When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rolled over northern Iraq last week they looted more than 400 million U.S. dollars from Mosul’s banks according to Mosul’s provincial governor. There has been far too little talk about the clear and present danger these dollars represent to our homeland. These looted dollars, alone, justify immediate air and cruise missile strikes by the United States.
It’s a lot of money. Enough to buy 747’s, shoulder launched ground-to-air weapons and God forbid, chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. This looted money is more dangerous in ISIS hands than anything the United States has faced before in the war on terror. It gives ISIS the capability to buy whatever they need to hurt us–but we are being fatally slow to react to this threat when there is no time to lose.
Forget for a moment Obama’s National Security Council playing next-election “Go Fish” while other nations are playing five-moves-ahead geopolitical chess. Forget that punting in Syria and fumbles in Iraq led to what we are seeing now in Iraq. Forget even our war weariness as a people—these dollars cannot be allowed to be spent against our country by the most murderous and dangerous religious zealots on the face of the earth.
If we underestimate these terrorists as we have in the past or the capabilities that nearly a half billion dollars can provide them we will pay dearly for our sclerotic reaction to people who have no problem summarily executing 1700 Iraqi prisoners. What would they do to us? This moment demands decisive, bold and immediate military action.
We don’t have the time now for study or more talks or, worse, yet another speech by our eloquent, if ineffective, President. This is not a moment for consultation with European allies or the UN or talks with Iran. If ever there was a circumstance in war that demanded immediate response, this is it. Otherwise we are condemned to exactly what General Douglas MacArthur wrote was the primary reason for every military failure throughout history: “Too late”.
This very minute we should be tasking satellites, launching reconnaissance drones and using every human and electronic intelligence gathering asset to find the money. The only thing we should be doing at this moment is planning how to burn these hundreds of millions of dollars where they sit with whatever means are available–including unilateral air and cruise missile strikes. Destroy it now before it disappears to be used against us.
The President has surrounded himself in his second term with agreeable sycophants. His National Security Council’s top priority, this term, seems to be how to win more votes to secure Mr. Obama’s shaky legacy. But if they don’t start acting like adults in a dangerous world, these hundreds of millions of US dollars will arrive here soon in some deadly package.
Now, at last, is the moment for this President to act like an American President and defend our nation. If he will not then Congress must recognize the danger this President and his security advisors will not. Right now our national priority must be a strategic and tactical stitch in time–find this money and destroy it now before it’s too late.
Ken Hoagland is chairman of “Restore America’s Voice”, a grassroots advocacy organization that believes the voice of average Americans are routinely ignored in public policy decisions.