“War hath no fury like a non-combatant.” –E.C. Montague
Vladimir Putin, in his defence of Russia’s bombing missions against Islamic elements residing in the mountains of northern Latakia, Syria remarked, “These are people who must be directly qualified as international terrorists.” In that one statement alone Mr. Putin has shamed and exposed the inefficacious promises and boasts of Western and UN strategists who have been vacillating between doing nothing and next to nothing against ISIS, the terrorist entity that, although lacking any obvious form of human decency, is commonly condemned by both Muslim and non-Muslim alike for its emphatic willingness to commit all manner of cruelty against those it considers “enemies of Islam.”
What irks me these days are those who spend more time condemning the Muslim world (an umma suffering more loss of life every day from terrorist violence than any other religious group) for its alleged lack of agitation against Islamist terrorism, or excoriating Vladimir Putin for his military “intrusion” into Syria and what may be his less than honourable motives for doing so, than they do exposing Western and Middle Eastern governments for their insensate and languorous inaction while ISIS madmen murder, rape, and torture both Christians and Muslims—primarily defenseless civilians—with complete impunity.
“The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten,” goes the Jewish proverb. And although I consider the ISIS problem an Islamic problem (more precisely, a manifestation of Islam proper), I foresee that for Western governments to forego a more concentrated military effort against ISIS will only induce our so-called Middle Eastern allies to do even less than they do now to deter other Islamic jihad groups within their respective borders from attacking civilian targets in Europe and North America. Those civilians remaining in the war zones of Syria—those who haven’t migrated to Europe to claim a much sought-after refugee status—are, without the benefit of a coordinated, full-fledged military intervention against ISIS, “truly dead” because this world has, at this point, forgotten them. I am not so much against helping “Syrian refugees” as I am impatient for Western governments to pick up the pace in putting down the ISIS plague (which caused the refugee problem in the first place) where it now exists and consolidates. Decerebrate the closed universe of ISIS in the Middle East and you negate the jihadist menace that now obtrudes into the Western world.
Emma Sky, director of the Yale World Fellows, sounds off about ISIS in the New York Times: “We have to deal with the reality of the situation we face today. We cannot simply ignore it and hope it goes away. It won’t. Peace will not come through passivity. And the longer the civil wars in the region rage, the worse it gets, the more countries are destabilized, and the narrower the policy options are….It is critical that ISIS is defeated ideologically as well as militarily.” I agree with her on this point. When the New York Times publishes an article advocating military action against terrorist entities in the Middle East—so very contrary to the many articles it has published by journalists citing Israel’s “disproportionate” response to Palestinian terrorism—you just know that, without a doubt, the Leftists of this world are perhaps beginning to take notice of the escalating problem of Islamic jihad.
BBC News reported on 30 October, 2015, that “…world powers meeting in Vienna agreed to a nine-point plan they hope will pave the way for a ceasefire in Syria – but they remain divided on what happens to President Assad.” The lack of a denouement regarding the matter of “what happens to President Assad” is an example of how Western powers promising hope to the region set upon by ISIS are stymied militarily by what amounts to foolish political imbroglios. John Lucas points out in his book The Radical Twenties: Writing, Politics, and Culture that E.C. Montague (quoted above), was “…probably the first to offer a critical account of the conduct of war: the bland pieties of the church, of the lying distortions of the press, of the shortcomings of the military top brass.” Although I commend his condemnation of the press of his day because of their “lying distortions,” I cannot fathom why Montague disapproved of “kicking a man when he’s down” and why he abhorred those British “non-combatant generals” who rejoiced to see the German soldier enduring the humiliation of defeat. Such unctuous concerns are indicative of how “nine point plan” impasses are generated—impasses that have produced similar refugee problems elsewhere in the world.
I side with the fury of the non-combatant generals: I will rejoice when ISIS is ultimately defeated, and I will especially rejoice to see their ilk publicly humiliated and brought to justice by the ordinary Muslims and Christians whom they have for so long crushed and destroyed by the tens of thousands. Because we are not facing a German Army on the Somme; we are not staring down Soviet Russia in a Cold War: we are fighting Islamic terrorists, and Islamic terrorist have no regard for the living, and even less for “those who have been forgotten.”