The Boko Haram Bully Needs a Beating, But….

The Boko Haram Bully Needs a Beating, But….

—Oct. 16, 2015

President Obama Wednesday announced that the U.S. is deploying up to 300 military personnel to Cameroon for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations against the militant Boko Haram terrorist group. In making the announcement the White House emphasized that personnel would not take part in combat operations and would be armed only for self-defense.


So, what’s the point in sending soldiers somewhere unless they’re going to fight? Sure, “intelligence,” “surveillance” and “reconnaissance” might make a difference in helping the multi-national coalition that’s fighting the al Qaeda offshoot…. But does it not mark yet another lack of resolve in defeating the terrorists? Is it not a half-hearted effort (or perhaps 1/33-hearted)?

Not that there aren’t “political realities” that need to be considered in such engagements. For example, the deployment of too many troops could alienate the local Muslim population and lead to increased Boko Haram recruitment. Or the increased U.S. presence could lead to Boko Haram seeking even closer ties with any number of Middle Eastern Islamists. Or, and more likely, both.

True enough, but the coalition fighting Boko Haram seems to be losing ground, and the Americans are arriving on the scene like a penknife-armed cowboy rushing into a shootout. Why even bother?

Why does America of late jump into most of the world’s conflicts with limited resolve? Sure, we’ve had our moments, such as the 1983 Invasion of Grenada, 1989 Invasion of Panama, Desert Storm (until the coalition “objective” was met) the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan (until the terrorists grew hard to find), and the initial attack of Gulf War II. But that resolve proves so limited in other cases. Think of Beirut in 1983 when Reagan pulled out after the Marine barracks truck bombing. Somalia in 1993, when Clinton pulled out after the Blackhawks were downed. And the Middle East in general.

Here are a couple of answers that we know of: The Vietnam complex, in which our presidents are exceptionally wary of losing U.S. boys in foreign wars, and numerous pesky political realities. Such realities can include the lack of any U.S. political or economic interests, a lack of a well-defined and easily identifiable enemy, lack of local conflict area support, lack of friendly logistical support, fears of escalating a conflict, and fears of antagonizing either nearby friends or enemies (if not both), among others.

And granted, these political realities most definitely need to be considered. But if you’re going to fight, you generally can’t just throw one punch. Nope, when you take on the bully you keep punching until he’s down and then you tap him a few more times to make sure that he’s received the message loud and clear that “you don’t f—k with me!”

Other than Grenada and Panama, America really hasn’t done that since it took on Japan and Germany in World War II. And the rest of the world knows it.

Those American boys going to Cameroon…sure, they’ll do some good. But the bully will undoubtedly remain standing and still be cause lots of trouble. Those American boys staying in Afghanistan until 2017, as announced yesterday by Obama? Yes, they’ll do some good too, but that Taliban bully ain’t going anywhere. ISIS, al Qaeda, and any number of other Islamic groups that America is scrapping with? Same thing. In fact, all those soldiers might as well be walking around with targets on their backs, as the “insurgents,” or whatever their moniker-of-the-day is, know that if they’re patient and slowly pick off a few Americans here or there, the politicians back in the American homeland will likely lose resolve and bring the boys home.

Bottom line is if we’re going to fight, we need to actually fight–kick the living snot out of the bad guys. If the political realitiesVE-DAY-Picture force a limited resolve in this regard, then why should we even bother. But if such realities allow for the fight, but complicate a continued presence, then why not take out the bully and let those countries behind those political realities clean up the mess.

And if the politicians back home are worried about a black eye or loss of teeth (i.e, loss of American lives), well then we’d best stay home and not even contemplate a fight…let someone else deal with the bully.

So, what do you think–should U.S. soldiers even bother taking on the Boko Haram bully with such limited resolve? Hash-It-Out!

—Originally published Oct. 16, 2015 by Hash It Out!

What is the Appeal of the Islamic State?

What is the Appeal of the Islamic State?

–June 29, 2015

And a big “Happy Anniversary” goes out today to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as one year ago today he and his righteous followers put the world back on the path towards salvation.yosemite-sam

Say what? And Abu who?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed Grand Poobah of all Muslims, who was declared caliph of the Islamic State’s conquered territory on June 29, 2014. This new caliphate represents the eighth or ninth one in Islamic history depending upon your views regarding the legitimacy of the caliphate of the 400-or-so-year Ottoman Empire. But whether one believes that the last caliphate ended in 1924 or sometime in the 1500s, the emergence of this new caliphate is groundbreaking and its one year anniversary must be reason to party like its 1999….

Or not.

More likely the Islamic State is celebrating the anniversary with an increase in its usual day-to-day activities that it conducts to revere Muhammad and Allah. You know, beheading apostates and foreign infidels, shooting prisoners of war, burning spies, stoning adulterers, enslaving women and children, and just generally making sure no one has any fun at all.

“Allah Akbar,” Baby!

What’s the deal with this Islamic State? Three years ago no one had even heard of this group, and its abbreviated initials seem to constantly change, as Islamic State as been referred to as ISIS, ISIL, ISI and, most recently, just IS. Three years ago Al Qaeda and the Taliban were the baddest-ass Muslims in the land, but now Islamic State makes those groups look like two lost-in-the-woods Boy Scout troops.

In three short years, IS grew from a barely recognized rag-tag militia fighting against the Syrian government into one of the most powerful guerrilla armies in the middle east. An army and a self-proclaimed Islamic government that had captured large sections of Syria and Iraq, and inspired terrorists acts around the world. A movement that is also drawing large numbers of recruits from around the world, both those wanting to fight from within the caliphate and those seeking martyrdom abroad.

What is the appeal? Why are Muslim youth around the world flocking to the IS cause?

Al Qaeda offered its recruits 97 virgins in the after-life, but IS doesn’t even mention virgins in its propaganda. There is mention of the possibility of slave girls in this life to worthy Islamic State fighters. But are Islamic boys that hard up that they’ll give up everything for a remote chance at bedding an infidel slave woman?

Maybe…. What with most Muslim woman out of sight due to burkas and hijabs, and Muslim women definitely out-of-touch until marriage, well, can you say “sexual tension?” And nothing like a good fight to alleviate some of that tension.  Shooting prisoners, lopping off heads and the like probably provides the equivalence in tension release. And if done well it could lead to that infidel slave girl.

What else can be considered appealing about the Islamic State? How can Muslims, youth or otherwise, find it appealing on a religious or intellectual basis?

On a religious basis Islamic State only allows an extremely narrow interpretation of Islam, and failure to abide by this Flag_of_the_Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levantinterpretation marks one as an apostate subject to death. In fact, most of IS’s victims thus far in its short history have been other Muslim’s who follow the wrong interpretation of Islam. In fact, if you’re a Shi’ite Muslim, you might want to think twice before heading off to the the Holy Caliphate, as Islamic State doesn’t take kindly to those of the Shia Muslim faith.

On an intellectual basis, well, you’d better be prepared to devote all energies to Allah, because intellectually that’s all that matters in life.

Sounds like fun, eh?

Allah Akbar! 

–Originally published in Hash It Out! on June 29, 2015