PARIS SETTLES IT: The War on Terror Will Be Long, Costly, Unpleasant — and Necessary

So, upwards of one-hundred-thirty slain and hundreds more injured in ISIS-engineered terror attacks across half-a-dozen sites in France’s capital; the worst assault on French soil since World War II. The civilized world, understandably, has been traumatized; some even surprised — although any sensate adult probably shouldn’t be. The jihadists, after all, have been openly avowing their plans for decades: Worldwide subjugation to their sharia law, a Muslim caliphate engirdling the globe, slaughter of uncooperative “infidels”. Yep, it’s all, rather garishly, been on their mujahideen bucket list for some time. 

Then just tonight, I heard someone allude to the Paris outrage as “a wake up call”.

Perhaps. But allow me to go on record clarifying that, since America’s own 9/11 outrage, many of us have never fallen back asleep. Not enough of us, I admit — so I suppose an existential alarm clock of some kind is in order. If this latest attack provided as much? Then the City of Light’s very, very dark cloud has yielded at least one silver lining.

Having, presumably, stumbled into this moment of greater “wakefulness” can we now, please, dispense with our current, reality-disconnected “War on Terror” and aim for the genuine article? Delusional thinking has been allowed to mesmerize Western Civilization — to our emphatic detriment — quite long enough: Unrealistic time limits, dopey rules of engagement and half-measures, excuse-making for barbarian cultures, society-spanning denial of the threat’s severity — it’s permitted the bad guys to survive; and thrive. 

Thus: the Parisian nightmare. 

Not to chap off avoid-war-at-any-cost Libertarians, the isolationist Left or Right, or analysts for whom “neo-con” is a favorite epithet, but the only proper response to Islamic fanatics who want the non-Muslim world either enslaved or extinguished is an extended and full-throttle counteroffensive. 

I don’t regularly quote John McCain favorably — his 2008 presidential candidacy? Catastrophic. — but during that campaign he got one thing bulls-eye correct: Queried about a Bush statement that troops could stay in Iraq for fifty years, McCain’s comeback was, “Maybe 100.”

Predictably, a case of the vapors erupted among Liberaldom.

Weeks later, to CNN’s Larry King, the Arizona Senator elaborated: “It’s not a matter of how long we’re in Iraq, it’s if we succeed or not …  [B]oth Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal — that means chaos …genocide … undoing all the success we’ve achieved.”

Yowza! Say what you will of John McCain, his prescience on this matter? Startling. Notwithstanding the obscene libeling of our peerless armed forces’ herculean efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, by the late 2000s both countries were in comparatively sure-footed shape. Obama and his chest-thumping VP both admitted as much: “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq,” (BHO); “I am very optimistic … about Iraq … [T]his could be one of the great achievements of this administration,” (Biden). 

It’s Obama’s “leaving behind” piece that came around to bite this administration’s sunny prognostications. They abandoned the Mesopotamian theater, ergo urinating away the victory purchased there with so much US blood and treasure. Next, they came precipitously close to doing the same in Afghanistan — before our bedraggled CINC reversed himself, opting to maintain some American forces in-country. 

I’m further reminded of the great Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s ruminations a few years previous: “[T]he coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.” 

Both men’s perspectives, brought forward to this day reeling under another monstrous, Islamist-fueled violation of an internationally storied city, need be extended to the broader war on terror. No arbitrary parameters cramping how long or how relentlessly we fight back, nor how much we’re willing to invest in the endeavor. Plainly, the task will be challenging, demanding, expensive, tedious — and decent nations would do well to acknowledge that, once and for all, brace themselves to endure it and forge ahead to obliterate homicidal Islamism’s hordes.

The glibly disgraceful narrative has become: “The Iraq War was a misadventure”; a conclusion that, lately, has metastasized into: “Maybe the Afghanistan mission was wrongheaded, too! Perhaps the entire War on Terror has become a fool’s errand!”

The Bush-trashing Left has been spouting variants of this nonsense for a while. What’s particularly vexing is the fattening numbers of so-called conservatives throwing in with these slanderers. Hello, Pat Buchanan, Laura Ingraham and — depending on which day of the week it is — Rand Paul, Glenn Beck and his two sidekicks, for starters.

Their facile bleating is heard regularly: “the American people are tired!”; “these foreign wars are bankrupting us!”; “there’s no popular appetite for another Middle East conflict!” 

The Monday after Friday’s massacre, for instance, Ms. Ingraham spent the better part of her radio program’s first two hours mewling about the unthinkable prospect of meaningful US military action against ISIS.  

Granted, your average American isn’t hankering for more combat against terrorist Islam. But isn’t that why God invented “leadership”? To explain, persuade, inspire a fatigued populace to rally around choices which might be unpleasant, even dicey; but which remain incumbent upon them if survival is in view.

Is it possible the diabolized “Military/Industrial Complex” will profiteer from renewed hostilities? That the Pentagon will waste already stressed tax dollars? Better than possible — it’s nearly certain, in fact. There are avaricious men in the war business, just as in every sector of humanity. 

Will mistakes be made as we intensify the battle against these beasts? Count on it. 

Will civilian casualties occur? Innocent lives be turned upside down? Some anti-American animosities abroad be exacerbated? Sadly, but inevitably, yes. 

Will the nation be asking further, ongoing sacrifices of our uniformed forces and their loved ones? No doubt. 

Shouldn’t Congress be brought on board to authorize further war-making? Oughtn’t the Federal Government focus on securing our borders? Mightn’t some “one-worlders” deem the situation an excuse for additional, unjustified interventionism? 10-4 on all three scores. 

Yet, all of the above has precious little to do with the controlling question: Must the United States unbudgingly resolve to hunt down, disarm, degrade, demoralize and ultimately destroy the bloody-minded practitioners of predatory Muslim supremacy? An affirmative response carries with it sobering risks; and sensible measures must be implemented to minimize them. Then? Desperate circumstances require we do what must be done to blot out this global cancer.

Tough medicine, but life is like that sometimes. The double-minded, terror-enabling procrastinators need to get over it – and join the ranks of the wide-awake.


Share if you are ready for the War on Terror to get serious — regardless of the cost.

About the author: Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and an editor of He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

View all articles by Steve Pauwels

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