On Watch by Marcus Fisk

On Watch March Madness

By Marcus Fisk
“…to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and… to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest…”
Preamble to the Charter of the United Nation’s
June 26, 1945

By the time you read this, basketball’s ‘March Madness’ will be over and the [Airline] Crash News Network (CNN) and the Forever Obnoxious X-tremist (FOX) News will shift its focus again to the real March Madness – the further adventures of ISIS.
“What? ISIS, again?” But like an elephant in the room – it’s a tough thing to ignore.
While we were all enjoying the annual NCAA ‘Hoop-o-rama,’ following the latest titillating details of a deranged German airline pilot, or voting for our favorite on American Idol’s ‘Hollywood Final 164’ – ISIS and Boko Haram have continued their rage against humanity adding more notches on their guns and further honed their marketing efforts to attract young people to the Middle East and Africa to join in on the all fun and excitement of killing, destruction, and mayhem – and all in the name of God.

ISIS’s incredibly successful recruiting has both dazzled and dazed America’s leading public relations agencies, who are usually contracted by the Department of Defense to create military recruiting ads for young Americans to join the services. These Titans of marketing are sitting in their plush Madison Avenue offices shaking their heads at the ISIS media campaign unfolding. They ask themselves, ‘How did ISIS do it? How do they get onto the laptops and i-pads of young Middle Eastern girls holding dual-citizenship passports and get them to fly to Turkey and to disappear into the mass chaos that is modern-day Syria, and give their futures to ‘fight for ISIS?’ These wizards of media marketing who normally can control all manner of adolescent ‘buying’ behaviors are now struck-dumb at the success of ISIS. Clearly, young, handsome, six-pack-bedecked ISIS fighters that appear on ‘Middle East Match.com’ are drawing young women to that part of the world with appeals to them to do the ISIS version of ‘Support the Troops.’
We may mock American college students and the wave of destruction they leave in their wake this time each year, but ISIS converts bring a whole new meaning to the destructive insanity of “Spring Break.”
With all the chaos and total disregard for human life taking place around the world, we are very likely witnessing, for the first time since the U.N. was created in 1945, the 3rd World War. Really? Where do I come off with that assertion? Am I a diplomat? Am I a trained International Affairs specialist? Am I an experienced arms negotiator? Hardly. To borrow from Will Rogers, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” And what we see on television and online is tantamount to a world at war – or at least certainly enough chaos to comprise a good, old-fashioned world war.
Now, whether you agree that it’s a war or not, whether you think we should be involved or not, or whether you agree in seeking a diplomatic solution or not – whatever your opinion about it or whatever you want call all this destruction – there is an awful lot of killing going on around the globe. Whether ISIS is the Crisis, or Boko Haram causing Alarm – the most logical candidate to step up and fix the problem, in my humble opinion, is the U.N.
Unfortunately they don’t seem too excited to get into the fray.
By the end of 2014 Boko Haram bragged of killing 2,000 in Nigeria alone and that doesn’t include their terrifying kidnapping of over 200 adolescent girls from schools to serve as ‘war brides’ to the faithful.
ISIS claimed they successfully annihilated 9,347 civilians killed and at least 17,386 wounded in Iraq, with some 1,500 Iraqi soldiers killed. Reports also include over 30,000 dead in Libya at the hands of ISIS.
I haven’t chocked-up the tallies for Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria, yet but with all that shooting, bombing and scimitar-wielding – well, you get the picture – the Middle East and Africa are what we affectionately refer to the military as – a ‘soup sandwich.’
If the UN were to be candid, they would declare the regions are SNAFU-ed and mobilize an international force – a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-just-about-everything-else force, comprised of every member nation of the UN and knock ISIS and Boko Haram out of the galaxy. With the UN mission statement including “peacekeeping, peace-building, and counter-terrorism,” I thought that’s what the UN was supposed to do. How silly of me…..
The UN has issued numerous statements that Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was “…outraged…” at the loss of life and destructive tactics of ISIS.
Given the death and wanton eradication of upwards of 200,000 people might have raised a few hackles amongst the members of the UN sufficiently to mobilize a UN Peacekeeping (read: ‘ass-kicking’) force of substantial numbers to erase ISIS and Boko Haram and restore peace to the two continents.
But wait, there’s more. Ironically, these crimes against humanity of death and dismemberment weren’t as heinous as others.
In March ISIS decided that many of the world’s statues, artworks, and other antiquities were really pagan idolatry, so they waltzed into the ancient Iraqi towns of Mosul, Hatra, and Nimrud and began taking sledgehammers and axes to hundreds of 2000-year-old-plus artifacts held in museums. ISIS actually bulldozed the town of Nimrud to the ground.
This took ‘crimes against humanity’ to a new plateau of righteous indignation from the UN.
“We cannot remain silent. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “I call on all political and religious leaders in the region to stand up and remind everyone that there is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage.”
So there, take that ISIS!
I really didn’t make this up.

Marcus Fisk is a retired Navy Captain, Naval Academy graduate, sometime actor, sculptor, pick-up soccer player, and playwright. He and his wife Pamela live in Connecticut.

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