Have you heard about the cockroach effect? You know - it’s when you spot that creepy crawly out of the corner of your eye, scrambling into a dark crevice as you flip the light switch on in your pre-war apartment rental, or perhaps blatantly crawling past your beer filled glass as you’re bellied up to the bar of your favorite watering hole.
Like most, you will try in vain to stomp, smash, or squish the grotesque leathery shelled creature before it disappears out of site. But you will fail - for the will of this mighty urban pest is strong and steady. The cockroaches ability to adapt, survive and readily reproduce in a multitude of environments may be impressive to the scholarly entomologist, but to the regular folk, this insect is an infuriating bane to our urban existence.
Left with no choice but to move on with your everyday life-affirming activities, you must banish the cockroach to the back of your mind, uncomfortably so. Block the idea that these disgusting beings are living and populating just behind your plaster filled walls, creating an army ready to invade and take over your space at any moment, Inevitably, where there is one, there will be many; tucked quietly away in the shadows, laying in wait.
You know deep down inside they exist in all types of structures, hidden underground in dank, desolate areas all over your city, your country, the world. But what can you do? They are part of the oldest group of vermin known to man. So you accept that these loathsome tormentors are a part of your life.....unless of course an infestation promises destruction so great, you have no choice but to call in the big guns - an expert who specializes in eradicating the enemy.
Cue the American military stage right, radical Islamic jihadists stage left and a map of the Middle East as the set... Ahh, you get the analogy. Add the U.S. population in the orchestra pit, President Obama as the conductor, and world opinion in the balcony. Now, let’s see how well our soldiers can get rid of those damn Muslim extremists running around that old theatre.
See, according to the Orkin man, the process of extermination should be a methodical one. Follow the protocols, and success is guaranteed. Although according to home and garden sites like Popular Mechanics, “roach infestations are often seen as evidence of awful housekeeping.” Isn't that what the goal was in Afghanistan and then Iraq - clean house? Methodically go through town after town, setting traps, detaining the bad guys, finding and eliminating their storage supplies, sealing the borders and teaching the locals our fool proof methods?
This is where the “cockroach effect” is clear: The deployment of troops to radical Islamic hot spots without aggressive eradication techniques only push the jihadists into other areas of the region. We have seen the resilience of Islamic extremists infiltrating deeper into countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, Northern Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Many of these areas off limits to the U.S. militarily and even more unstable from the recent Arab Spring uprising that has seemed to elude our own President from acknowledging with any sort of leadership.
These scattering scourges are able to regroup and establish new footholds in hotbeds just out of our reach, many times even joining with other pockets of their same kind, and ultimately being hand fed by the more powerful regimes, like Iran, with weapons and advanced training. Sorry Mr. President, any professional could tell you, intermittent drone bombing attacks (even on our own citizens) one nest at a time is not the solution. Until we play offense, which under this president is highly unlikely, we will just be chasing the proverbial dragon.
Take the Syrian rebel group, Jabhat al-Nursa, and their recent announcement to join forces with the more powerful Al Qaeda in Iraq in order to topple the despotic Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime and create an Islamic state. Al Qaeda in Iraq is already documented to have a number of terror training camps along the Iraq-Syrian border and now the collaboration of the two groups have made complete control of that border a slam dunk.
While the newly pledged allegiance takes hold, U.S. Special Forces on the other hand, have been over in Jordan for months apparently training another whole batch of Syrian rebels - loyal to what group? who knows? Do you think the State Department actually knows? After what happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens and his crew in Libya, we are supposed to trust our own government with intelligence capabilities? So there we are, providing weapons, training and money to help topple another regime that will most likely fall into the hands of radical Islamists hell bent on destroying America.
Sadly, in many cases, our presidentially profound lack of aggressive military strategies and policy, as well as disorganized planning and execution have prevented us from dominating the region. (read from the Lipstick archives: To Capture or To Coddle) From the lame rules of engagement laid on our soldiers by the White House, including a pre-ejaculatory and pre-announced troop withdrawal, to the slow moving, trickle-down Big Army where decisions to act on intel take days instead of minutes become the norm - eventual frustration by our men and women on the ground has been palpable. And that was months before insurgents found ways to infiltrate even deeper and begin ‘Green on Blue’ attacks on a population of soldiers who have turned the entire Afghan mission into a grudge-f@#k at this point.
Like any good exterminator knows, trying to do a job half-ass will never work. “Once a roach infestation starts, it's very hard to stop.” The buggers can survive for months with little water or food, and they can withstand freezing temperatures and resurface in the spring. Sound familiar ? “You can kill them in small numbers with pesticides, bait traps or bombs, but rooting out an entire infestation is no easy task.” I guess we should be thankful for one survival strategy our jihadist friends have not adapted from our cockroach invaders - being able to live for up to a week without their heads. It’s the small things, isn't it?