaded it before it was removed from the site. After searching for quite a while I found it. It is truly disgusting to watch, and explains the great anger of anyone who saw it.
Warning: A Very Graphic and Disturbing Section Follows
You have all seen the rigged speech of Mr. Foley, and idiotic remarks of his executioner. What you likely didn’t see is how James Foley was killed. The savage executioner grabbed his head and held Foley’s mouth closed tight, and then began not by swiftly cutting his throat – gruesome as that would be – but rather began sawing his head off starting in the front of his neck. Since Foley couldn’t scream because his mouth was held closed, you can hear a deep moan and grunt coming from him. It was meant to inflict as much pain as possible. The video didn’t contain the whole process. Given how the savage executioner was killing him, it probably took a long time. Then the video ends by showing Mr. Foley’s head lying on his chest.
We have all read about the hundreds of Syrians and Iraqis who have been beheaded, but until you see it up close and personal, it is just an event happening in a far off place. We know how the Islamic State operates. It has a small army, but has learned to use terror as a tactic. In my mind, they are an Islamic form of Nazism at its worst. Instead of being a member of a master race, the Islamic State demands adherence to a particular form of Islam or death in as cruel a manner as possible. They have been known to bury alive woman and children who wouldn’t convert. They must be stopped before spreading their violent terror. Even the head of Al-Qaeda, no angel himself, has called upon the Islamic State to stop its violence. The only positive is that almost all Muslims are equally appalled with the tactics of the so-called Islamic State.
Massive Military Force Required
In the end, massive air attacks and arming of the Kurds is needed. Also, since the Islamic State is centered in Syria, despite the general disdain for the Assad regime, anyone recognizing the gravity of the threat to the region needs to recognize that he is far less a menace than the Islamic State and cooperation with him may be needed. He can always be dealt with in the future. Beyond that, even Iran is required to help defeat the Islamic State. As the old saying going, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” at least for now.
If something isn’t done quickly, there is a risk that the Islamic State, which is reportedly well financed by wealthy Gulf businessmen and others, will likely spread even more instability to Lebanon and Jordan, and even possibly to Saudi Arabia.
The US needs to use the full force of our military to do everything possible to destroy the Islamic State. I know we are war weary. However, that is just what the cruel leaders of the Islamic State are counting on.
As always, Clear and Candid.