We must counteract Islamic extremism

Almost everything that Obama is dealing with is either a direct or indirect result of the choices or ineptness of the Bush administration. Bush did nothing in regards to North Korea, Iran, or the Israel/Palestine conflict. He got us into two wars without exit strategies and did nothing about America's health care problem even though 75 percent of the American people said it needed to be reformed. He also did nothing about immigration reform.

When Bush took out Saddam Hussein, he left a power vacuum in Iraq; today, ISIL is using the very weapons he armed the Iraqi regime with to take over the country. How was Obama supposed to know that the Iraqi Army would throw down their weapons and run at the first sight of a few extremists? Bush opened Pandora's Box when he invaded Iraq, and now the Republicans are blaming Obama because he can’t get all the evils stuffed back in.

ISIL is not only a threat to the mid-east, but to America and to the entire world. It's time the Republicans stopped playing petty politics and started working on a unified strategy to counter this threat.

The ultimate answer to Islamic extremism lies with the Muslims themselves. They must come up with their own "Reformation" as the Christians did in the 16th Century. Christians decided for themselves what the meaning of Christianity should be and that eventually democracy should prevail over theocracy.

We must fight this extremism wherever it occurs, but more than that, we must encourage the Muslims themselves to defend against it. We must stay out of conflicts where secular governments are in control, even if they are dictatorial tyrants, and let the people themselves decide if they want to live in a democracy. This is no easy task, but we can help through education, the empowerment of women, sanctions, and the power of world opinion.

This task is made even more difficult by the fact that the Middle East controls over 50 percent of the world's oil reserves. This can be offset in part by alternative resources like natural gas, renewable energy, and by researching ways to make coal energy clean.

Countering Islamic extremism will not be easy, but all Americans and the entire world must come together to defeat this threat. Otherwise, we may, in fact, one day have an Armageddon, but it will not be between Christianity and the powers of Satan, but between democracy and extreme Sharia law.

Dennis Thompson

Newnan



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