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by Rebecca McCauley Rench

Government by Science propels us into the future. In a system driven by imagination and innovation, you create a society that is enlightened, educated, and full of potential. We can take in the knowledge of our current situation, think about how this can be used to create a better world, and see what happens when we try. This is the fundamental idea of the United States of America.

Government by Religion traps us in the past. Religion holds the thoughts and ideas of the past as truths to never be questioned. In the 7th century, after the Prophet Mohammed passed, a caliphate was established to rule. This is what Daesh is trying to re-create in the Middle East. A society dictated by the past without the ability to evolve and adapt.

Paul Syers

The events unfolding in the Middle East in recent months have gotten many people questioning if we've reached the precipice of World War III. This immediately conjures memories of the last World War. Is Daesh like the Nazis? They both fit the description of an organization with an extreme ideology based on external control instead of reason and thought, taking territory and bent on the total destruction of an entire way life. We make comparisons to history in hopes of recognizing the faults of the past and avoiding them. In the most recent rise in tensions between Russia and Turkey I see a lesson that comes not from WWII, but from WWI.

These parallels between WWI and today’s conflict have been noticed by others and are few and broad, but the common thread is that larger powers got distracted by smaller interests and lost the larger perspective. They used alliances to escalate a small event and get pulled into a much larger conflict with each other.

The tangled set of alliances that evolved in the fight against Daesh as well as the fight over control of Syria and Iraq has begun to shake the modern balance of powers. Things were strained when Russia began bombing U.S. aided rebels in Syria. Most recently, tensions have escalated between Turkey, backed by NATO, and Russia. We cannot make the same mistakes of a century ago and let the differing national interests of Russia, Syria, Turkey, the US, and the European powers create and escalate more conflicts. It poses a needless danger and it distracts us from the real enemy, which is Daesh and the extreme ideology that terrorist organization spreads.

Syria, the U.S., Russia, France, Turkey and other nations involved need not suddenly become close allies, but they should start focusing on the bigger picture and the end-game, which is stamping an ideology that does not allow freedom of thought.

A twisted strength of Daesh is that it has a unified message and set of goals. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about the combined actions of the international community in recent months. Putting individual national interests aside, focusing on the end game and coordinating efforts to reach it should be our top priority in the war against terrorism. A coordinated effort will make it easier to provide an overwhelming force without forcing a single nation to provide all those resources. The world needs a global, united strategy if we are to defeat not only the fighters of Daesh, but also their mindset.

by Jennifer Buss and Unnati Mehta

Moments of silence are not enough. Tighter restrictions on borders, airports, and subway systems are not enough. It is now time to stand up against a terrorist group that has slowly but surely increased its presence in the global sphere. This increase has gone uncontrolled because concrete action has not been taken; it is a true shame that two of the perpetrators involved in the Paris attacks were on the watch list for possible terrorist motivations. Action must be taken.

Our short-term response to the Paris attacks was relatively straightforward. Providing intelligence on ISIS bases to France for air strikes was simple. It is the long-term response that will be exponentially more difficult. However, the decisions made now will shape our future; the terrorist agenda must be halted in its tracks with conviction and decisive action. On Saturday, several raids were carried out in Brussels, and police made at least three arrests. Additionally, Bavarian police arrested a man at the Austrian border who had explosives and weapons hidden in various parts of his car. These are just some of the people believed to be involved in the Paris attacks. There may be many more at large. We have the ability to track and find them, and we must do so.

ISIS is not contained in Syria or anywhere in the world. While single targets, such as “Jihadi John,” may have been eliminated, there will be new recruits because of these individual deaths. All the other surviving ISIS members will take additional action because of such deaths. It is therefore important to approach this group tactically, guided by strong, capable leadership. Our agenda should include gathering updated and detailed intelligence, preventing new recruits, and deal blows that impact the very structure of the organization. The paranoia and fear that ISIS has created should be mitigated, and removing the group’s legitimacy can do this. French officials have already started referring to ISIS as “Daesh,” which roughly means “a bigot who imposes his views on others.” ISIS, much smaller than most perceive it to be, has relied on fear of its legitimacy as a cornerstone of its terrorist activities. Referring to it as an illegitimate organization can change perception of the group by governments and people, making shaping policy easier.

It is important to note that the not all the refugees flooding into Europe are the problem. These refugees were running from the same terrorist actions that happened in Paris. The refugees are being blamed for the actions of a few. The infiltration that comes with this influx is the problem. When the non-radical Muslim community, which makes up the vast majority of the religion, speaks out against ISIS, solidarity against terrorism will be more evident than ever before. Some Muslims have begun denouncing the Daesh through an open letter refuting the philosophy and violence propagated in their beliefs.

The attacks not just happening east of us. The attack in Paris on Friday was one in a series of attacks, with attacks in Anatolia, Turkey on Tuesday and Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday. Threats have been made to US cities. These are international attacks on international citizens, and they will not stop until we stop tolerating them.

by Mike Swetnam

USA 1 - Isis 153+

We got Jihadi John today with a Hellfire missile. Cool. He was either the be-header or the helper in beheading several westerners.

Meanwhile, the crazy/Jihadist/nuts of the twenty first century (Isis) either inspired or mounted a terror event that killed 150+ and seriously injured many more in Paris, France.

I think we are losing.

What do you think?

It's time for a new global strategy. Time for a new security approach. Time for new leadership....or just leadership period.

Charles Mueller

On Veterans Day, we honor all those who have sacrificed their time, their families, their friends and above everything else, their lives for the great people of the United States of America. They have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice everything for US.

My grandfather, Charles M. Mallory, is one such veteran I celebrate. He was a Navy pilot stationed on the Intrepid during WWII flying Hellcats. I grew up hearing him tell one story in particular, of a November day in 1944 when the Intrepid took a direct hit by a Kamikaze above the ready room where Navy pilots waited to be called to duty. He had been sitting in the room with his fellow pilots when the alarm went off that Kamikaze’s were in the area. Suddenly, as he described, his instincts kicked in and he bolted for his plane, which lucky for him was already on the elevator waiting to head up to the flight deck. Had it not, I probably wouldn’t be writing this today. He was the last plane to take off before the third Kamikaze hit, killing many of his friends, his brothers that day. I’ll never forget the risks he and his fellow servicemen had to take that November afternoon just to give me the chance at living a life of my own choice.

After the war my grandfather was acknowledged as a Navy Double Ace, a hero with 10 confirmed kills, which he would tell you in secret was really more like 12 or 13. Having served his country his next chapter in his life was about the pursuit of happiness, the American Dream. He started his own company, married the love of his life, had a family, explored the outdoors and did everything he could to help anyone he could because his service to this country and its people never stopped just because we weren’t at war. And that is the thing about our veterans; they never stop making this country what it is. They protect it from the threats outside and help build it up from the inside.

My grandfather is not unique. Millions of people are waking up today each knowing a friend or family member with a similar story of giving their country their all. Without their great sacrifices, the world as we know it would not be possible. We owe everything to them and that is why Veterans Day is such an important day. It is the day we remind all those who serve this country that we not just understand, but we appreciate everything they do so that the majority of those who do not serve this country through service in the military can continue to service America in the many other ways that make it great.

Veterans Day is a time to reach out to all those you know, and those you don’t, who together have helped create the United States, this land of opportunity that we love so much.