Thursday, February 5, 2015


Something extremely important has happened in the Middle East. President Obama has been advocating the principle that Muslims must be the ones responsible for stamping our extremism in their ranks, something so obviously simple that people overlook it. On the other hand, people like John McCain declare President Obama is not providing leadership. For him, if the President does not bomb, bomb, bomb something somewhere, as he wants to do, means he is not providing leadership. Against a growing opposition, the President has said “no U.S. boots on the ground” in the Middle East including Iraq and Syria. He was instrumental in organizing a coalition of Arab nations to join militarily in the fight against ISIS, not only Arab nations, but Sunni Arab nations. This is looking ahead. For example, if we arm the Kurds in their battle with ISIS, we overlook the fact that the Kurds are also battling the Iraqi, Turkish, and Syrian governments; after the fog of war clears and the smoke settles, who then is our ally? However, if these nations and groups are involved in the fight it is their problem. We can not provoke Muslims to clean their  own house of terrorists, they have to do it. That is bold, insightful, leadership. Obama is sticking to his operating principle and it is paying off.   

ISIS publically executed Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, a “coalition” pilot from Jordan, in a most grisly way. This drew a reaction from around the world. In the United States and in Europe, the people reacted with such nonsensical ways as showing hate for all Muslims by banning burkas and the like. ISIS leaders want all Christians to hate all Muslims and all Muslims to fear them. Obviously, within the context of Muslim nations in the Middle East, it makes no sense to hate all Muslims but it does when it comes to instilling fear.  The objective of having no U.S. boots on the ground is to provoke Muslims to fight against extremist in their midst; therefore, what ISIS has done was accomplished Obama’s objective.
All of a sudden, the death of a pilot at the hands of ISIS, as horrific as it was, has changed the entire world picture. The Muslim world is not holding the west as their principle enemy, they are now focusing on extremists in their midst. It could not be said better nor said in a more appropriate place than this: the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat headlined its coverage of this burning death with a single word: “Barbarity.”

There is still danger in the United States. Islamic extremist will continue to provoke us to do battle with acts of terror such as backpack bombings, but thanks to the effects of the intellectually grounded Obama policy, the bulk of their hate has shifted to ISIS. Nevertheless, if we heed the emotionally grounded advice of tough-talking killer John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and right wing accomplices, we will keep stirring up more Islamic hate for us. There seems to be a principle, “it takes two to hate”. In this case, it is McCain and company versus ISIS. Obama’s leadership has put us on the “right” road to take care of ISIS, now he has to rely on “ we the people” of this great nation to take care of the war-monger “right” at the ballot box.

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