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Walter Williams
Walter E. Williams
24 Sep 2014
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Will the West Defend Itself?


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sometimes called ISIS or IS, is a Sunni extremist group that follows al-Qaida's anti-West ideology and sees a holy war against the West as a religious duty. With regard to nonbelievers, the Quran commands, "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out." The Quran contains many other verses that call for Muslim violence against nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.

Contrast the words of the Quran with the statements of limp-wristed Western leaders such as this by President Barack Obama: "We have reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace." While reacting to ISIL's slaughter of British citizen David Haines, Prime Minister David Cameron said, "Islam is a religion of peace." Then there was the U.S. secretary of state's explanation: "The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings." But John Kerry and other Western politicians calling Islam a religion of peace doesn't make it so.

A debate about whether Islam is a religion of peace or not is entirely irrelevant to the threat to the West posed by ISIL, al-Qaida and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups. I would like to gather a news conference with our Army's chief of staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno; Marines' commandant, Gen. Joseph Dunford; chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert; and Gen. Mark A. Welsh, the U.S. Air Force's chief of staff. This would be my question to them: The best intelligence puts ISIL's size at 35,000 to 40,000 people. Do you officers think that the combined efforts of our military forces could defeat and lay waste to ISIL? Before they had a chance to answer, I'd add: Do you think the combined military forces of NATO and the U.S. could defeat and eliminate ISIL. Depending on the answers given, I'd then ask whether these forces could also eliminate Iran's capability of making nuclear weapons.

My question to my fellow Americans is: What do you think their answers would be? No beating around the bush: Does the U.S. have the power to defeat the ISIL/al-Qaida threat and stop Iran's nuclear ambitions — yes or no?

If our military tells us that we do have the capacity to defeat the terror threat, then the reason that we don't reflects a lack of willingness. It's that same lack of willingness that led to the deaths of 60 million people during World War II. In 1936, France alone could have stopped Adolf Hitler, but France and its allies knowingly allowed Hitler to rearm, in violation of treaties. When Europeans finally woke up to Hitler's agenda, it was too late. Their nations were conquered. One of the most horrible acts of Nazi Germany was the Holocaust, which cost an estimated 11 million lives. Those innocents lost their lives because of the unwillingness of Europeans to protect themselves against tyranny.

Westerners getting the backbone to defend ourselves from terrorists may have to await a deadly attack on our homeland. You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" America's liberals have given terrorists an open invitation to penetrate our country through our unprotected southern border. Terrorists can easily come in with dirty bombs to make one of our major cities uninhabitable through radiation. They could just as easily plant chemical or biological weapons in our cities. If they did any of these acts — leading to the deaths of millions of Americans — I wonder whether our liberal Democratic politicians would be able to respond or they would continue to mouth that "Islam teaches peace" and "Islam is a religion of peace."

Unfortunately for our nation's future and that of the world, we see giving handouts as the most important function of government rather than its most basic function: defending us from barbarians.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



10 Comments | Post Comment
A few thoughts on Professor Williams piece:

1. ISIL could be defeated by US forces provided that our political an military leaders were willing to use the full power of the US Military however, those leaders have demonstrated in every conflict since WWII that they are unwilling to do so. Most recently the application of our armed forces in Afganistan demonstrates their unwillingness to use our armed forces effectively.

2. The past three presidential administrations have deliberately misled the American public regarding the motivations of the ever growing Sunni Islamic Insurgency that began when Osama Bin Laden declared war on the US in 1996. We continue to hear presidents and media pundits say things such as: "they hate us for our freedom/way of life/women can vote/ect." They hate us for what we have done and continue to do in the Muslim world and if we're not going to adjust our foreign policy to reduce our involvment in the Muslim world we will continue to foster an environment in which more and more young men will be easily recruited into these Sunni Insurgent groups.

3. Given that our leaders have demonstrated that they are unwilling to fight wars to win with overwhelming force minus rediculous notions such as nation building or spreading western democratic values it would be best that we stay out of the middle east completely. That Sunnis are killing Shia and Shia are killing Sunnis is great for us and we should sit back and encourage that to continue. Until our leaders decide that winning is more important than optics, rules of engagment and civilain casualties not one US service member should be put in harms way.

