Last Friday a group of young men acted to end the lives of over 120inocent people and bring terror to a city. Reportedly members of the group known as ISIS who conducted this attack in response to the French government attacking them in Syria. Of course the French we responding to an attack on a French magazine publisher be the group.
Now there have been the call to release the dogs of war and stamp out ISIS in Iraq and Syria and I think we need to do that. We need to take this war that they have started to them. However we (U.S., France, NATO, or whoever is allied) need to be sure we are prepared to win the peace after we win the war. That is what the U.S. failed to do in Iraq. That part of the world has been held in the grips of totalitarian leaders for so long, we need to teach them how a free society operates. Just because we remove a dictator, we should not expect the people that live there to instantly know how to vote, how to think about voting, or to behave in free and open elections.
After World War II it took a longtime in Europe before Germany and Italy were capable and trusted enough to govern themselves. In Japan the same was true. The culture of violence, political corruption and tribalism in the area will continue to cause problems unless we plan to win peace. The West helped create this problem by simply drawing lines on the map to break up the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
As I see it, the West has two choices, we can live with ISIS and trade Air Strikes for mass murder of innocent people or we can execute a full for operation to destroy their capability to attack and their will to attack. After that, we must plan and have the political and popular will to occupy those areas for the next 5 or 10 years to stabilize and educate the population. We cannot declare the countries “sovereign” unless they truly are ready to govern themselves and be a part of the world community, not just for a time sensitive photo opportunity. This will be a challenging time and it will be expensive. I think at this point we do not have a choice, we have to act to protect ourselves and our allies.