Why has all the attention and all the priorities been focused on fighting ISIS, mobilizing a regional and international alliance for the purpose, with the disclaimer that this war is going to last for years?
This may well be Obama's last chance to change the widespread perception of being weak and indecisive, and restore America's image as the indispensable global leader because only the US can lead the battle against ISIS to a successful conclusion.
The US and its Allies have military superiority over ISIS, but using million dollar missiles to blow up hundred dollar tents represents a bad net-exchange.
Americans' commonplace view of ISIL, al Qaeda, and similar groups is one of irrational, hateful savages wreaking havoc as they bomb, rape, and pillage. This view is not wholly mistaken, but it overlooks the causes of this poisonous ideology of Jihadism.
The appeal of the Caliph's simple end times narrative forms the foundation of an Islamist movement which is driving men to commit unthinkable acts of murder, genocide and suicide attacks against strangers with different religious beliefs.
Ritualized IS beheadings tee-us-up for defeat to come. Suddenly confronted with the power and horror of sacral death -- which we are deeply receptive to and yet not equipped to understand -- we move, reflexively, like the monarchies of the 1790s, to simply destroy the bacillus.
Syria was intolerable long before ISIS existed. It was so intolerable that brainwashed Syrian schoolchildren like me -- Christians, Muslims, and all other faiths -- have grown up to free their minds and sacrifice their lives by the thousands for a free Syria. The international community ignored our cries. Now that the Islamic State is in the picture, the world is paying attention to Syria again. As the world fights the radical presence of ISIS, they must keep in mind that Assad and the Islamic State are two sides of the same coin. They are both brutal, bloodthirsty murderers. If we destroy ISIS now, another ISIS will quickly emerge. I believe that the only way to destroy ISIS is to destroy Assad too.
As columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote: "They know that illiteracy, ignorance and oppression of women create the petri dish in which extremism can flourish." Not always. The young men are not just graduates of the infamous madrassas, some of which are in Syria, Pakistan, and Nigeria and teach a narrow version of the Koran and not much else. Still, the lack of educational opportunities around the world, where 58 million children are not in school and 10 million child brides are married off each year, contribute to the appeal of radicals. It is hard to oppose judicious airstrikes in the short-term. But helping refugees, particularly the three million Syrians in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, get proper schooling is vital. Otherwise the bombs will reign for decades.
Finding them isn't hard. Reading their litanies of untruth, so concocted as to spread the maximum terror and mistrust and discontent, is not an arduous undertaking. I would advise against it.
Panetta doesn't spell out just exactly how big a U.S. military presence he says should have stayed in Iraq. That's the first question he leaves dangling. And there are others. What would they actually do once there? Namely who would they fight?
Ayn al Arab, or in its Kurdish name Kobani, has become a symbol of the fight against ISIS, but why, really? This is a dusty city on the Syrian-Turkis...
My latest trip to Syria last month was different from all the other trips I have previously made to my country. The previous trips when I visited the refugee camps were joyful, optimistic and hopeful. The refugees continuously reassured me that they had a commitment to building a new and better Syria. This most recent visit was different.
Investing in domestic water security has obvious benefits, from national security of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks to mitigating the ongoing drought in California.
President Obama announced a new American war this month, but it didn't resonate in his polling much, if at all. Overall, his poll numbers dropped, but the net result was rather flat.
ISIS is a bipartisan cause. This president needs and deserves help. Before the congressional mid-terms, time to bring in seasoned, mature reinforcements to help President Obama do the job he pledged the American people he would do without U.S. boots on the ground: destroy and defeat ISIS.
Ending childhood hunger won't solve the problems of the world, but the values we embrace can: lifting up the dignity of every human being, investing in the next generation, sharing strength so that everyone has a role and stake in America's future.