People who know I served in Iraq with the U.S. Army often ask me, “You were there, what do you think we should do?”
I think democracy works in the world when we all have input into what our national choices are, so what I try to do is give some benefit of my experience or knowledge to help others consider what they think we should do. What I tell people goes something like this:
- The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS) doesn’t represent Iraq or Syria or their people. ISIS is a self-proclaimed caliphate, a state governed by Islamic Law and by God’s deputy on earth, the caliph. There is no possibility of diplomatic relations because everyone who doesn’t practice Islam by the caliphates narrow and repressive definition, and accept the supreme leadership of the caliph, is the enemy.
- ISIS welcomes armed conflict with all non-believers, especially “the west” as part of an apocalyptic end-of-times showdown between true Muslim believers and their enemies.
- ISIS is funded by oil profits from oil sales to countries around the world.
- ISIS is fueled by disillusioned, disenfranchised and disengaged fighters from around the world, especially Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Jordan, Morocco and France. The rest of the fighters are conscripts from captured territory who have no choice.
- Iraqis and Syrians are a warm and generous people who want the same things we want; to go to work, come home, eat dinner and watch their children play or help them with their homework. They want to live free from terror and violence just like us.
What are our best options? Cut off the head of the beast in the flow of oil. Use U.S. influence around the world to improve conditions for young Muslims and stabilize their countries. Fight terror by resisting fearmongering. Make decisions based on a realistic appraisal of facts on the ground.
These are my impressions. Listen, read, learn and develop your own.
We are all equal partners, it’s all our world.