The evening news is parsing the word WAR in an effort to determine whether or not the United States is now at war with ISIS as a result of the President’s recent speech. He was outlining the administration’s plan to “push back” following the brutal beheadings of two American journalists – James Foley, who worked for the GlobalPost in Boston; and Steven Sotloff, who was a freelance writer for Time magazine, and Foreign Policy, a specialized publication. It’s hard to say whether war is in the mind of the president and his administration because there is a very murky message coming from these leaders. Contradiction seems to rule the day.
In all fairness, declaring war or not declaring war is irrelevant. The United States has historically been quite shy about making formal declarations of war. Isaura and I have been watching the Ken Burns series on “The Roosevelt’s” (Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor) each evening this past week (I highly recommend it). In this series we see how President Woodrow Wilson was doing everything in his power to avoid sending American boys to fight in Europe during World War One. Former President Teddy Roosevelt publicly takes Wilson to task for not having the courage to aid our European countrymen during their struggle against a juggernaut German army which was having its way throughout Europe. Even FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) saw the handwriting on the wall concerning a reconstituted Germany under Hitler, and an empowered Japan under Emperor Hirohito. FDR knew America would eventually be drawn into World War Two. He had no answer for avoiding it.
So even when the U.S. has been faced with the certainty of war, we have avoided declaring the conflict a “war.” “A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another.” In the 238 year history of our nation, only five times has the U.S. officially made a “declaration of war.” They are: 1) The War of 1812 (1812-14), 2) the Mexican-American War (1846-48), 3) the Spanish-American War (1898), 4) World War I (1917-18), and 5) World War II (1941-45).
Based upon this history of war declarations, I wouldn’t hold out hope for any such declaration coming from this administration (nor should there be) regarding ISIS or any other self-proclaimed group of militants who, technically, can’t even legitimately claim national borders of their own.
But let’s not mistake the lack of an official Congressional declaration of war to imply that we are not dealing with some very serious players on the stage of world dominance. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) is only the current player of all the numerous terrorist groups that have danced onto the world stage in an effort to cause fear and intimidation throughout the entire world, but particularly in Western nations. Why do they want to bring this fear and intimidation to us in the West? Because they believe we are evil, and because historically we have not taken such groups and their threats seriously. This, despite the fact that our third president, Thomas Jefferson, had to confront the Barbary Pirates (read: Muslims) in the Mediterranean Sea who were attacking U.S. ships of commerce, as well as towns along the coastline of Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and even as far north as Great Britain). “The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Ottoman slave trade as well as the general Muslim market in North Africa and the Middle East.”
Make no mistake! These Muslim jihadists are not fooling around. ISIS, ISIL, or just IS as they now call themselves (Islamic State), is, according to their belief, the reintroduction of the 12th Caliphate which is supposed to rule the whole world under Sharia Law. I have written about Sharia Law in previous articles. You had better understand what these guys intend for us!
The President made a comment in a speech a few months ago that ISIS (he used ISIL) is, by comparison, “the JV team” on the world stage of terrorist groups. One undeniable truth that must never be forgotten is this: “Never underestimate your enemy.”
So, we may not have officially declared war on ISIS, or al-Qaida, or Hamas, or any of the other Muslim terrorist groups breathing hatred and fire at the West. But they have certainly declared war on us.