Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Perspective on Issues of our Time - August 25, 2014

By Bill Neinast

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."  This  quote is attributed to Japanese Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto.  There is no proof that he used these exact words after launching the aerial attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  It is commonly believed, however, that they do reflect his thoughts at the time.

Whether those exact words were used is immaterial.  The thoughts they represent were proved to be right on target.  That sleeping giant not only woke up, it jumped out of its liar and laid waste to its enemies in less than five years.

The giant continued to keep its enemies at bay until six years ago.  Then. without any hint of considering its own safety, it snuggled down for another long hibernation.

Even though the beast’s environment continued to heat beyond hibernation temperatures, the beast slept on.  If a disturbance got too noisy outside, the beast would stick a limp paw out and draw a line in front of its lair.

The hunters who wanted to decapitate the beast quickly learned that the lines were just that, lines in the sand and continued to get closer and bolder.

This so called beast is obviously the U.S. that has gone to sleep under orders from President Obama.  His press conference comments on the beheading of American journalist James Foley by a British jihadist indicate that he still believes we are simply dealing with individual terrorists.  His administration, for example, still will not qualify the surviving family members of the massacre at Fort Hood for combat benefits.

He still talks about al Qaeda being decimated and without a head and that ISIS is just a junior varsity.

Thankfully, some in the Administration are beginning to come out of their hibernation..  Secretary  of Defense Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey are now publicly acknowledging that we are facing a serious crisis. 

Thursday, Secretary Hagel painted a new and more dangerous picture of the threat that ISIS poses to Americans and U.S. interests. He now believes that ISIS is more dangerous than al Qaeda and stated that 
the group "is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group,"

At the same Thursday news conference, Chairman Dempsey said that detering ISIS will require addressing "the part of the organization that resides in Syria."  He believes its long-term vision is "the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and al-Sham includes Lebanon, the current state of Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait."

He added that, "If they were to achieve that vision, it would fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East and create a security environment that would certainly threaten us in many ways." 

Now we have al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbolla, Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen among others with both the intention and means to do tremendous damage to America and Americans.  Reviewing that list brings into focus a picture of  the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology.

The Hydra was a serpent with so many heads an artist could not paint all of them into a picture.  When one head was cut off, two more grew back.

Isn’t that exactly what is happening in the Middle East.  Cut off one head like Osama bin Laden and two heads like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood grow back.

Obviously, beheading the monster will not work.  The only way to stop the serpent is to drain it of its blood and stop its heart.

In this case, the blood is the money and materiel flooding into the hands of the terrorists.  It is coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and other wealthy nations.  The supply might be cut off if there were enough pressure from other nations.

Organizing and applying the tourniquet will require a strong leader respected by all the other nations asked to help.  Unfortunately, we have not had a leader like that for six years.

So here’s the perspective.

A strong leader in the White House would recognize that the international hydra threatening this country is much more serious than the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri.  He would be on the phone or in Air Force One continuously to meet with and cajole other world leaders to staunch the flow of money and material to the hydra.

If that leader were recognized and appreciated by the world’s other leaders as a man of conviction who could be trusted to do what he says, there would be a good chance of stopping the heart of the hydra.

Unfortunately, the best we can hope for in this country at this time is that such a leader will move into the White House in January, 2017.
Will we be able to survive for two plus years without such leadership?

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