Some pundits argue that because we were “looking for WMD” that Iraq was a different war, and therefore the war on Iraq wasn’t about the War on Terror. I agree that is a good argument, but for me it just isn’t persuasive. What is persuasive is that Al Qaida, regardless of franchise, form, or location, is the creature of an ideology. That ideology is what we’ve been fighting for lo these 13 years, and we’re still fighting it today. We were, and still are, concerned that WMD, that includes bio, chemical, and nuclear weapons or components, can be proliferated from regimes like Saddam, or Assad’s, or even “little” Kim in North Korea. Missile technology, and other weapons have most certainly followed that course. (Ask anyone in Israel.)
Now looking at ISIL, I hear some say that it just isn’t that serious or large of a threat, and that this is all media driven. Again, let’s look at the facts. Sure, it can be argued that the Al Qaida “prime” was more adept at global terror operations, and that ISIL is more of a thug conventional force limited to a region of the world. Still, this to me is merely a variation on a theme. The skill sets that made Al Qaida Prime dangerous have also proliferated from the elements of Al Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. If you think that the disagreements between Shia and Sunni will keep them off our shores, then again, that notion is delusional. Certainly, nobody questions that in our own country we disagree about how to do things, but that doesn’t make any of us less American, nor does it mean we can’t come together against a common enemy. Face it, the one time the Shia and Sunni populations don’t have a problem coming together is when you raise the question of Israel, or the US, or even the West for that matter. Again, we get back to the common ideology of all these groups/franchises, and while it is inconsistent with the actual teachings of a real religion, it is consistent with a tribal mentality of “us vs. them.” While ISIL and Al Qaida may have taken the Islamic religion as their basis for their actions, it still boils down to the reality that so long as that ideology of hate exists, then we will be threatened.
President Bush noted that this was a danger, and that it would be a long, often unseen war fought around the globe. I think history is now showing this to be correct. He has spoken of the Axis of evil, and guess what. We’re now seeing that all Presidents, regardless of political affiliation, will likely be dealing with this for quite a while into the future. If you really want to see it end, then I suggest we work on the elimination of the ideology, since that is the root cause of what I see as the continuation of the War on Terror! How to do that will always be a source of discussion. In the end though, we can either eliminate it through education or through force, but make no mistake, it must be eliminated. ~ Michael S. Pauley