The extent of the evil perpetrated by the “Islamic State” in Iraq against religious minorities is mind-boggling. It is the sort of thing the world has not seen in many centuries. ISIS has buried Christian children alive, cut a child in two, and crucified others. They have beheaded innocent people and then displayed their heads on pikes. They have killed all the men who refused to convert to Islam and then raping the women before selling the girls into slavery. Others have been forced to convert to ISIS’ brand of Islam or to otherwise leave their homes and all their possessions behind. Christians have been forced from territory they have occupied continuously for two thousand years. It is not just Christians receiving this treatment, but the ancient Yazidi sect that is being massacred along with all other religious minorities, as well as Muslims who refuse to follow ISIS.
That such things are happening in the 21st century indicates how fragile the veneer of civilization is. For here we have an instance of pure evil, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Paradoxically, the area has been ruled for many centuries by Islamic regimes which tolerated the religious minorities within their realm. Christians and Jews have been persecuted before, but the cruelty of this genocide is something new. This, for the moment trumps the case I recently made for getting out of the line of fire. The U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Australia are providing some aid, but not enough to tip the balance. Blame certainly falls on the inept regime in Baghdad that is unable to control its territory, although that will hopefully now change as the government is reconstituted to become more representative. We certainly don’t want to get involved in another Middle East conflict, but we also cannot tolerate genocide.
If ever there was a mission for the United Nations this is it, if the UN is to be at all relevant. There should not be great difficulty in reaching a consensus. No country supports these murderers so it is hard to see how there could be any opposition to action. ISIS must be completely annihilated, and anyone surviving must pay for their crimes. It is true that a UN force would largely be supported by the US, and although I don’t place a lot of faith in the UN, based on past actions, it would at least indicate complete international solidarity against this evil. In the absence of that we need another “coalition of the willing,” although the UN would then be missing another opportunity to legitimize itself.
Americans are tired of such conflicts, but the extraordinary cruelty of these maniacs cannot be ignored. We also have some responsibility for stirring the pot in the first place, but I’m not interested in blaming Bush for starting it, or Obama for precipitously pulling out. A tenuous argument for ignoring them could be made if they did not directly threaten us, but they have clearly stated they intend to attack us and the rest of the west. If they are allowed to gain ground unimpeded in pursuit of establishing their “caliphate” there is no telling how far they could go, and what they subsequently might do from conquered territory. This menace must be completely wiped out before it spreads any further if there is to be peace and security in the world. This should be followed by a strategy that will insure that such things do not happen again.