Find plan to fight ISIS

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When U.S. journalists or any other Americans are executed by terrorists in a crude and barbaric attempt to intimidate and terrorize, that act must not stand.

As President Barack Obama said Wednesday after journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded by the misnamed ISIS, or Islamic State — State of Barbarity might be more apt — “those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.”

Yes, our reach is long. But to make it most effective, the United States needs a clearer strategy to degrade and, as far as possible, to destroy ISIS in Syria and Iraq, recognizing that the history of the past 13 years has been that military action alone tends to metastasize terrorism even while eliminating many of its leaders.

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Obama has yet to spell out that strategy in a compelling and understandable way. He needs to do so. …

ISIS is only one of a number of despotic, ultra-religious terrorist groups spawned by al-Qaida that are threatening Americans.

It only is as strong as its supporters and financiers and its growing feedstock of young, hardened jihadi-mercenary-butchers whose killing ways have been honed in such earlier conflicts as Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia and Yemen — but, worryingly, now also being recruited in Britain, the United States, Canada and other Western countries.

To counter ISIS, the United States needs a long-term plan for how to engage not just allies in this effort but also the broader Islamic world and those looking the other way or actively supplying various factions in these conflicts, whether Turkey or Russia or Iran.


The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer