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WarriorWire | James O'Neill

WarriorWire | James O'Neill

Photo credit: James O'Neill

NRA American Warrior is committed to telling warriors’ stories the way the warriors themselves want them told. “WarriorWire” is our conduit for the unvarnished, unedited reactions of law enforcement and military personnel to the mainstream media's spin. This space gives them the opportunity to set the record straight, correct inaccuracies and just plain vent.

Capt. James O’Neill, USMC-Retired, is a former infantry officer who served in Iraq, North Africa, Pakistan and all over the Pacific.

What do you think when a State Department spokesperson says of ISIS, “We cannot win this war by killing them”? 

This is an interesting question, and I would like to believe as a veteran that I understand both sides of the argument. I understand some people's perspective that killing one individual does not combat the entire network and does not have the catastrophic effects on ISIS, al-Qaeda or the Taliban that we would hope. I also understand the argument that seeking out and destroying those who threaten our way of life is a just and necessary endeavor that must continue for the foreseeable future in order to protect our freedoms. 

As a former infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, I believe that ISIS and those who pledge loyalty to it are the greatest threat we have faced in the past decade of conflict. I personally believe we cannot give up on trying to eliminate the threat, foreign or domestic, and must have the honor, courage and commitment to see this through.  

There are those among us who would argue that the issues and problems we see on CNN and Fox News are over there—someone else's problem—and the Middle East is none of our concern. In my opinion, those people are living with a very comfortable and distorted view of how truly small the world has become in the last 20 years, especially with the help of the media and social networking.As a former infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps, I believe that ISIS and those who pledge loyalty to it are the greatest threat we have faced in the past decade of conflict. 

Recently the fight has come closer to home, with lone wolves and ISIS sympathizers attacking our allies in Europe and even here in the United States. Every day we see new reports of attacks on innocent people in Africa, Europe or the United States, and many of us turn a blind eye and ignore the growing global threat that is ISIS. The radicalization of young people in the Middle East and North Africa is a huge threat, and one we can only expect to increase in the next 30 years due to the growing population and the depletion of resources. Young, destitute people who have little opportunity are easily recruited by radical Islamic groups like ISIS, who promise a better life as a fighter for jihad in this life or the opportunity to die as a martyr for Islam. The combination of a population explosion and the reduction of resources creates the perfect breeding ground for radicalized young people whom ISIS can exploit. 

The current War on Terror will, unfortunately, take the lives of many more young American men and women. It has already taken the lives of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and great friends. No one knows this more than those who have served in past conflicts and those who serve today in our great military. This is the high cost that we must unfortunately bear. 

The uncomfortable truth is, if we stop fighting this fight against radical Islam, it will not go away, but will continue to come to us. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. ISIS is set on the destruction of our way of life and of personal freedoms as a whole. It is important that we, as a country, continue to fight this evil in order to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for each American. 

As a Marine, I believe that we as a nation must honor those who have come before us and sacrificed to protect our way of life. I believe we must have the courage to face our nation’s enemies at home and abroad and not let their inhumane and horrific terror tactics deter us. I also believe we, as a nation, must have the commitment to fight a long and brutal war against a tough, tenacious enemy who wants to destroy our way of life. As long as we in the United States of America hold on to honor, courage and commitment, we will prevail.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Rifle Association.

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