What's next after attacks in Paris?
It’s taken a few days to digest the carnage that took place Friday night in Paris, courtesy of the Islamic State. The death and injury toll and the specific, gory details of what happened, where and how, have been aired, posted and written repeatedly. We won’t revisit them.
People have gathered across the planet for organized vigils or just to shed a few tears. They’ve left flowers, candles and French inscriptions, often some riff on a sign that’s prominent right now in the battered City of Light: “Nous N’avons Pas Peur” — “We Are Not Afraid.”
Fans at football games paused to remember what happened. Facebook is filled with profile pictures overlaid with the colors of the French flag — and an assortment of memes featuring historic and heroic people or fictional characters of the past, purportedly poised to do battle.
France has taken care of that for real by bombing ISIS training and munitions complexes in Syria, and by rounding up people connected to the terror cell believed to be responsible for the attacks. That’s a rational and completely justified initial step.
What comes next?
People want to know because, signs to the contrary, they are afraid. There’s a reason terrorists go by that name.
ISIS has become a special case because of its savagery that goes beyond human bloodshed. Consider the list of centuries-old historical artifacts it’s reduced to rubble on its rampage through the Middle East, trying to erase all remnants of the past as it seeks an unimaginable future.
It’s again striking outside the region. There’s no doubt it will seek to do so again. What can be done to prevent that?
There are no quick or simple solutions. Declaring war, shipping in thousands of ground troops and dropping tons of bombs won’t defeat this enemy.
What’s needed is precision military action, like France’s, against specific, identified targets, and an acceptance that collateral damage most likely can’t be prevented.
What’s needed is intelligence gathering and black ops by people willing to go into incredibly dangerous situations and risk their lives for a righteous cause.
What’s needed is a bleeding dry of ISIS’ financial resources, and we’re not overly concerned with the legalities of how it’s done or what other countries feel the pinch.
What’s needed more than anything is a unified acceptance by the rest of the civilized world of the level of this danger and the need for action.
The United States doesn’t need to pull the entire load, but it’s got to be involved and prominent. President Barack Obama talks a good game with regard to ISIS but his response to the Paris attacks — calling it a “terrible, sickening setback” — shows the detached, unemotional attitude that’s typified his presidency.
We don’t expect screaming and bomb throwing, just moral leadership in the country and world. It’s part of the president’s job description. And he needs to put this item at the top of his to-do list.
Reprinted from the Jacksonville Daily News
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