This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA

When I first began writing for the Gazette an early topic was the uprising in Syria and what was to be referred to as the Arab Spring. While many have condemned the American led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deterioration of the region following the removal of American troops; the truth is that we won the war but lost the peace. It wasn’t the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq nor the removal of a horrible regime that tortured, killed and oppressed its’ citizens; it was the fact that we didn’t seal the deal. We assumed that the new government would be able to provide a democratic country by virtue of common sense and osmosis. That was a failure in our State Department philosophy to follow-up on America’s commitment to sponsor democracy throughout the world.
Iraq is not the only failure of our country to support a democratic transition of a country’s government. We failed in Libya to both lead in the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime and then the molding of a new democratic government. This lack of leadership ended in the death of four Americans including an American ambassador. Libya is still in chaos.
This hands-off approach continued with the Syrian uprising. Had America provided weaponry and political support to the rebels which would have led to the deposition of the brutal Syrian regime, ISIS would have never had a foothold to grow from in Syria.
Three and a half years ago less than three hundred people had been killed in the Syrian rebellion. That number is now over two hundred and ten thousand with many more living in refugee camps in neighboring countries. Additionally, the lawless areas of northern Syria has allowed ISIS to build a large and formable army. Areas near the Turkey border houses the most pro-American group of the Middle East – the Khurds. These are fierce warriors that we have, until recently, ignored their need for assistance. This group is located in Syria and Iraq and has proven to be a formable foe against ISIS. The Khurds represents one of the bright lights in the war on ISIS and they must be armed and supported.
We have been slow to respond to a terrorist group that was once referred to by the White House as a JV squad. This lack of national understanding and policy has allowed ISIS to grow to be a formable adversary that is now openly operating in Sub-Saharan Africa under the Boko Haram banner as well as in Northern Africa and the Middle East and in Europe and the United States with sleeper cells and lone wolf converts.
What ISIS is so good at is changing and morphing into an organization that fits the needs of the day to insure it not only survives but thrives. ISIS first began as a military unit and quickly began using multi-media and social networking to get it ruthless form of recruitment in front of vulnerable and impressionable young potential conscripts. Success begets success and as ISIS grew and was ever present on news broadcasts thanks to its’ shock-and-awe torture and execution tactics, individuals from around the world have ventured to Syria to join the despicable organization. Then Boko Haran, an Islamic extremist group in Nigeria famous for the taking of young girls hostage and then selling them, announced it was joining ISIS. That was a major change for the ISIS movement as it is now actively and openly acting on two continents.
Then a new transition occurred in Paris with Islamic extremist attacking a satirical newspaper and killing several members of the paper. This was part of lone wolf activities we have witnessed at Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon in the United States. We are now seeing a splinter organization forming in Afghanistan while a group in Egypt decapitated an individual. Both have proclaimed allegiance to ISIS. ISIS is taking on another growth transition as groups form in other countries and then proclaims that they are a part of ISIS. One thing is sure, the longer we wait to fully commit to destroy ISIS the longer and harder the final war will take. And to think that we could have nipped this in the bud before ISIS was even a JV Team.
Many are proclaiming that ISIS is being defeated. They may be losing some key commanders but the organization is in-tact and is continuing to morph into an even greater danger to freedom loving countries around the world.
Don’t forget, the school will be open this next Saturday, the 22nd, for the sole purpose of offering season tickets and jamboree tickets for the upcoming Union Parish Farmer Foot Ball Season and the run to the dome.

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