4. ISIL poses absolutely no military threat to the United States. They have no ability to project force beyond the Middle East. They have no fighter jets, long-range bombers, amphibious ships, cargo transport planes, in-air refuling capability or the ability to transport mechanized weaponry internationally. The only threat the group poses to the main land United States is from individual actors or small groups attempting to perform terroist activities. To the extent that they have that capability our concern lies with the lack of border and visa enforcement that has been the norm for almost 30 years but doesn't require a military intervention to solve.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Greg M
Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:50 PM
Re: Greg M; ... Good post. Lucid.
Comment: #2
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:46 PM
Sir;... Islam teaches peace, and urges no war against people of the book, meaning Christians and Jews. Neither does it offer Christians or Jews complete legal or moral equality, or tell Muslims they must take any crap off of Christians or Jews in Dar Al' Islam. We have picked this fight with a billion and a half Muslims thinking they are one short step from the stone age, with little of industry, and living in conditions that are to us, medieval. To want to fight these people of God, when we have more in common with them than with any pagan or infidel is insane. We are nothing if not stiff necked. And then comes Mr. Williams and talks of defense; and not just for America which has been the instigator of all this abuse of Islam, but the whole of the West. Some things this old fool teacher should recognize are obvious.
We have stood first in the attack on the people of Islam. England may have wanted to solve its Jewish problem with Israel, and we did not want all of the displaced Jews of WWII landing on our shores either. The theft of the land of Israel by the Nation of Israel was a great crime, and one that was impossible without our help and support. Many other indignities against the Arabs and Muslim people in general followed; but without our help, and without our lazy defense of our homeland in order to maintain a generally offensive posture against all people, Bin Ladin could not have hurt us. Without the failure of our own political system, our division, our suffering long term injustice in America, no one would have used 911 as a pretext for fighting a war that cannot be won with Islam. We made the deaths of thousands of our own possible that were before impossible out of our own greed, desire for revenge, and to teach Islam a lesson. It is we who need to learn the lessons that history stand ready to teach.
Societies exhaust themselves with endless war. We too have exhausted ourselves with endless war. The best defense is many friends, and we have rejected the help of many friends to go essentially alone against an enemy that should never have been our enemy. This is an example of contempt; and such contempt of all non believers is the stock and trade of Christianity. These people may be primitive. Their societies denied the weapon of Interest to use against their own in order to build technology and capital have instead produced many people willing to die for their beliefs. We are only willing to kill for our beliefs. But the primary belief we hold- that is our condemnation and disaster- is that these uneducated and primitive people are in some sense less intelligent and determined than ourselves.
These are intelligent people who have proved an asset to our society where they have joined us. They will make an implacable foe that we cannot defeat without the destruction of our self perception of our humanity. To fight these people we must morph into animals as capable of horrors and as incapable of mercy as they think we are, and that have often showed ourselves to be. You say "defend". It is offense, unwarranted, profit minded, high technology, and expensive offense against primitive but determined people that has broken us to the point we must now question our basic defense. Do we not have the will to make individual murder into mass murder, genocide, and extirmination?
At some point the collusion between outlaw, inhuman, immoral Christianity with outlaw, inhuman, and immoral Capitalism must become a public marriage made of private shared interests. It is love that makes marriages, and Capitalism and Christianity both love death. These born again fools want to die for Christ as much as any Muslim wants to die for Allah, and they only want those who do not buy into a part of their nonsense to die first. There is life in Islam, but our western religion like our western literature is all about death just as D.H. Lawrence long ago recognized. What future has that society that will burn and destroy all of its resources so it must go and burn and destroy all other peoples resources only so we can all die or live divided by empty distance in a stone age?
Our God should be clear enough, for it is death. It is death we want to preach and teach to Islam. It is death we wish to become. Why then do we need defense? Is defense only so we can go to hell on our own terms? Because; this society is clearly dieing, and this is not to say Islam has much to teach us; but the veil has been pulled off the brow of dead Christianity lusty for war, and disdainful of peace.
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:22 AM
SPOT ON Dr. Williams. YES - we have the power, but not the reality of the threat. How can a government that refuses to even name their enemies fight whom they don't see? I don't believe we're in Syria to fight ISIS. I believe we're there to take down Assad.
Comment: #4
Posted by: marene
Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:04 PM
Re: James A, Sweeney You are an insane individual; no question about it. And you have a right to be insane.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Raymond Thompson
Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:24 PM
Peace and freedom are mutually exclusive. Ultimately one prefers one and rejects the other. In this sense, Muslim "peace" is a charade by Western standards, as it arises only from prohibition of the freedom of others. Most Republicans will sacrifice the peace to attempt to preserve freedom for all; I think most Democrats will sacrifice freedom to attempt to obtain peace. The latter is a goal easier to achieve, but not worthy.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Joel
Wed Oct 1, 2014 6:30 AM
