In the Season Five opening episode of Showtime’s “Homeland”, character Peter Quinn, a black-ops agent played by actor Rupert Friend, puts forth a plan to defeat ISIS, one that makes a room of CIA officials speechless. The scene went viral on the internet.
Quinn put forth two options: “200,000 American ground troops on the ground indefinitely to provide security and support for an equal number of doctors and elementary school teachers.” Or, alternatively, “pound Raqqa into a parking lot.”
It is time for option number two.
Raqqa is the headquarters and Forward Operating Base for ISIS. It’s where their leaders are. It is the home of their Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Most of their propaganda originates there. It is the head of the beast.
And what a beast it is. ISIS recently “butchered” 250 women who refused to become sex slaves. They have committed numerous mass executions. They have roasted victims to death on spits, locked victims in cages, drowning them or setting them on fire, blown up people with dynamite and of course, in the tradition of seventh-century Islamic conquerers, beheaded and crucified a large number of their prisoners. They have even beheaded children and impaled their heads on sticks. They make some Nazis look like Boy Scouts.
There is no evil, no act, or lowest point of depravity that they will not employ. They are evil incarnate.
There was a time when we as a nation along with the civilized Western world did not put up with this type of horrific genocide. We knew that the Nazis had to be defeated at all costs. We agreed to accept civilian casualties to defeat the Third Reich; enormous casualties.
Given the sickness of mind and the unrelenting religious goal that ISIS is fueled by, they will not be defeated piecemeal. Sporadic bombings and short-lived campaigns will not defeat them.
The only thing that stands in the way of obliterating ISIS in the city of Raqqa is the civilians that live among them. This did not stop our offensives in World War Two. We carpet bombed entire cities with incendiary bombs, burning them to the ground. We evaporated two cities in Japan with atomic bombs. This concept was dubbed “total war.” Large civilian casualties were expected and taken into account. Why? To save an even larger number of civilians that would end up dying if the war became prolonged. It was akin to excising a leg to keep the body.
We have become weak to the notion of civilian causalities in wartime. We view it as unacceptable. We can no longer afford this notion. We have perfectly reasonable grounds to accept a campaign that will result in substantial civilian casualties: the large number of innocents that have already been sacrificed due to our trepidation. Almost one hundred dead and two hundred terribly injured in Nice, France. Forty-nine dead and fifty-three injured at the Pulse Nightclub in Florida, one hundred and thirty dead and nearly four hundred injured at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis and the Bataclan Theatre. All innocents.
Just one seriously coordinated multi-prong attack by ISIS on a soft target could result in thousands dead and many more thousands injured. So why the squeamish thought of civilian casualties as a result of a major attack on ISIS’ home front that could ultimately destroy them?
In just sheer numbers, ISIS is, in fact, “a JV team.” 30,000 members do not make an overwhelming force. Some campaigns in World War Two included MILLIONS of troops.
Raqqa is 758 square miles. Guadalcanal is 2,060. During World War Two, the United States overran that island in six months. The battles there were withering, the heat stifling, and diseases ran rampant. In spite of all this, we won that and hundreds of other battles, both large and small.
We cannot expect a willful “coalition of forces” to defeat ISIS.
Recently, a coup d’ etat was attempted in Turkey. The entire Middle East is on fire, it seems. The EU is fragmenting. It is up to us, the world’s only remaining superpower capable of destroying this mutant threat to humanity.
It is time to bomb Raqqa into the Stone Age.