Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has laid it out there.
The monsters who killed journalist James Foley comprise a group that surpasses any terror organization Americans have seen since the war on terror began.
We’re in for yet another fight for our lives. We’d better get ready.
This, I submit, is what we got when we declared war on international terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
“They’re beyond just a terrorist group,” Hagel said. “They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.”
Hagel is referring to ISIL. They’re fighting in Syria against an enemy government and in Iraq against a friendly government. They’re vowing to bring the fight to the United States, which prompted Texas Gov. Rick Perry to suggest this week that the terror organization might already be lurking in this country.
I’m not going to suggest that we shouldn’t have declared war on terrorists after 9/11. They struck hard at us on that Tuesday morning in New York and Washington and we responded as we should have done.
Matters worsened when we invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the false premise that Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction that they would use against us and Israel.
What now? Do we re-enter the fight in Iraq with ground troops? Absolutely not. Do we invade Syria? Again, no.
President Barack Obama is deploying significant air power against the terror organization in Iraq. Reports indicate the strikes are working. Yes, the war must continue for as long as monsters keep killing innocent people.
Critics of the current strategy should recall the lessons of Vietnam. We fought tooth and nail there for nearly a decade. We left eventually and the communists took control of the country we fought to defend. We can commit ground troops in Iraq until hell freezes over, leave that country and the chaos we’re witnessing today will erupt.
What’s the solution?
Intense vigilance here at home against forces that seek to harm us. Yes, keep up the attacks on the Sunni extremists whom Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey describes as “an organization (that) has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision, and which will eventually have to be defeated.”
The question remains: How will we know — in this new age of open warfare — when our enemy is beaten?