The Islamic State (usually called ISIS) and the other advocates of Shariah law are growing rapidly, along with their zeal to eradicate or convert all “infidels.” For those who are asleep at the wheel, in the opinion of these fanatics, most of Western civilization — including America — fits into the infidel category.
I normally encourage conversation and compromise where possible, but how does one negotiate or compromise with someone who desires your elimination? Maybe if you meet some of their demands, they will only dismember you or kill you more slowly. Obviously, the expansion of groups like the Islamic State represents an existential threat to our own nation and our way of life. If ever there was a time to work together for self-preservation, the time is now. There really is no time to squabble about who was right and who was wrong in the past regarding our activities in the Middle East. Our enemies will use every opportunity to divide us and distract us, which will make their jobs of destroying us much easier.
In order to prevail in the war on terrorism, we must have an overall strategy, the goal of which is annihilation of the terrorists, as opposed to simply winning battles with them here and there. This means paying much more attention to military preparedness, both offensive and defensive. That means significantly increasing our covert operations, without blabbing to the world about what we will or will not do. It means cultivating strong and trusting relationships with our allies and never leaving them to worry about abandonment for political reasons. It means helping other countries in the region to realize that they, too, will soon be targets of the Islamic State, which will radically alter their comfortable lives.
When it comes to elimination of those trying to destroy us, we have to be smart enough to realize that we must have airtight borders to prevent easy access for terrorists. Some say this is too difficult. I guarantee that it is easier than trying to rebuild a nation that has been destroyed because we thought logical defense was too difficult. There is no question that unpleasantries brought about by our own forces will be necessary to accomplish our goals and defeat terrorism, but you cannot win a politically correct war.
Our enemies’ desire to establish a caliphate is no joke. Their convert-or-die doctrine parallels some of the social philosophies enforced by the political correctness police in this country. Either you must accept their interpretation of what is moral and correct or the name-calling starts, and they attempt to destroy your business or your reputation. We despise the Islamic State, but do not see the same ugliness in our own tactics. The truth hurts, and it is much easier to ignore it or try to demonize its bearer. Unless integrity, courage and common sense result in the ability to honestly examine our own hypocrisy, we will lose the war of ideas and identity, and the land of the free will become a distant memory.
I’ve been privileged to get to know some incredibly smart and talented military leaders, as well as covert operators and innovative engineers. I am confident that with our talent and faith, we cannot only win this war, we can show the world a better way.
Ben S. Carson is author of the new book “One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future” (Sentinel).