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Target the Terrorists, Worry About Assad Later

Nov 18, 2015

Target the Terrorists, Worry About Assad Later

It’s disturbing that for some of my congressional colleagues and other government officials, even as ISIS makes known its imminent plan to attack the American homeland, we must relegate these terrorists to secondary status.

First, they say, we must rid Syria of the odious dictator Assad. With that mass murderer out of the way, then we may turn to checking ISIS off the list.

This fails to grasp the emergency at hand. It betrays a failure of strategic thinking.

No, I’m sorry, but our number one enemy is not Assad. It is ISIS – better known in the Middle East as Daesh – and we must immediately focus on these enemies of our civilization, partnering with whoever shares an interest in extinguishing these marauders. French President Francois Hollande understands the urgency if many of Washington’s talking heads do not.

Forget Assad for now. Target the terrorists who are training their killing machine on us.

Yes, that means not just forgetting Assad, but laying aside worries about Putin. Russia’s jets have been pounding ISIS strongholds for days. That’s a good thing. Why do American decision-makers nitpick the less-than-perfect Russians while Russians kill those who would kill us?

They fret that the cunning Putin is setting a trap for us. What that trap is, exactly, they fail to say, but they could as well argue that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin set a trap for us when we aligned with him – vastly more terrible than Putin – to defeat Germany’s Adolf Hitler seven decades ago.

To be sure, the postwar Yalta Treaty did constitute a trap, in which we ceded to Stalin half of Europe for nearly the rest of the 20th century. We will need to be stronger negotiators in a post-Daesh era, but our hand will be strengthened if we work with Putin now.

The other grave fallacy gripping the Assad Firsters is that working at this moment to topple him will create one more power vacuum in the Middle East. We might have learned that lesson when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sent Libya’s Khadafy to his certain death in a desert ditch.

That was a gift to radical elements, who were as a result able to overwhelm the reformers – as they were never able to do under Khadafy.

The direct result of the decision to get rid of Khadafy was radical control of half of Libya and, yes, the slaughter of our ambassador and his security team. My colleagues should rethink their talking points and avert another Benghazi in the sands of Syria.