On March 25, 2016, the New York Times reported, “Since March 2014, the Islamic State has carried out or inspired at least 29 deadly assaults targeting Westerners around the world, killing more than 650 people, according to a New York Times analysis of such attacks.”
Apparently the Times has grown bored with the slaughter taking place outside of Europe.
On March 26, PBS News reported, “The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack at an Iraqi soccer stadium on Friday that killed 41 people and wounded dozens more. A suicide bomber struck in the small town of Iskandariyah about 30 miles outside of Baghdad as trophies were reportedly being handed out to soccer players by local officials.”
The Friday that the PBS News cites was March 25, the same date that the New York Times chose to focus on terrorism in Europe and ignore what was happening in Iraq.
Does the Times think we no longer care about terrorism and death in Iraq? Are deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Africa, and all the other places outside of Europe where ISIS has launched affiliates somehow irrelevant? Does the Times really mean to minimize the importance of terrorism outside of ‘the West?’
ISIS is a logistics problem, folks. We are dealing with a network, not a bunch of nodes. To deal with ISIS in Europe, you have to deal with it everywhere else, too. The ISIS logistics problem also creates a heightened need for security measures in our own global logistics and distribution networks.
If you are reading this column you are likely involved in logistics, and probably in North America. You should be nervous. I am.
I spent a lot of time on the ground in Iraq. To be precise, I spent lots of time in Iskandariyah - where the latest atrocity occurred - during the dark days. In 2006 and 2007, when I was part of a group operating in and around Iskan, we wore full battle gear. We approached the challenges of peace and stability as a network problem.
It worked. We starved the terrorist net by building an industrial net, a set of supply chain activities that generated jobs and hope, and stability broke out. In March 2008 Senator John McCain, then a candidate for president, was able to visit Iskan.
The Senator didn’t have to wear armor as he walked through the public market.
I have a very dear friend from those days who still lives in Iskandariyah. Quoting from an email he sent a few days ago – to the man I worked for in Iraq, “Thank you for joining us in our grief and sympathy toward the tragic incident in our city. We are so grateful to your efforts during your time in Iraq. Special thanks to the American's for their support and for the souls of the martyrs of the Iraqis and the Americans who sacrificed their lives for the ideal concept of democracy.”
Please don’t forget our Iraqi friends. They haven’t forgotten us.
In September of 2008, DC Velocity published an article on the work in Iskandariyah. Click here to read it.