World War III has started and apparently our government is unwilling to acknowledge it.
Just as now, prior to World War II, efforts were made throughout Britain and the United States to avoid war at all costs with disastrous consequences. We will face the same disaster if we do not face reality immediately.
In the Britain of the 1930's, Chamberlain attempted to appease Hitler until it was too late for Poland and the world. His appeasement increased the death toll from that war substantially.
In the year 2015, the parallels to 1939 are striking. We are in denial. Our nation cannot even give the enemy a name let alone develop the strategy to defeat it.
Face reality America, our nation is at war.
To not deal with Islamic extremists forcefully and on a united front will be disastrous for the world.
Unlike World War II, we have almost instantaneous information on the brutality of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other extremist groups. Recently the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot (story line only — no video out of respect for a fellow serviceman) and the almost nonstop beheadings were available on YouTube and other social media sites. This time there can be no denial of these atrocities as was done with the denial of the atrocities against the Jews during World War II.
As we debate whether or not the enemy are Islamic extremists or not, people are dying, nations are falling, the enemy is getting stronger, and we are becoming numb to the horrific tragedies unfolding before us.
Pursuing the axis of evil was a strategy of President Bush. When President Obama took office that strategy was abandoned. The term terrorist and Islamic extremism were literally banned and terms like workplace violence came into vogue.
President Bush correctly saw the evil for what it was. He understood the enemy. He understood what happened on September 11, 2001. He did something about it.
President Obama on the other hand has focused on a strategy of appeasing his base of support in the United States.
Bombing is not a strategy.
Announcing dates of withdrawal from Iraq is not a strategy.
Announcing dates of withdrawal from Afghanistan is not a strategy.
Announcing that ground troops will not be used is stupid.
Building a coalition of allies is a strategy.
Understanding the threat and identifying it as a threat is a strategy.
Neutralizing the threat is a strategy and desired outcome. There can be no other solution to the current quandary that we are in than to deal with this threat decisively and aggressively.
During World War II, Germany was called Nazi Germany. In much the same way, terrorism in the name of Islam is called Islamic extremism. Islamic extremism is the threat.
Just as in Nazi Germany, and in Fascist Italy and in Fascist Japan, there were many decent citizens of German, Italian, and Japanese nationalities. The decent citizens were overwhelmed by the shore brutality of the nations in which they lived.
During my time in Afghanistan and Iraq, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know many Iraqis and Afghans. These individuals were more than willing to fight against tyranny and Islamic extremism. However, the moment President Obama announced dates of withdrawal, he sealed the fate of those willing to resist the Islamic extremist.
While in Iraq I was shown videos of what Saddam Hussein and his minions did to the Iraqi population. We have no frame of reference in this country of such brutality. To this day those videos are a stark reminder of how evil people gain control of others.
Announcing the withdrawal from any nation before the conflict is over or what military options you will and will not consider, you have sealed your fate and lost the war.
To complicate matters, the executive branch has declared a peace dividend and started to demobilize American military forces before the war has truly begun. This is national suicide.
The strategy to defeat Islamic extremism is extremely simple.
Islamic extremists must know that the United States in this battle until the end. The extremist must know that we will fight with our allies to include Muslim nations as one force to defeat a common enemy.
Covert military forces would be used and would include our own Special Forces, Marine Force Recon, Navy Seals, 93rd Wing U. S. Air Force as well as the CIA and our allies special forces.
Special Forces provide a much smaller footprint for the enemy and are specially trained for counter insurgency operations. They are the right force at the right time.
We must also recognize that protecting our national treasury is our mission and the terrorist's objective.
We must be smart about fighting this war and be prudent in how we spend our limited resources. We must fight insurgencies with counterinsurgency tactics.
When we combine words and actions and show a national intent to defeat the extremist, the terrorist base of support will evaporate rapidly and the decent people in the affected nations such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia will understand that they have an ally they can rely upon and trust to help destroy terrorism from within.
The Islamic extremists can be destroyed. Nothing, however, will happen until we acknowledge that we are at war whether we like it or not.
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com and twitter at @fryan1951.