What turned the world community into such a pack of cowards that America is stuck time and again with the decision on how to deal with Muslim extremists? We question whether we are worse off for ever getting involved in Iraq. Did anyone stop to consider that seeking justice for extremists is the root of the problem? Sooner or later, the world community is going to have to adopt a no tolerance stance towards radical Islam. To do that, justice will have to be set aside. What is it going to take to get us there?
Political solutions won’t eliminate Muslim extremists.
Political solutions only work when there is a will to carry them out. Secretary of State Kerry admitted that this simple fact spells disaster when things go wrong with efforts to build democratic governments in the Islamic world.
Our State Department has put the U.S. solidly behind fledgling democracies in the Middle East, promising American support we can’t deliver in the face of attacks by Muslim extremists that are too often supported by the people we are trying to help. We pledged support to Egypt before the Muslim Brotherhood took over:
The American people will continue to stand by the people of Egypt as they move toward a democratically elected civilian government that respects universal human rights and will meet their aspirations for dignity, freedom, and a better life.1
Two years later, we were blasted by Egypt’s General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi for turning our backs on his country. Our neglect didn’t prevent him from becoming president.
We also had Syria to support, the nation that helped spawn ISIS:
The United States welcomes the July 6 election of Syrian Coalition President Ahmed Assi al-Jarba, and looks forward to working with him and with his team. We hope to make progress together with President Jarba to prevent the total collapse of Syria into chaos and rebuild its social fabric.2
We’re still working on that mess while taking time to back Afghanistan during their recent elections:
The United States will stand with the Afghan people now and in the future, and looks forward to signing the bilateral security agreement in the period ahead.3
Iraq, the crisis of the moment, was pledged similar support after its national elections in 2010:
In the coming months, we will work together as our partnership continues its transition with the goal of building a robust and long-lasting relationship between our two nations – a partnership that will contribute to growing peace and prosperity in Iraq and stability in the Middle East.4
Four years later, we’re still waiting to see what that promise will bring us.
Five Muslim extremists who shouldn’t be a threat.
The Bergdahl scandal has turned into such a fiasco that we will probably never know the truth. What is more vexing than what the sergeant did or didn’t do is our worry over five Muslim extremists we already had in custody, Taliban insurgents our government tells us are such a threat to U.S. security that their release will be all but catastrophic. If this is the truth and these individuals are so dangerous, why are they still alive? Because justice demands it, just like it requires the dog and pony show trial still in the works for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed over a decade after thousands of Americans were murdered.
Justice doesn’t go far enough.
There is no world community united behind Guantanamo Bay, except perhaps the voices that castigate us for holding terror suspects in detention or resorting to coercive interrogation. The world has lost its nerve when it comes to dealing with Muslim extremists. It is easier to wait on the U.S. when something needs to be done and then lay blame when the solution unravels. We even point fingers at ourselves for going too far or not doing enough. Our government’s failure to live up to its words doesn’t help.
We can’t slip into the trap of blaming U.S. military involvement and the departure of our troops for what is happening in Iraq. The same thing will likely happen in Afghanistan. We didn’t create these problems. Muslim extremists are a product of Islam, not U.S. policy. We did, however, make the mistake of showing support for certain political failure instead of admitting that our goal was to prevent Muslim extremists from gaining more ground.
There was a time when the world community said no to extremism and was willing to set justice aside for the sake of stopping aggression. We used nuclear weapons in World War II in strikes that would be unthinkable today. Is it the demands of international diplomacy, or the fear of tampering with the religion behind so much violence that stays our hand? Political solutions are proving to be losers. Military intervention with an eye to restoring order is a loser, too. The policies we are left with are containment and the absolute refusal to intervene. Most important, we must rethink what justice means when the West is stepped on. When it comes to Muslim extremists, justice isn’t just. It’s weakness.