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Defining the enemy

January 27, 2015

Turn on the TV or check your Twitter feed on any given day, and it feels like this administration is playing pin the tail on the donkey when it comes to identifying our enemies.

“Al Qaeda is on the run” becomes “we are not fighting terrorism, we are fighting Al Qaeda”. We are not attacking Islamic extremists, we are fighting ISIL or ISIS or the Islamic State. You know, the JV team. Political correctness dictates that we not name our enemies or define their motives.

It is as if by not acknowledging evil, we can somehow escape it. It never works out that way.

It was just 70 years ago when the world was forced to confront the horrors of Auschwitz.

Suddenly the world had to accept the human consequences of ignoring the rise to power of an ideological psychopath who gathered a group of like-minded sycophants and set out to exterminate an entire ethnic population to establish his version of a caliphate, the Aryan nation.

The America of the 1930’s was not so different from the America of today. Hitler began his rise to power in the wake of the First World War, when we were still trying to recover economically and socially from the first modern worldwide conflagration. Japan, like the Russia of today, had their national pride offended, walked out of the League of Nations and began devising a way to become politically and militarily relevant again.

People then were dealing with the economic pressures of the Great Depression, and families were living with the ruined shells of the fathers, brothers and sons they had sent to war just a generation earlier. The country was just as tired of war then as it is today.

It was far easier to let leaders prattle on about preserving international peace than to contemplate another great war. It was far easier to believe that the League of Nations could actually accomplish its mission to preserve world peace, even though the U.S. never formally joined that body. The magnitude of its failure was defined by the Second World War.

In 2015, we seem to be sitting at a similar crossroads. Once again, the nations with the most to lose seem to have the least interest in avoiding an instant replay of WWII.

Humans have an amazing capacity to rationalize away anything they don’t want to confront.

It is so much easier to ascribe the actions of terrorists to unemployment, social isolation or even economic inequality than it is to believe that a large segment of one part of the world simply wants us dead.

The face of our enemy is clear. Our understanding of why we have to deal with that enemy now is not.

Some have compared our strategy relative to terrorism to playing whack-a-mole. That leaves one wondering if perhaps we should call in a pest control company instead of the government.

On second thought, strategically that isn’t such a bad idea. Most pest control companies try to define the boundaries of the infestation and then attack the whole thing, not just one ant hill or gopher hole.

In a politically correct attempt to not label anyone or anything terror-related, perhaps we should attack “psychopathic homicidal-ism”. True, that isn’t a real term, but apparently nothing about the threat is very real either.

One of the reasons the world feels so chaotic now is that we seem to be suffering attacks from a whole host of enemies.

In reality, the unifying structure behind Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS, Boko Haram. Hezbollah, Hamas and all the other chapter names is what, for want of a better term, you might call violent religious zealotry.  In this particular instance, radical Islamic zealotry.

It’s odd how easily some of our liberal politicians can lump Americans under one label because it suits their ends. Our leaders have no problem identifying America as a hotbed of racist extremism, or as homophobes, misogynists or whatever term plays into the currently popular agenda.

For some reason, that ease disintegrates when defining our enemies on the world stage.

Apparently, its more convenient and vastly more profitable to oppose a war on women than it is to admit that the various faces of our enemy all seem to fight under one black flag.

Considering that in addition to the radical Islamic component, we have Russia trying to set up the same scenario in eastern Europe that Hitler did in the 1930’s, it might behoove us to define the theaters of war a bit more realistically.

It took Pearl Harbor to jolt us back to reality in 1941. Given that the 21st century weapons of war  have become harder to shoot down than a Japanese plane, maybe we’d better get our act together now rather than later.

From → op-ed

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