Sometimes your worst enemies aid you in ways you could never help yourself.
From July 10 to October 31, 1940, hundreds of badly-outnumbered pilots of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) fought off relentless attacks by Germany’s feared Luftwaffe.
But Adolf Hitler wasn’t prepared to give up. He believed he could so terrorize Britons that they would demand that their government submit to German surrender demands.
From September 7, 1940 to May 21, 1941, the Luftwaffe subjected England–and especially London–to a ruthless bombing campaign that became known as The Blitz.
The undamaged St. Paul’s Cathredal, December, 1940
More than 100 tons of high explosives were dropped on 16 British cities. During 267 days (almost 37 weeks):
- London was attacked 71 times;
- Birmingham, Plymouth and Liverpool were attacked eight times;
- Bristol was attacked six times; Glasgow, five; Southampton four; and
- There was also at least one large raid on another eight cities.
Between 40,000 and 43,000 British civilians were killed. About 139,000 others were wounded.
Clearly, what Great Britain desperately needed most was a miracle.
Exactly that happened on June 22, 1941.
With 134 Divisions at full fighting strength and 73 more divisions for deployment behind the front, the German Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union.
German tank commander
Joseph Stalin, the longtime Soviet dictator, was stunned. The invasion had come less than two years after Germany had signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.
Now they were locked in a fight to the death.
People in England were also surprised–but also suddenly hopeful. Britain now had an ally whose resources might tip the balance against Hitler.
Fast-forward to 2015.
On February 18, news reports surfaced that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi.
Al-Baghdadi lies just five miles from an air base stafffed by several hundred U.S. Marines. The victims might have included members of the security forces that clashed with ISIS for control of the town.
This latest atrocity comes only days after ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
And still earlier this month–on February 3–ISIS released a a video showing the barbaric “execution” of a captured Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh.
Al Kasaesbeh, locked in a steel cage like an animal, could only watch stoically as an ISIS member ignited a trail of flammable liquid leading directly to him. The pilot stood upright throughout the ordeal until the flames at last consumed him.
In response to the beheadings of the 21 Egyptians, Egypt carried out a series of airstrikes against ISIS militants in Libya.
And two days after the murder of its pilot, Jordanian fighter jets launched airstrikes against ISIS training centers, arms and ammunition depots.
“This is just the beginning and you shall know who the Jordanians are,” the armed forces said in a statement on state TV.
Today–just as England was saved by the misjudgment of Nazi Germany in attacking the Soviet Union– the United States faces just such an opportunity.
The Islamic world–which has been at war with the United States for 36 years–is now at war with itself.
In Syria, it’s Hezbollah (Party of God) vs. Al-Qaeda (The Base).
United Nations officials estimate that more than 191,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war since conflict began on March 15, 2011. The trigger: Protests demanding political reforms and the ouster of dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah is comprised of Shiite Muslims, who form a minority of Islamics. A sworn enemy of Israel, it has kidnapped scores of Americans suicidal enough to visit Lebanon and truck-bombed the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 299 Americans.
Flag of Hezbollah
Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, is made up of Sunni Muslims, who form the majority of that religion. It is intolerent of non-Sunni Muslims and has instigated violence against them. It denounces them as “takfirs”–heretics–and thus worthy of extermination.
Al-Qaeda has attacked the mosques and gatherings of liberal Muslims, Shias, Sufis and other non-Sunnis. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Sadr City bombings, the 2004 Ashoura massacre and the April, 2007 Baghdad bombings.
Flag of Al-Qaeda
While Islamic nations wage war within their own borders, they will lack the resources–and incentive–to launch attacks against the United States.
Every dead Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda member makes the United States that much safer.
Every dead supporter of Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda makes the United States that much safer.
Every dead ISIS member makes the United States that much safer.
And every ISIS victim stirs up greater hate against ISIS.
No American could instill such hatred against Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah or ISIS. This is entirely a war of religious and sectarian hatred. A war where each fighter is convinced that “Allah is on my side.”
These conflicts could easily become the Islamic equivalent of “the Hundred Years’ War” that raged from 1337 to 1453 between England and France.
When Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, then-Senator Harry Truman said: “I hope the Russians kill lots of Nazis and vice versa.”
As Congress and President Obama move ever closer to committing American forces to yet another Middle East conflict, it’s well to remember Truman’s words.
That should be America’s view whenever its sworn enemies start killing off each other. Americans should welcome such self-slaughters, not become entrapped in them.