Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's a Long War and We're Just a Supporting Player

I've noted that the ISIL seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, seems like the high water mark of ISIL in Iraq, at least. ISIL has probably peaked in its appeal in general because its image as the strong horse is faltering. But until the Moslem world gets its house in order, someone else will rise to replace them.

Strategypage notes that ISIL is experiencing a downturn:

The ISIL setbacks are many. In the last year they have lost over 20 percent of the Iraqi and Syrian territory they held at the height of their success in late 2014. Another disappointment is what happened among distant Islamic terror groups that, in 2015, pledged loyalty to ISIL and considered themselves part of the ISIL caliphate. That has clearly not worked out.

These thugs can be beat. It is not true that fighting back just creates more jihadis. Jihadis need success to recruit, and if we kill them and defeat them in the field, that obviously refutes a success narrative.

Sadly for another left-wing failure to appreciate reality, this rise and now decline (but they are still deadly in decline) of ISIL is nothing that George W. Bush--or even Barack H. Obama--created, when you get down to root causes:

The sad truth is that this cycle of rise and decline of Islamic terrorism has been going on for centuries. It is part of an even more ancient (about a thousand years old) cycle of Islamic conservatism periodically becoming popular and powerful enough to stifle technical, political and economic progress in Moslem states. This is something most Moslems prefer to ignore and discourage open discussion about the problem. That is largely because at its peak, anyone openly criticizing this backwardness is often labeled a heretic or blasphemer and killed.

I do believe that Obama administration errors in Syria (failing to support non-jihadi rebels early to make them the strong horse) and Iraq (leaving in 2011 rather than staying to defend our gains against al Qaeda) gave ISIL the space to rise where it did. But President Obama did not cause the rise of ISIL. That's on Islam.

I will never claim that we can kill our way to security. But killing the jihadis is what we need to do to hold the killers at bay until the Islamic world can resolve this aspect of their civil war in favor of a more modern version of Islam that does not seek to kill those who will not submit to the jihadi version of what Islam should be.

I know the Arab Spring is much maligned these days. But it did signal a hope that Moslems see democracy as the alternative to either autocracy or Islamist rule.

I still hope that seeds have been spread that if nurtured will create a less deadly version of Islam that becomes the consensus ideology of the vast majority of Moslems, leaving the fanatics isolated and marginalized, unable to terrorize the majority into passivity or cooperation in a new jihad that strikes in our cities.