In the middle of a conversation over Memorial Day weekend my younger son asked: “How do we defeat ISIS and al Qaeda and the Taliban when we don’t always know who we are fighting?”
In traditional armed conflicts, battles are waged among and between nations. When Germany and Italy and Japan surrendered in World War II, agreements were made, hostilities ended, and the rest of us moved on. How do you defeat enemies with no clear geographic, ethnic, or hierarchical parameters?
Last week, the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was killed in a U. S. drone strike. Almost immediately he was replaced, not by one of Mansour’s military lieutenants, but by a religious fanatic—Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada—yet another America-hating zealot. There are simply not enough drone missiles to solve this problem.
In my recent novel, ROGUE MISSION, drones play an important part in the story. As sophisticated as these weapons are, though, they are not the answer to defeating the forces of evil throughout the world. The sad truth is that we must engage them, with boots on the ground, putting the lives of our young men and women at risk. As we know, the various presidential candidates do not want to confront such an unpopular notion, not while they are trying to win votes. And our current president is too weak to do what needs to be done.
The reasons for this difficult reality are evident. These terrorists are cowards. They use deranged people as suicide bombers. They hide in the shadows, cowering in the darkness, waiting for opportunities to murder unarmed civilians, as we recently saw in Paris, Brussels, and throughout Turkey. Currently, Iraqi forces—with the help of U.S. advisers—are trying to retake Fallujah from ISIS, which has inexplicably held the city for two years. How, you may ask, is it possible for ISIS to hold a city just thirty-five miles west of Baghdad for two years? They use children and women as human shields. They hide in hospitals and schools and local neighborhoods where drone strikes and bombings accomplish little and outrage the world at large. These thugs skulk around, preying on the weak, all the while knowing our leaders will not send in troops to flush them out and kill them.
There will never be a traditional surrender, because they have no leadership structure capable of issuing or enforcing such a decision. Moreover, they are religious fanatics intent on destroying our way of life. They treat women like personal property, affording them no right to education, to free thought, to free speech, or to an equal role in society. These murderers have no regard for human life. They truly believe the reward for their genocidal behavior will be provided by Allah in the next life. And, perhaps most important to us here, they believe that the free society we enjoy in the United States is the incarnation of evil, and that we must be destroyed.
It will be impossible to kill them all, that much is clear, and yet that is what we need to try to do. We need to degrade their resources and arms, drive them from their strongholds, and send as many of them to hell as possible.
And that, in a nutshell, leaves us with the only viable solution to our dilemma. The most difficult decision any president can make is to put our military personnel in harm’s way, but the Oval Office is where the tough choices have to be made. And so it should be clear that the only possible path to victory for the United States is to employ the greatest military force in the history of the world go in and destroy ISIS and al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Our men and women in the military have kept us safe innumerable times in the past, and it is unfortunately time for them to make the sacrifices necessary to do it again. It is also time for someone to tell the truth about this.