Neverending War on Terror

“Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.”

John Milton


U.S. Sectary of Defense Chuck Hagel, accompanied by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, informed the world that the terror group ISIS were “beyond anything we’ve ever seen and we must prepare for everything.”General Dempsey went on to say, “They can be contained, not in perpetuity, this is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated.”


As part of the growing chorus screaming for decisive action against the terror group, Gen. John R. Allen, USMC (Ret.), who led the Marines in Anbar Province and served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, also called for the destruction of ISIS.


The problem is, they all say what, nobody says how. This leaves the elephant in the room question unanswered: after fighting the ‘War On Terror’ for more then a decade, how does a terrorist group arise, more powerful, more dangerous, and with a hatred of the west more virulent, than Al Qaida ever was. Asked in another way; did the ‘War On Terror’ succeed? Given today’s warnings from Senator Jim Inhofe, and the security alerts issued by the FBI and Homeland Security, the answer might be no, and if that is the case we must ask a follow-up question, why not?


If we stepped into Mister Peabody’s Way-Back machine, and zipped off to King George’s court just prior to 1776, the answer would be obvious. The king might say to Lord North, “ those colonists have this radical idea of freedom and self governance; we’ll contain them for now, but eventually, they will have to be defeated.” Everyone knows how that turned out.


Memo to the policymakers: you can kill people, sure, but you can’t kill an idea! For every terrorist you kill, two, three or four pop up to replace him.


It might be the time to do the jaw clenching, backbreaking, mind numbing work of confronting the ideology that drives ISIS. This is the hard stuff that no one wants to do – easier to drop bombs. But if we don’t do this soon, the cycle will repeat endlessly, and this is not a legacy we ought to leave to our children. If we must fight, open both fronts.