French air strikes in Mali: Noble effort to stem a cancer

Summer vacation? Scratch Mali and Timbuktu

Summer vacation? Scratch Mali and Timbuktu

When I was young, my parents occasionally invited Aunt Millie to stay at our home and babysit, while they traipsed off to exotic places like Tahiti, Bora Bora, Bali and Fiji. That was back in the 60s and 70s. With an arctic blast sweeping across North America this week, some of you may be planning your own summer getaways to warmer climates. If you are fortunate to be part of the economic recovery, then you might be thinking about a tropical paradise like your folks visited back in the day.

Mali and Timbuktu were never a match for Bali or Fiji. But for many Europeans of my generation, they attracted independent travelers seeking adventure. They were safe, fun and the locals were very friendly. These sunny places are no longer hospitable to anyone–at least not anyone who fails to cover up women and face Mecca every few hours. Lately, they look more like Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Eight months ago, a region of Mali that is larger than all of France or Texas was overrun by Qaeda rebels. In an effort to ratchet up fear and control, they force Sharia Law by amputating limbs from anyone who fails to live by their twisted principles. By any reasonable measure, these are Barbarians… positively sick bastards.

Lift it in praise or lose it

Lift it in praise or lose it

For the past 3 months, citizens have been rounded up for public amputations (either as witness or participant). The crime? Nothing terrible. Gaze at an unrelated girl, fail to praise Allah after a sneeze, or dare to suggest that woman should be allowed an education, and you will lose both a hand and a foot—Instantly.

Justice is swift under Sharia law. Don’t expect a trial, a defense, an appeal or a delay. Reprieves don’t exist, praise Allah! Want to sneak a kiss with your honey? You had best not have a honey. Young brides are bought from parents. Just the act of holding hands is a risk you dare not attempt. For this and anything else that strikes the Mujahidin as unholy, you will pay with your limbs and perhaps your nose too!

The Mali government represents the majority of its citizens, but they are helpless against the hordes of Qaeda allied Muslims sweeping across their territory. They outnumber and out gun the army and are driven by visions of 18 willing virgins in the hereafter. I don’t know about you, but virgins in a swimming pool next to Allah’s throne probably trumps civility, cash or fear of justice in this life.

Bibi Aisha's father sold her to a Taliban fighter who hacked off her nose and ears.

Bibi Aisha’s father sold her to a Taliban fighter who hacked off her nose and ears.

The zealots’ latest scheme is to compile a mandatory registry of unwed mothers. You can imagine what comes next. Don’t bother to justify a woman without a husband (many husbands were killed by the very same thugs). ‘Islamic justice’ is an oxymoron. In their view, a woman with child should be the property of a man. By this logic, any woman in the catalog is guilty of a crime. Sister, if you are on this list, be very scared.

Should the west become isolationists in order to avoid the financial burden of war? We certainly don’t want more nation building (including cash for rebuilding), propping up governments, arbitrating another Middle East dispute. But what to do when we learn about brutality like the pirates in Somalia or the sick, brutal behavior in Mali. Can humanity opt for isolationism when presented with such abominations?

Last week, upon receiving an urgent appeal for military intervention, France came to the aid of her former colony. They launched blistering and superbly targeted air strikes against the holy rollers in Mali. This is no small task. It will be terribly expensive to sustain. It could turn into another Afghanistan or even a new Viet Nam.

The French seek to liberate northern Mali with air strikes targeted at operational bases, religious enforcement offices, training camps, and centers of  logistics and supply.

French Mirage Fighter Jet is fueld in mid flight

En route to strike fundamentalist rebels in Mali, a French Mirage fighter gets mid-air refueling

What is truly amazing is that the targets are spread across a region larger than France itself! According to reports from liberated citizens, the strikes from bombers & missile-firing helicopters target foreign extremists with remarkable precision and avoid civilians for the most part. But the precision cannot be perfect. Ten children jumped into a pond and drowned, in an effort to escape from bombs that they thought would hit them.

As terrorists and extremists regroup, I suspect that they will be more difficult to target without civilian casualties. Now that they are facing a powerful outside enemy, they will begin to distribute their activities throughout the population. Their movement of supplies and communications will become very difficult to distinguish from peaceful economic activities.

Regarding French intervention, they are getting US help, including advisors, logistics, mid-air refueling, and probably access to satellite images and US air bases. But so far, the US has not placed any troops into the operational theater. At least for now, the Yanks are not at risk. Despite this help (which I support, because the adversary is so evil and malignant), Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into another western war or even a long term sink for money or manpower. At least, we hope that evil can be contained—and if possible, killed off—without creating martyrs, righteous murderers and elevated dogma.