Genocide in 2014 and the US response

The start of my Great American Adventure began on a passenger train in Mexico City for the long trip north to Los Estados Unidos de America, the U.S.A. I was not quite 3 years old. It was 1943.

We changed trains in El Paso, Texas, heading for California. It was on this train I discovered that there was a war going on, as the train was packed with U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines making their way to the war with Japan.

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D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, came and the largest invasion in world history commenced in France and after a time, victory was assured. The advance on Berlin began its inexorable conclusion of German defeat. It was then that my new country discovered that millions of people had been systematically murdered by the German Catholics and Protestants for the mortal sin of being Jewish: genocide. That mass murder had been going on when I was on that train to America in 1943.

2013: Christians guilty of being Christian in Muslim Brotherhood Egypt were murdered, their churches destroyed. The Obama administration said nothing official about the murders and destruction. In fact, it gave the Brotherhood hundreds of millions of dollars. Thousands of Christians are murdered in Syria, perhaps the most Christian populated country in the Middle East. Churches almost 2,000 years old were systematically destroyed. The Obama administration said nothing.

Christians are attacked, restricted or discriminated against in dozens of nations in Africa, the Middle and Far East. President Obama says nothing.

2014: An army of fanatical Muslims, ISIS (the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) sprouts from rebel Syrian groups that fight against the Bashar Assad dictatorship. That civil war has cost Syria over 170,000 dead. Entire Christian villages/cities have been wiped out by ISIS fighters. Christians were left alone under dictators Assad, father and son.

ISIS rolled into Iraq to conquer land fought over by Americans a few years ago. The Iraqi army melted away just like it did when the U.S. invaded in 2003. Fallujah is a city ensconced in United States Marine Corps history as a great victory; despite the American Marine blood there, it easily fell to the fanatical ISIS. Obama specifically called ISIS the "junior varsity" in January.

The fanatics began purging the territory they control of Christians and other minority groups like the 500,000 strong Yazidis, ethnic Kurds. They are a religious sect that borrows from Islam, pre-Christian Persian religions and Christianity.

ISIS offers simple options to the Christians, Yazidis and the other minorities: Convert to Islam and pay a religious tax (bribe), or die.

If there was no proof that these fanatics are serious, they could be what Obama called the "junior varsity." But the media are replete with videos showing enemies having their heads chopped off. Reports that these fanatics are now kidnapping minority and Christian women and selling them off or keeping them as sex slaves are circulating. Considering that their Nigerian Muslim ideological cousins kidnapped almost 300 young Christian girls, is there any doubt that ISIS "soldiers" are laying claim to Christian and Yazidi women?

These fanatics have driven Christians and other minorities out of their homes into the mountains or into Turkey or Jordan where they seek refuge in camps set up specifically for them by the United Nations. There are no camps in the mountains, however. There, people have little water, no food or shelter while at the foot of the mountains the armed fanatic army sits waiting to kill anyone who tries to come out of their desolate rock-strewn prisons. There are an estimated 40,000 frightened men, women and children in those mountains with more arriving every day.

Meanwhile, America's best friends in the area, the Kurds and their Peshmerga militia, are prepared to fight and are known as ferocious fighters but lack the modern weapons that ISIS seized from the cowardly runaway Iraqi army — tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, heavy trucks and weapons supplied by the United States. The Kurds were promised modern weapons 10 years ago but they were never delivered. The promise died when Democrats took over both houses of Congress in 2007.

They need weapons and some covert Marine Recon and SEAL operatives, plus action from the air. The image of 40,000 men, women and children starving to death on Sinjar Mountain surrounded by men busy making women sex slaves finally prompted Obama to act. There will be no Clinton Rwanda 600,000 person genocide on his watch. Starving 40,000 is genocide by definition in 2014; not much of a difference from 1943, just different actors.

Obama decided to help the refugees and to "protect" the several hundred Americans on the ground in Iraq on August 7. He ordered airlifted supplies for the people and authorized air strikes by two U.S. Navy fighter bombers at a time to fire on targets of opportunity that are hostile to Americans, Iraqis and/or Kurds. He also told us that there would be no ground troops involved.

Fine President Obama, then arm the Peshmerga. Their ground troops can stop genocide. President Obama, it takes an army to defeat an army, not two Navy jets at a time.

Contreras formerly wrote for the New American News Service of The New York Times.