Every day, there springs up another dreadful reminder of how terrorist groups are international threats that must be crippled or destroyed.
The latest hits close to home – a videotaped message to “freelance” terrorists to strike mid-America and mid-Canada by perpetrating acts of violence at the Mall of America in Bloomington and the big mall in Edmonton. That message was produced by al-Shabaab, a terrorist group in northeast Africa.
It’s tempting to want to believe terrorists are localized thugs “over there” who will eventually be defeated by those they oppress, in their own regions. But we should have learned such a viewpoint is wishful thinking. The attack perpetrated against this country on 9/11 was a wake-up call. Since then, terrorists or their freelance minions have struck with sickening violence in London, Madrid, Ottawa, Sydney, Paris, Copenhagen and many other places far and wide.
What is so disturbing about these groups, ISIS especially, is they use the Internet as a recruiting tool. What is even more disturbing is so many young people not only buy into their messages but actually travel toward Syria to join their cause – a “cause” that amounts to nothing more than butchery in the name of a medieval notion of conquering the world and killing or converting anybody who isn’t just like them. Can’t these recruits understand instantly what a vicious group it is? Don’t they see they are rushing headlong into misery, abuse, murder or suicide?
The latest video recruitment “ad” released by ISIS is the most disturbing, in some ways even worse than the beheadings and the torching of a pilot. The video shows a school of boy soldiers doing military exercises in front of a school building, supposedly the next “generation” of ISIS fighters. After being indoctrinated in their “schools,” these poor kids will be used as cannon fodder in the ruthless assaults waged by ISIS in its “religious” war against civilization. Some religion! President Barack Obama is correct in denouncing ISIS as having no legitimate claims to Islam, other than trying to revive the butchery of “holy wars” of so many centuries ago. Such throwbacks to violence should not dare to call themselves religious in the world of here and now; they are power-mad killers with delusions of grandeur.
The only thing that is going to “degrade and/or destroy” ISIS is if this much-heralded coalition comes to fruition. ISIS must be countered at every turn by others from Middle Eastern countries, by Muslims and others who have been and will be the victims of their violence on their own turfs. That is going to be problematic, at best, considering the age-old hatreds between Sunni and Shia Muslims. And, lest we forget, Shia militias have committed many atrocities of their own against Sunnis in that region, giving rise to ISIS extremism.
It’s interesting that it was the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot – not so much the previous beheadings of Americans, British, Japanese – that so enraged Jordan and other Mid-East factions against ISIS. The mass-beheadings of Coptic Christians was another grisly reminder people in that region had better unite against such barbarians at their gates. Both videos (and the new one featuring boy soldiers) could mean their heinous video “ads” are backfiring against them.
In the meantime, the U.S. Congress best drop stupid partisan disputes, fund the Homeland Security program and start working together, with the president, to build an international coalition against this encroaching evil.