- The duty of a president is to craft policies based on what is realistically possible. The duty of a citizen in a democracy is to demand that he do so. As such, all policies must be ruthlessly subject to this question: Accepting the goal, can it be achieved?
In general, when there is a gap between a policy and reality, reality will win. Wishful thinking can hide the gap for a while, but in the end, a price must be paid.
I would propose that the US can prevent terrorist attacks by crushing radical Islamist organizations and intimidating others who might follow. However, the cost in lives, wealth, and time would be staggering.
There are 1.7 billion Muslims. Islam’s jihadist strand is organized into groups like the Islamic State. These groups are capable and sophisticated in both the covert arts and more conventional warfare. They are ruthlessly pursuing their goals. IS is not being defeated, as the White House has claimed. The head of the CIA conceded this last week.
The jihadists are fanatical in their commitment and, therefore, can be defeated only by measures such as those that broke the Germans and the Japanese fanatics. That means accepting a massive increase in American force and possibly even a draft. It also requires the acceptance of many innocent civilian deaths. Believing it can be otherwise is, in my opinion, wishful thinking.
Banning guns and blocking borders is psychologically satisfying but an illusion—a victory of the imagination, not reality. Defeating Islamist terrorism involves defeating the organizations that encourage and enable it.
That will require a mammoth effort. If we are not prepared to make the effort, we must consider leaving the region and perhaps accepting the idea of the caliphate.
We are now in, what is most charitably described as, a “holding action.” One we cannot win. At best, we can maintain a stalemate until we tire… and then we’ll be defeated.
We can commit to all-out war or abandon the field. Anything in-between leaves us trying to boil away oceans.
Opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of the poster