Rules of Engagement

The restrictions on our military to deal with ISIS are so limiting that the rare boots-on-the-ground soldier needs permission to load his rifle and a virtual nod from Obama to fire it.  The litany of approvals necessary for a drone strike on ISIS traverses several levels of command. And can take hours. Or days. Civilian casualties are verboten. A civilian casualty can make the front page of the New York Times.  An injured squirrel makes page 6. 

Let’s fast backward to World War II.  Germany carpet bombed Allied cities with impunity.  Japan decimated Asia.  So the Allies narrowed their eyes, pulled out the stops and smothered the Axis cities with ordnance.  75 million people died in 6 years. Most civilians.  But few American civilians.  The War ended and today, Germany and Japan are America’s BFF’s.

In my post of October 11, 2014, I referenced the swift, brutal and crushing efforts made by America against bad guys during that terrible conflict.  These were acts of our parents and grandparents.  And they won big time.  When I read that in the aftermath of the slaughter in Paris, French and Russian planes struck “ISIS headquarters and training facilities,” I wonder – what has America been doingWhy haven’t we hit these targets beforeWe gave France and Russia the intel!  The current threat is real and imminent.  Yet the President remains a deer frozen in the headlights on foreign policy.  He refuses to say the word “Muslim” with respect to the enemy.  Yet ISIS and Islamic jihadists have murdered tens of thousands of innocents.   With millions more on the list. . . . . 

I wonder what would our parents and grandparents have done given the current situation.  How would things go with Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry Truman sitting in the driver’s seat of America?  


In World War II, 70 to 80 million people were killed.  In six years.  The Germans carpet bombed cities in Europe with impunity. Rotterdam, Warsaw, Wesel, Leningrad, London, everyone.   Everywhere.  Military targets were prime but then the Germans thought that killing civilians would sap morale. Anyone that got in the way – men, women, children – died in the rubble.  Japan slaughtered 20 million Chinese.  80% of them were civilians.  In response and retribution, American and British forces narrowed their eyes – and carpet bombed German and Japanese cities with relish.  Tit for tat.  Plus two nuclear devices.  A black horrific whirlwind of destruction and violence.  Brutal.  Vicious.  Effective.  Civilian casualties were the vast majority.  The world swam in blood.   And the allies read about it and rejoiced in it — if it was our enemies who were getting killed.   At the end, Germany and Japan were crushed.  Devastated.  And they capitulated.  Today, Germany and Japan are America’s BFF (or at least GFF’s). 

I read with great sadness about the murder – by ISIL militants – of Samira Salih al-Nuaimi – a young woman lawyer from Mosul.  Samira was at home with her husband and three children when gunmen broke in and hauled her away.  She was brutally tortured and savaged for five days.  And then murdered.  Her crime?  Criticizing the destruction of religious sites by ISIL and questioning aspects of Islam. 

The world has dealt with terror for years.  But not effectively.  And over the last few years terror organizations are well-funded, stronger, spreading and growing.  They are frankly all over.  Cancer.  There are talks of impending attacks in Western Europe.  And America.  When you read about Samira – and the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of innocents like her who have been murdered by this growing army of Islamic jihadists, and when you contemplate their intentions, you have to wonder if a return to the tactical mindset of the Allies in World War II might serve the world more efficiently.  And effectively.     


What is “evil”?  There are dictionary definitions (“morally reprehensible” “a complete absence of – or opposite of – good“).  There seems to be a general consensus on what is “good” and what is “evil.”  And this consensus crosses religious, ethnic, geographic, political and racial boundaries.  And yet there remains evil.  We read about it every day.    

In looking at our world today, most folks would agree that there are all too many organizations which fall under the definition of “evil.”  ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria); Boko Haram (the radical Muslims – Hausas – in Nigeria); Hamas in Gaza (especially the military wing); Al-Qaeda; Hezbollah; and so many others are veritable killing machines.   They are dedicated to (and often glorify) murder, kidnapping and torture.   They are dedicated to getting their own way.  Anyone who gets in their way is toast.  Interestingly most of the terrorist organizations today are Islamic.   And curiously many of these terror groups are at odds with each other (witness the vicious conflicts between Fatah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the 72 sects of Islam).   We also see the abyss of evil in places like North Korea and in things like crime and exploitation. 

It is instructive to note is that most purveyors of evil and their members avow that their task is holy.  Their goals are honorable.  Their objectives just.  Their enemies are evil.   And that’s the rub.  How does one deal with such logic?  How do you rationalize the recent comments of ISIS killers that they feel “closer to God” by brutally torturing enemies?  You can’t.   We can speak out (I wish moderate voices of Islam would object to the current strife).  We can react.  Respond.  But in the end, I think the answer is that every once in a while, there is a large international commode that is full – and needs flushing.