Memo to the Next President: Show the World Not to Mess with America


In 1983, the liberation of Grenada marked the first time a self-declared Communist regime was overthrown. “Such an event was not supposed to be possible,” wrote Reagan advisor Michael Ledeen, “as the [Soviet] Brezhnev Doctrine held that once a country had become Communist, the iron laws of history made that an irreversible step.” Thus, it scared the hell out of the Soviets and their allies — and reminded them that the Reagan administration was not to be trifled with.

Iranian exile journalist Amir Taheri wrote of the Islamic principal — held deeply by Iran and ISIS — that “a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims.”

So maybe it’s time to repeat history.

Taheri reported in 2015 that Iraqi officials had “supplied Washington with over 100 ‘credible military targets’ in ar-Raqqah province and the city of the same name, which is the seat of the self-styled Caliph Abubakar al-Baghdadi” — targets that the Obama administration, infamous for its dithering, would not strike.

“Targets in ar-Raqqah include the House of the Caliph in al-Mufajea’ah, two barracks at al-Mishlab and al-Utaiba Hajjaniah, the headquarters of the Religious Police (Hasbah), the caliph’s treasury (Beit-al-Mal) and two bridges over the River Euphrates linking it to Turkey and Iraq, as well as the command and control center at al-Qahtaniyah. The caliphate’s radio and TV network, including studios where propaganda videos are made, is located in four buildings in the ar-Rawdah neighborhood. ISIS has also converted a number of grain silos into arms depots in and around the city.”

Those are important targets, and can be destroyed with minimal civilian casualties.

The next president, by the end of his first month in office, should bomb all these targets into oblivion.

At the same time, we should take strong action on Syria — action that has bipartisan support. James Cartwright, a Hillary Clinton supporter and a retired four-star general who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that we “can do many things to create security in selected areas, protect and stabilize those safe zones and allow them [Syrians] to rebuild their own country even as the conflict continues in other parts of the country.”

Governor Mike Pence, during the Vice Presidential debate, said that “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.”

This would accomplish multiple objectives: including the protection of innocent life; provide areas for the safe repatriation of refugees; stop the flow of refugees to Europe; give credibility and support to the approximately 90,000 Syrian opposition and Kurdish fighters identified last December by British intelligence, fighters “who do not belong to extremist groups and with whom we can co-ordinate attacks on Daesh [ISIS],” as well as reaffirm our credibility in the eyes of the Syrian people so they will not need to look to jihadists for help; and prove to Russia and Iran that the United States, once again, is not to be trifled with.