ISIS – Live With It
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, July 10th, 2015 @ 9:27PM
President Obama’s attempt to minimize the threat posed by the Islamic State begins with his reluctance to identify the enemy by its name, “Islamic Caliphate.” Instead he calls it ISIL.
Richard Barrett, a former head of counterterrorism at Britain’s MI6, who also served for nine years as the co-ordinator of the UN’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team (2004-2013), in an article in the Independent UK claims we cannot destroy ISIS. Instead, he argues incredibly that in fact ISIS brings order and justice and that it is our fault that so many young people (he doesn’t say Muslims) are eager to join it. “Isis projects a strong identity and sense of purpose and it appeals in particular to people who lack both; it offers them the opportunity to be part of something new, regardless of their gender or abilities…The policy challenge is therefore not to seek the destruction of the caliphate so much as to promote its transformation into something that the Syrian and Iraqi people, along with the rest of us, could live with.”
He goes on to lament, as Obama often does, that “It is a sad comment on our own society that a limited but significant number of young people – and most recruits to ISIS are in their late teens to late twenties – cannot readily identify a better outlet for their energies and aspirations at home.”
From someone of Barrett’s stature, this is astonishingly naïve. ISIS rule is totalitarian in the extreme. The notion that ISIS rule is just and justice is “more evenly applied” is ridiculous. If an ISIS-conquered part of Syria or Iraq appears to be stable and quiet, it is the due to a degree of oppression that the Gestapo and East German Stasi would have envied.
Barrett thinks the West will be able to dissuade ISIS from using “violent extremism” in its striving to establish the global Islamic Caliphate. But not everyone agrees. At the Pentagon on Monday, French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian said that ISIS is no longer a terrorist group. Although it uses terrorism as a tactic, it is not really a terrorist organization at all. In his view, ISIS is, by now, a pseudo-state led by a conventional army, and should be treated and defeated as such.
He is right. This, however, contradicts Obama’s vision of a new world that accommodates everyone on an equal footing, one where everyone must deal with one another via “mutual interests” and “mutual respect.” Politics, religion, history are irrelevant in this ideological challenge to “violent extremism.”
However, defeating the Islamic Caliphate’s military forces is the “better idea” Obama is looking for. And liberating the territories it has captured and brutalized would help defeat its ideological claims and diminish its appeal to large numbers of Muslims.
Unless the Islamic Caliphate is obliterated soon, Western civilization and the historical monuments that document its development will be destroyed and the West will be faced by growing Islamist violence.