The Gathering Storm

By Kevin Shannahan/Opinion

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“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

– Sir Winston Churchill

 

I woke up this Sunday to the news that a man pledging allegiance to ISIS had killed 50 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. I was saddened, but not surprised. It was just a matter of time.

I’d like to be absolutely clear about the following. Language matters. This attack was not a crime. Bank robbery is a crime. The Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings were crimes. This is something entirely different. This is a man who accepted ISIS’s call to jihad during Ramadan, pledged allegiance to them and in their name attacked and killed 50 Americans inside one of our own cities. It is a brazen act of war that must not go unanswered.

The dead and wounded are our fellow Americans. I am no less angry than I would be had the enemy attacked a church service. Our fellow Americans is not an empty phrase, it is a transcendent one. I am a Conservative, lifelong Republican. I seriously doubt I would have much in common with anyone in a gay bar. None of that matters. When that enemy of Western Civilization pulled the trigger, he crossed a line just as surely as Imperial Japan did in attacking Pearl Harbor. The rulers of ISIS’ half-assed Caliphate would be wise to contemplate what a Democracy is capable of when driven to war. It did not end well for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

ISIS and its ilk draw little distinction among their victims. Nor should we, for in their eyes we are all kuffars, unbelievers to be conquered. They have their designs for all of us. From rape victims considered adulterers and thus in danger of execution, to homosexuals, apostates and Jews, we would all suffer the same fate in their miserable realm. They destroy priceless antiquities in the areas they’ve conquered. They behead Christians, foreign aid workers and journalists while posting videos of their vile depravity. When they tire of beheadings, they push walls over on their victims, stone them and slowly drown them by lowering them into water while trapped in a cage. The only innovation they seem capable of is in coming up with new murderous methods.

We are in this together. The people killed in Orlando, the Coptic Christians beheaded on a beach, the journalists and aid workers kidnapped and killed, the French police officer and his wife killed in front of their child, the people suffering in the lands ISIS has conquered, are as diverse a group as you will find. ISIS is a danger to all of us: gay, straight, Jew, Christian, indeed anyone who has no desire to live under their despicable rule.

The attack could just as easily been on a Church or Synagogue, and the next one may very well be. We should not be as the appeasers so aptly summed up by Winston Churchill hoping that the crocodile would eat them last. The lives taken at Orlando are as precious as those of the Christian martyrs killed on a beach in Libya.

This is not a matter for candlelight vigils, hashtag campaigns or filters on our social media profiles or any of the usual responses so emptily popular these days. They do nothing but play into the enemies’ plans.

ISIS, by word and deed, has made its intentions abundantly clear. They are not amenable to diplomacy and co-existence. They are steeped in blood and revel in it. The bombings and killings will not stop until they are made to stop. The Holocaust and the rest of Nazism’s evil was not stopped by candlelight vigils.

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