On June 3, Keith Broomfield of Massachusetts became the first American known to die while fighting ISIS. He had the courage to do what U.S. leaders, cowed by political correctness, refuse to do. He gave direct assistance to the Kurdish people.
At age 36, this Christian man felt called by God to join the Kurds in their struggle. Idris Nassan, a Kurdish deputy foreign minister, said, “Broomfield was fighting alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in the Kobani countryside when he was killed battling against ISIS. . . . He had become well acquainted with the militiamen, even earning the Kurdish nom de guerre ‘Damhad.’” That means “it’s the time to do something.”
Broomfield said, “It seems like the right thing to do. . . . I just want to help the cause any way I can.”
Westminster, Massachusetts Police Chief Salvatore Albert said, “He just had this idea in his head to fight against them for the persecution of Christians and that’s what he did.”
Meanwhile, President Obama admitted at the recent G7 summit that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for confronting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Most of us were shocked when he said something similar last August. But to think that ten months later we still don’t have a plan seems almost beyond comprehension. No plan means America must react to ISIS, instead of ISIS reacting to America. No plan means ISIS stays in control.
Working without a plan also creates a phenomenon known as “mission creep.” That means slowly pouring more personnel and resources into the field in reaction to the enemy. Mission creep happens as we try to maintain the status quo. We send more U.S. soldiers into the area, but without a clear plan, they are hobbled at every step.
In September, the president promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS.” Of course, it’s easy for politicians to make glib promises about destroying a terrorist organization, but can you remember the last time a terrorist group was actually destroyed? You can make them go underground, but you can rarely destroy them. Just ask Israel.
But the other half of the president’s promise — to “degrade” ISIS — seems completely doable. So, when do we start? To this point U.S. bombing missions have been more of an irritant than a destroyer. Bombers go out with full loads of bombs, but, more often than not, they come back with the same full loads. The rules of engagement are simply too strict. ISIS is not the JV squad and we cannot win without trying.
I don’t want American boots on the ground any more than you probably do. It might become necessary, but so far we haven’t even tried the obvious things. For instance, almost a year ago, I called for directly arming the Kurds. It still hasn’t happened. America only arms the Iraqis. But under pressure, the Iraqis run. So instead of putting weapons in the hands of Kurdish fighters, the Iraqis wind up passing American weapons to ISIS.
The Kurds fight bravely and with honor. They are not perfect people. Most are Muslim and that ties them to a destructive ideology. However, if you’re looking for moderate Muslims, these guys are pretty close. Also, they are a disciplined fighting force.
Yet they lack the weapons to do the job. America continues to expect Baghdad to pass U.S. weapons on to the Kurds. But Iraqi leaders are fearful of the Kurds, and reluctant to arm them. The U.S. could arm the Kurds directly, but doesn’t do so for fear of offending the corrupt governments in Iraq and Turkey.
I don’t know much about Keith Broomfield, but he seemed to understand this. He stood with the Kurds even though his nation’s leaders will not.
In Kobani, people lined the streets as Keith’s body was taken across the border into Turkey, where it was placed on a plane and brought back to Massachusetts. The Kurdish people applauded and waved flags in honor of a fallen American hero intent on doing the right thing.
On her Facebook page, his sister posted a text sent by her brother. “I’m gonna do what I got to do,” Keith wrote. Later he said, “Sometimes you got to be a man whether you want to or not. I don’t expect anyone to understand, but I don’t need anyone to either.”
And that, friends, is a hero — the first American to die fighting ISIS, but assuredly not the last.
The Hal Lindsey Report
P.O. Box 470470 / Tulsa, OK 74147-0470/ United States