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Seeing clips of that 22-minute video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot, one wonders: Who would be drawn to the cause of these barbarians who perpetrated such an atrocity?
While the video might firm up the faith of fanatics, would it not evoke rage and revulsion across the Islamic world? After all, this was a Sunni Muslim, in a cage, being burned alive.
As of now, this cruel killing seems to have backfired. Jordan is uniting behind King Abdullah's determination to exact "earth-shattering" retribution.
Which raises again the questions: Why did ISIS do it? What did they hope to gain? Evil though they may be, they are not stupid.
Surely, they knew the reaction they would get?
Several explanations come to mind.
First, ISIS is hurting. It lost the battle for Kobane on the Turkish border to the Kurds; it is bleeding under U.S. air attacks; and it is stymied in Iraq. It wanted to lash out in the most dramatic and horrific way.
Second, ISIS wants to retain the title of the most resolute and ruthless of the Islamist radicals, a title temporarily lost to al-Qaida, which carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. This horror has put ISIS back in the headlines and on global television.
Third, ISIS wants to pay back King Abdullah, a Sunni and descendant of the Prophet, for joining America in bombing them.
Fourth, this may have been a provocation to cause the king to put his monarchy on the line and plunge Jordan into all out war against the Islamic State.
For history teaches that wars often prove fatal to monarchies. In the Great War of 1914-1918, the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns, the Romanovs and Ottomans, all went down.
The terrorists of ISIS may believe that stampeding Abdullah into fighting on the side of the "Crusaders" may prove destabilizing to his country and imperil the Hashemite throne.
For, though Jordanians may be united today, will they support sending their sons into battle as allies of the Americans and de facto allies of Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran?
There are reasons why Sunni nations like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have not committed more openly and decisively to the war on ISIS, and instead prod the Americans to send their troops to eradicate the Islamic State.
To many Sunni nations, Assad and the Shia Crescent of Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut are the greater threat. Indeed, until recently, as Joe Biden pointed out last October, the Turks, Saudis and United Arab Emirates were providing clandestine aid to ISIS.
Biden was forced to apologize, but he had told the truth.
Which bring us back to the crucial issue here. While King Abdullah is a trusted friend, Jordan has been best able to serve its own and America's interests by staying out of wars.
Lest we forget, Abdullah's father, King Hussein, refused to join the coalition of Desert Storm that drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.
In February 1991, President Bush charged that King Hussein seems "to have moved over, way over, into the Saddam Hussein camp." In March of 1991, the Senate voted to end all military and economic aid to Jordan. But the king was looking out for his own survival, and rightly so.
Hence, is it wise for Jordan to become a front-line fighting state in a war, which, if it prevails, will mean a new lease on life for the Assad regime and a victory for Iran, the Shia militias in Iraq, and Hezbollah?
Critics argue that after making his commitment to "degrade and defeat" the Islamic State, President Obama has provided neither a war strategy nor the military resources to carry it out. And they are right.
But this is just another case of the president drawing a red line he should never have drawn. While U.S. air power can hold back the advance of ISIS and "degrade," i.e., contain, ISIS, the destruction of ISIS is going to require scores of thousands of troops.
Though the Iraqi army, Shia militias and Kurds may be able to provide those troops to retake Mosul, neither the Turks nor any other Arab nation has volunteered the troops to defeat ISIS in Syria.
And if the Turks and Sunni Arabs are unwilling to put boots on the ground in Syria, why should we? Why should America, half a world away, have to provide those troops rather than nations that are more immediately threatened and have armies near at hand?
Why is defeating 30,000 ISIS jihadists our job, and not theirs?
With this outrage, ISIS has thrown down the gauntlet to the Sunni Arabs. The new Saudi king calls the burning of Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh an "odious crime" that is "inhuman and contrary to Islam." The UAE foreign minister calls it a "brutal escalation by the terrorist group."
Let us see if action follows outrage.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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Pat, I wish you would enter the early presidential debates next year. It would be more difficult iin early 2016 televised national debates to exclude you as our owners did during W's coronation in 2000. At least one last rally through South Carolina could help inspire the younger generation that is unaware of any other options than duopoly.
I agree with PJB. The US should allow ISIS to grow, however barbaric its behavior, the one caveat being that we ought to arm various rising Christian militias in the Nineveh Plains, as well as give aid to the Kurds along with advocating the creation of a separate Kurdistan. First, the major interest in containing ISIS belongs with the locals, not us. Let them do the dirty work (and it will be dirty: ISIS will not be defeated by airstrikes, but only "boots on the ground"). We must get the world accustomed to solving problems without Uncle Sam's constant aid. Second, the longer ISIS lives and the more outrages it perpetrates, the more it puts Western multiculturalists, especially the European variety who say things like "Islam is part of Germany" [Traitor Merkel], on the defensive. ISIS can serve as a wonderful bogeyman to be deployed in arguments about Muslim immigration (which can easily segue into declarations against all genetico-culturally unassimilable immigration). Third, ISIS is so repulsive that it is even having some slight awakening effect on liberal Usual Suspects (and beautifully unsettling even the unflappable and odious Obama). Fourth, as ISIS lives it acts as a magnet for all sorts of unstable Muslim types. This in turn can further the psychological distance between European and Muslim, which is necessary if the West is to survive. ANYTHING which worsens relations between Christians (along with Jews) and Muslims is, ipso facto, to be encouraged. A great clash of civilizations between the West and Islam is coming. We should be preparing for it by modernizing our militaries; ending Muslim immigration; passing anti-Islamic legislation wherever possible; relentlessly delegitimating the presence of Islam in the West; expelling Turkey from NATO and the EU (and recognizing the Armenian Genocide as part of this anti-Turkic campaign of delegitimation), and shuttering US military bases there; and mentally preparing our people for eventual global religious war.
Oh come on, Pat. On trillions of occasions, Americans have done far worse than that. However, since Americans are cowards, they usually drop napalm from planes on large areas, burning hundreds of civilians (and a few of the "enemy" alive.
Who is more to be emulated and admired Obama, who uses drones to throw rockets at folk--who of course are innocent since they never have been tried in court--not caring if he also kills the guy's wife, infants, old grandmothers, goats, and sheep.
(1) Any thing the IS warriors have done, American soldiers have done far worse. (2) IS was created by the Bush's totally illegal and not need attack on Iraq. Learn what the word "blowback" means.
(3) Obama's reference to the Crusades was an insult to anyone who knows even a smidge of history. What is relevant here is that crusaders could take over for a while because the Arabs were fighting each other. However, when they managed to be briefly unified, they drove out the invaders in 1295 and remained free of Christian domination until the 1870s, Who laughs last laughs best
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