World must unite against ISIS threat

KPC News Service

On Nov. 13, an exhibit recalling the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America opened at the National Military History Center in Auburn.

At exactly the same time, France was experiencing its equivalent of 9/11 when terrorists sponsored by the Islamic State group (ISIS) killed more than 130 people in Paris.

France responded with bombing raids on key ISIS targets in Syria. We can hope that much more will follow — that France, all of Europe and the entire civilized world will use the attacks on Paris to come together in determination to end the threat from the Islamic State group (ISIS).

The United States and numerous allies responded to 9/11 by putting al-Qaida on the defensive in its homeland.

The strategy succeeded in one important measure — preventing another major terrorist attack on American soil for the past 14 years.

At the same time, U.S. leaders made many miscalculations in Afghanistan and Iraq. We cannot repeat those errors in dealing with the Islamic State group.

We learned that winning in a traditional military sense was the easy part. In Iraq, we accomplished that in a matter of weeks with relatively low losses to American forces.

America’s military is unmatched in its ability to win a conventional war — a purpose for which it is superbly trained and equipped.

In the wake of 9/11, the United States was not prepared to become an occupying force in Afghanistan and Iraq for more than a decade.

Our leaders did not prepare us for it politically, either — although our best minds should have seen it coming.

While it’s apparent that air power from the U.S., France and other allies won’t be enough to defeat ISIS, a huge deployment of American ground forces in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIS is the wrong approach. Additional special forces from the U.S. and a coalition of allies would be welcomed. The U.S. already has a small band of special forces working in Iraq.

The U.S. strategy of pushing Russia and Saudi Arabia to force a ceasefire in Syria between the rebel forces and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also worthwhile.

If successful, all forces could be aimed at everyone’s enemy — ISIS.

What also is needed is more coordinated efforts to prevent the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq who are supporting ISIS.

Whatever we do in response to Paris seems certain to extend beyond the 2016 election.

As we choose America’s next president over the next 12 months, we should put a high value on finding the candidate who would make sure our focus of defeating ISIS and protecting Americans from terrorists is a top priority.

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