By Sal Bommarito
America has reached a seminal moment in its dealings with Islamic radicals. These terrorists are now stronger than ever throughout the world, and confrontation is inevitable. Our government must develop protocols for how it responds to acts of violence directed at America, its citizens and its allies.
The Arab Spring has in effect given extreme groups an opportunity to gain political power and exposure very quickly. The immediate impact has been a significant rise in violence and greater recruitment of terrorists. This phenomenon is prevalent in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Palestine; these countries are experiencing significant distress in which Islamic extremists are playing major roles.
The problems within these countries are exacerbated by insurgency, Shiite provocateurs from Iran and its allies are disrupting Sunni led governments, and Sunni troublemakers from Saudi Arabia are making it difficult for Shiite leaders. One needs a scorecard to keep track of all the players.
But, radical Islamic groups are increasing the stakes by wantonly attacking innocent westerners in the region. James Foley, an American journalist, is the latest casualty. Radical elements beheaded him, allegedly because of American military action in Iraq, as the U.S. protects Iraqi Kurds. The purpose of the atrocity is clear; the terrorists want to infuriate the American government and frighten our citizens. These types of crimes against humanity should lead to extreme and deadly responses from the West.
Many people are dying unnecessarily in the Middle East; Foley is only one person. Yet, his execution has deep meaning and should be responded to, not with platitudes and marshmallow rhetoric without teeth. America should react aggressively with force to send a message that we will not cower from disgusting acts of cruelty and murder. President Obama’s comments and his response to this point have been inadequate. Significant military action is necessary.
The Israeli government has historically responded to violence against its homeland and citizens with even greater violence. This is the only language that terrorists and criminals understand. The fury with which we respond should be multiples of the crimes committed.
Ordinary citizens are not privy to the precise military and political circumstances in the Middle East. But, many believe the president should respond with a heavy hand. A great conflict is percolating. The West and Islamic radicals are on a collision course. America must lead the West in its response to violence against innocents. The cost of such a response is a mere pittance of what the impact will be if we fail to act with authority.