Retired Gen. John Allen said the radical Islamic State is a dangerous threat to the United States and must be "eradicated" immediately.
In a commentary for Defense One
, the former Marine commander said that "the brutal murder" of American journalist James Foley by the terror group also known as ISIS was meant "to directly terrorize the world’s media, the international community, and the U.S."
Allen said, "If all the actions of the Islamic State to date weren’t sufficiently reprehensible, this act and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger [it] poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America."
The former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan continued, "Until the grisly death of James Foley, much of the American public was only beginning to awaken to what [ISIS] is and the enormity of the threat it represents." Foley was beheaded by the group, which distributed a video of the killing.
Allen, a distinguished fellow of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, wrote, "Make no mistake, the abomination of [ISIS] is a clear and present danger to the U.S. The only question really is whether the U.S. and its allies and partners will act decisively now while they can still shape events to destroy [it], an act that seems increasingly self-obvious."
He went on to write, "The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence, and strike capacity to deal with" the Islamic State.
Allen said the group has been executing a "well-thought out" campaign to take over Iraq and Syria to create a caliphate, and said that it is "flush" with money stolen from Iraqi banks as well as captured American and Iraqi military ordinance and armored vehicles.
ISIS "must be destroyed, and we must move quickly to pressure its entire 'nervous system,' break it up, and destroy its pieces," he wrote. "The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity, and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later."
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