The recent barbaric murder of James Foley by a cowardly cur hidden by a black mask confirms that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is a criminal group and not a nation. Its “so called” fighters spread terror and death throughout the region through robbery and murder.
There are reports of child executions in Mosul and ISIS thugs threaten to kill all Christians that refuse to convert to Islam. These brigands looted the banks in Mosul and took millions of dollars. The international community should halt any transactions with banking institutions connected with Iraq and Syria.
Foley, an American journalist, reported on life in war-torn areas before being kidnapped two years ago. A foreign fighter with a British accent was videotaped beheading the young man a few days ago. James died with dignity and courage under horrific conditions and his death must be answered.
A French journalist, Didier Francois, who was held with James, called him a “real man” who endured mock executions and beatings before the savage murder. Francois recalled how James could not be broken by the kidnappers. President Obama addressed the nation and confirmed that the U.S. has sent more military advisors to Iraq and stepped up air strikes against ISIS.
American air strikes helped Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces recapture the Mosul dam from ISIS. There have been at least 90 air strikes in the region but that is not nearly enough. The murder of an American citizen by criminals, no matter where it happens, should be punished.
There must be a known cost for such an act. One hundred air or drone strikes for every American murdered by ISIS would have a practical and symbolic effect on other criminals. President Obama wants the U.S. military role to be limited but that doesn’t mean the intensity or method of retribution cannot be forceful.
Air strikes do not have to be precise if directed at military forces in desert areas. The U.S. should use heavy bombing with “dumb” bombs and cluster munitions on ISIS forces in open areas.
The world is not acting to stop the murderous activity of ISIS. If the U.S. must act alone, then let it act swiftly and with terrible power. The Yazidis and Chaldean, Syriac Orthodox and Latin Christians all have lived in Iraq and Syria for over a thousand years but now are threatened with extermination by ISIS.
The barbarism and violence perpetrated against James Foley and civilians in Iraq and Syria have roots in socio-economic and political problems in the region. However, that does not foreclose retribution for criminality. Otherwise, it is an invitation for every criminal to flock to the black banner that mistakenly claims infanticide, genocide, robbery, rape and murder may be committed in the name of religion.
We should develop a strategy to prevent the next ISIS or al-Qaeda but any strategy must recognize these groups are not just organizations but expressions of frustration caused by a failure of change in their own societies. Change sometimes requires violence but that violence should not devolve into wanton criminality like that in Iraq and Syria today.
We must take strong measures to punish criminality but any retribution must be carefully delivered to avoid being painted as oppression. We must maintain a dialogue with moderate groups looking for social change while we protect our citizens and innocents.
America has been a hero to most of the world at one time or another, and we can retaliate against crimes without demonizing a religion or a nation, and without becoming like the murderers we want to stop.