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Pietros Maneos Headshot

ISIS Delenda Est

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'Beware the man with one book' - Thomas Aquinas

'When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home
Let him combat for that of his neighbors;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and Rome,
And get knocked on his head for his labors.

To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And is always nobly requited;
Then battle for freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hanged, you'll get knighted' - Lord Byron

ISIS must be destroyed is the English translation to the title of this essay, which is an allusion to the Roman statesman, Cato The Elder's, famous maxim, 'Carthago Delenda Est' - Carthage must be destroyed. The phrase reflects Cato's intrinsic belief that Carthage could not be appeased or pacified through peace treaties or half-measures. He understood that Rome's only proper course of action was to annihilate Carthage completely or be vulnerable to destruction itself. Carthage was finally razed to the ground after the Third Battle of Carthage in 146 BC by the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus, with salt sown upon its lands to prevent it from ever rising again. It never did.

We, members of western civilization and avowed descendants of many Roman principles, face an implacable enemy today akin to what the Romans faced many millennia ago. Our enemy is Islamic fundamentalism, with its most recent incarnation being ISIS, a more barbaric cult than even Al Qaeda. Of late, ISIS has had tremendous military success, sweeping through vast swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, seizing towns, slaughtering many, and establishing Sharia law throughout its holdings.

The most dangerous aspect of ISIS is not its recent military successes however, but its ambitions. It is not simply content to be a regional player, publicly beheading or crucifying Assad, and then subsequently holding onto a well defined mass of land; rather, ISIS longs to establish a world wide caliphate - raising its black flag of Tyranny in Jerusalem, Rome, Paris, and Cordoba with its grandest dream being to fly its flag triumphantly from the balcony of the White House. Granted, the whole premise sounds like it was concocted by some popular novelist or Hollywood screen-writer, but I believe that we should take our enemies at their word, not simply on their present military capability. Who would have thought in 2000 A.D. that a few men from the caves of Afghanistan would bring about the destruction of the Twin Towers just one year later? Who would have thought in Germany in November of 1923 A.D. that Adolf Hitler, the leader of the failed Beer Hall Putsch, would eventually seize supreme power?

While I applaud President Obama for authorizing military airstrikes against ISIS, I do feel that we should do more, most especially with our special forces. Presently, our special forces are engaged in a noble humanitarian mission in Mount Sinjar, endeavoring to save 30,000 Yazidi refugees from starvation and slaughter, but once this mission has been accomplished, they should remain to fight with The Free Syrian Army led by Hadi Al Bahra. If we properly support the Free Syrian Army with money, weapons, training and the like, they are capable of not only weakening Isis, but vanquishing them entirely. Mr. Bahra confirms as much in his recent Wall Street Journal essay: 'The Free Syrian Army is the tip of the spear in the fight against Islamic State terrorism. If properly enabled, our opposition forces have the experience and personnel to turn the tide on the ground. Together with the US, we can end the suffering in Syria.'

It is imperative to act not only with severity, but with haste. Many experts believe that ISIS has approximately 10,000 fighters, but what will this number balloon to in 3 months, in 6 months, in 1 year, if Isis continues to seize city after city? Foreign fighters inspired by its many victories will continue to pour into its ranks. Would it not be wise to engage a force of 10,000 men instead of 100,000? At present time, Isis is drunk with its success and brimming with confidence - we must attack this confidence and military optimism by beginning to retake towns and cities from them immediately. Let them suffer the agony of defeat as they now enjoy the ecstasy of victory.

Yet, the question remains, is the American public fatigued with the prospect of another war, especially after enduring the lengthy campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we have the fortitude and the foresight to seize the day before our freedom and our security is seized from us? It is quite concerning that the American and European intelligentsia seem to have reserved their passions for censuring our ally Israel instead of confronting ISIS? And to this point, it would not surprise me if the Israelis, not the Americans, take the lead by opposing ISIS with martial eloquence, thereby defending the sacred principles of Freedom and Democracy from the philosophy of barbarism and tyranny that ISIS represents. In closing, ISIS delenda est.

-Pietros Maneos