- - Thursday, September 18, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama’s search for a “strategy” to deal with the Islamic State sounds like his and Sen. John McCain’s determination to “get Osama bin Laden.” But with the Islamic State, shouldn’t even the most gullible finally realize that bin Laden’s death hardly constituted victory when we face the first campaigns of a long war against terrorism?

Our real enemy is Wahhabi jihadism, not the latest mercurial, sociopathic prophets emerging from the Wahhabi/Salafi heresy. These teachings justify not only totalitarianism, but also stateless terrorism. This heresy considers Jews, Christians, Sunnis, Shias and secularists as subhuman, legitimate objects for slaughter. It rejects traditional Muslim allegiances to family, tribe, ethnicity and country. The desired caliphate requires no particular human or physical remnant. Therefore, those using terrorist political stratagems become immune to diplomacy, containment and retaliation.

Article 13 of the First and Second Geneva Conventions and Article 3 of the Fourth Convention tell us terrorists are not the armed forces, militias, volunteer corps, insurgents or freedom fighters of any country or authority. They are not an organized resistance movement carrying arms openly, and they have no distinctive identifier. They avoid the rules of war to focus on the torture and killing of protected persons as defined by all conventions. Such cunning, barbaric adversaries best fit Webster’s definition of a virus. Choosing existence beyond the pale means the rules of war presuppose their eradication.

But eradication precludes political theater. Sustained political and military intervention must fracture terrorist organizations and promote representative governments guaranteeing universal speech, religion and private-property freedoms.

NOLAN NELSON

Eugene, Ore.

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