Police on Friday arrested a Muslim convert near Chicago on charges he planned a Christmas bombing at a Chicago-area mall to maximize the civilian deaths. The 22-year-old had yet to obtain the explosives but had "cased" the mall for prime targets to impact the most civilians.
Okay, so maybe this guy is just some nutcase and he shot off his mouth one night. But though this case isn't in our immediate region, it's also not in New York or Washington where I suspect we all believe terrorists would target. And in some ways, that makes it hit a bit closer to home.
Let me get this straight. Terrorists target America because they believe we are infidels and because we hold too much influence over their part of the world. So America decides to wage war in that part of the country to eliminate the terrorist faction. In return, the terrorists now target America because we are waging war in their homeland.
All of the diplomats in the world lack the skills to unravel this dilemma. So throw into the middle of this discussion a long-awaited report this week delivered to the President and Congress that offers suggestions on how to end this distant war. Taking a page from the well-respected philosopher Rodney King, the report basically says, "Can't we all get along?"
And for this we wait months and spend millions?
You can't join that which does not want to be joined. You can try and you can come up with some temporary fix. But the factions with basic, foundational religious differences have always and will probably always try to eliminate the other. We act as if this is somehow new?
The crazy who wanted to kill Christmas shoppers told friends he wanted to "commit acts of violent jihad against targets in the United States." I think we can safely assume he was a lone wolf with a dumb plan that went nowhere.
But maybe the next time will be different. And the location is St. Louis. That will get your attention.
So back to the report. I am astounded that bright, intelligent men would study the issue for so long and come up with such a simplistic solution. And one that seems bound for failure given history. I so hope I am wrong.
What I do not understand and have voiced before is our reluctance to display the full might of our military. I know nothing about warfare and freely admit so. But I do believe that today we hold the great advantage in terms of military might throughout the world. The day will come when our might is matched and then surpassed. Unless we display our resolve, we might as well accept the report and try to talk our way out of a sticky mess.
But sadly, I think we all know how that will likely end.