Re: Raymond Thompson;... Am as likely to be neurotic as anyone else. Intelligence is no proof against any sort of mental illness. Clearly, some mental aberrations reveal a sort of genetic intelligence, as when starved women or women under extreme stress during their second trimester produce children who turn out more often to be homosexual or schizophenic, as each has some association with creativity. There is a general association between mental illness and creativity. But whether anyone has the right or not, is without proof.
All true rights are based upon the need for life, and all rights support and protect life. I suppose I could argue that in some cases, mentally ill people have some good to offer society even if they offend many. I could argue that if the person has no control over it, that he has the right to be protected so that the excuse of difference does not become a pretext for his destruction in the way warts or some physical deformity was once used to destroy people as witches. Avarice or envy are all the reason anyone needs to injure another, but the profered excuse denies the true reason. Consider how little we do to protect the insane from themselves, or anyone else. We might think of the horrors of Bedlam where the uniquely mad were exposed to the public to help cover the cost of their room and board. It was not unkind people who built the asylums, and not unkind people who opened them up; but it was unkind people who put the insane on the streets to self medicate and suffer every indignity and pain in their madness. What did it matter what cost it took to warehouse people so long as they were out of our hair, and what does it matter now what the insane suffer so long as they are not dangerous? It points out a problem with rights in our society and perhaps everywhere, that while rights supports life, it is necessary to give voice to those rights and be able to defend them. Certainly, society protects itself when if protects all; but there are limits, as when people try to protect the rights of people unborn or alive in body only.
So I would not say anyone has a right to be insane any more than they have a right to have cancer; but in either condition they should have all human rights that con be exercised responsibly. I have known great pain, and I have always considered great or chronic pain as madness. It is hard to imagine how many rights could be exercised well or responsibly by the old and dying who in their particular madness want their world to die with them. Even Christianity with its focus on and affection for death may disqualify a person from holding political rights. I am not saying, but only wonder if this is true since so many Christians and old folks like myself seem too detached from reality to be considered normal. If we exclude people in love as well who are obviously insane, then there should still be enough usually rational people to govern.
I am certain thing have changed since an ex-con, who believe it or not, was imprisoned for bootlegging told me there were many in prison with physical deformities. But then, the guards were brutal, and who can say brutality is not disease? I must wonder if prison were not a refuge and asylum for such people, and clearly prison is a closet where we keep many disturbed people until they can again plague society. I would still not argue for imprisonment before crime for those we might suspect of a criminal outlook.
Again, look at the relationship between emotional disease and creativity. They wanted to throw a net over Jesus in his own town, and considered him mad. They would do the same to any one today trying to live a Christian life as Jesus showed to us. Of course, Israel always hated their prophets, and punished them hard. The one who dared that dangerous profession must have been mad.
This has been fun. I have been reading two good books, and already re-reading one on Freud. The other is about St. Paul, who like many in that age, suffered from epilepsy, and had a violent history.
Comment: #7
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Oct 1, 2014 10:30 AM
Re: Joel... That is not true. Freedom, meaning democracy and democratic rights is entirely defensive and peaceful. it is the unfree, suffering constant injustice who are the great force for war. Having no justice in their lives they seek the justice others have, and try to take it from them. What they find is that after war, as before, they are in the same condition with the conquered for company. What has war gained this people? Our economic situation degrades with every bullet fired. To the rich, international war, and even world war is preferable to the war we should all make against them. What does it matter to them who wins or loses if today the profit and tomorrow they play the game on our dollar? That man who said a war is a gun with a working man on both ends of it had it right. War is as essential as disease for the success of capital.
Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #8
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Oct 1, 2014 10:40 AM
Professor Williams' overview is fair warning to us all; and not the first. Respectfully, I suggest fighting the thousands of Muslim terrorists in Iraq and Syria will be rather sane compared to the relative "few" we will encounter among us here in America.
Thus the question: Where do the people ("citizens") learn to love what is greater than themselves, or instead denigrate or ignore it? Who is their teacher and what is their model? Do not the schools and perhaps the media bear some responsibility for shaping our fate? Doesn't the question answer itself?
Comment: #9
Posted by: Rick Martinez
Wed Oct 1, 2014 12:34 PM
Those that don't think the US should have military invention against ISIS are ignoring or forget the beheading of the nationalities of the persons beheaded. They were Americans, Brits. Are we to just ignore this and say, "oh well, they shouldn't have been over there"? Are we not allowed to visit the Mideast nations or have business there? We have ISIS fighters in America and our current administration was stupid enough to let them back into the US after they returned from fighting with ISIS. I guess their plan is to follow these guys who are in the US and most likely living off the taxpayers. We should grab these ISIS fighters and on prime time TV behead them. That would let ISIS realize we can be a ruthless as them and we mean business. But....we are so weak in the US anymore that would never happen. Until we wise up and get as crazy as ISIS we will need to send our soldiers in to danger. Grow a pair, put the beheading on the news and we could end this nonsense without further battles. Put the fear back on ISIS and let's see how quickly they back down.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Mandy
Wed Oct 1, 2014 2:32 PM
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