Avoid. Negotiate. Kill. They were the three basic tenets of Krav Maga that his Sensei had instilled in him since day one of his training.
First, he was to avoid confrontation. Some even called it the “Nike Defense.” Running away was generally the preferred option. Living to fight another day was the highest priority, regardless of what his ego said. He had already spent the last two days practicing the art of avoidance by evading and hiding. It hadn’t worked. The commandos of the al-Nusra Front captured him after he made initial contact with Iraqi Security Forces. He had exhausted that option.
His next priority was to negotiate. Sometimes a person could talk his way out of a situation. Maybe the attacker hadn’t fully resolved his will to fight. Maybe the attacker wanted something that wasn’t worth risking life and limb over. Or maybe a person could buy enough time for help to show up. As Cal “Spectre” Martin stared down the barrel of his own confiscated Beretta 92FS 9MM at point blank range, he realized that option was also no longer on the table. The man before him, in his torn and worn out camouflaged jacket and military pants, didn’t appear to be willing to negotiate as he shouted for Spectre to read the paper the man had given him. All Spectre could do now was kill.
Tonight (Friday, November 13, 2015), over 150 people were killed when Islamic terrorists executed a series of coordinated attacks on multiple soft targets in Paris, France. One of the terrorists that law enforcement managed to arrest stated that he and the others were Syrian ISIS fighters.
Self-defense tenets can be applied to both small and large scale philosophies. Survival Krav Maga teaches three basic tenets of self-defense: avoid, negotiate, or kill. I’ve written about it in the Spectre Series, and even went as far as to name the second book AVOID. NEGOTIATE. KILL to pay homage to the over-arching theme. But what does it mean and how does it apply to what happened tonight?
The first priority is to AVOID. In a street fight, the most survivable confrontation is one you can walk away from. Some may call it the “Nike defense,” because you’re using your fancy shoes to run away. When the odds are stacked against you, there is no shame in running away to live to fight another day.
France (and the Western world in general) has spent a lot of time avoiding the issue of the Islamic State and its goal of reestablishing the caliphate. With an open borders policy, they’ve allowed millions into their country, just as Americans have done in failing to secure our own borders.
We’ve withdrawn from Iraq, and as ISIS has grown in strength, we’ve done our best to avoid putting boots on the ground to face the threat head on, instead settling for hollow airstrikes that don’t destroy, degrade, or deny the enemy the ability to keep fighting.
If avoidance is not an option, the second priority is to NEGOTIATE. Police officers call it “verbal judo.” Sometimes you can talk your way out of a confrontation, often through direct negotiation or appeasement. Sometimes it’s better to just give up your fancy watch than risk getting your family killed during a mugging.
While we may not have been negotiating with ISIS, we have tried applying the “negotiate” principle. Western countries have given safe-haven to thousands of Syrian refugees. We’ve given weapons and training to rebel factions, hoping they would side with us and help us fight ISIS. It didn’t work.
And as we’ve allowed ISIS to strengthen over the years, we’ve exhausted those options, leaving the last tenet of Krav Maga – KILL.
On the street, killing doesn’t necessarily mean to take a person’s life. We kill their will to fight. We kill their ability to fight. And if all else fails, we kill them. In the geopolitical environment, this sometimes means unpalatable choices.
The only way to defeat ISIS is to kill them. This means killing their ability to fight – strengthening borders, cutting off funding (to include shutting down their oil exports), striking their training camps, and stopping the flow of military age male refugees into our countries.
It means killing their will to fight – total war. After years of combat, America is war-weary, but at this point, there is no other option. We must partner with our allies to make a concerted effort to find and destroy ISIS, and that means boots on the ground and fighters overhead. That means taking out their infrastructure, social media, and command and control. And it means killing them.
ISIS is a direct result of what happens when evil meets apathy. We’ve watched them burn people – women, children, and men – alive. We’ve watched them drown people. We’ve watched them behead people. And they’ve taken the fight to the Western world on three separate occasions. It’s only a matter of time before those attacks once again reach American soil.
What they want, we cannot give them. They will not stop until the Islamic State is established, and then they will continue their push for assimilation globally. We have the opportunity right now to crush them while they’re a well-organized insurgency and terrorist organization. If we wait until they become a nation-state in control of a crumbling Middle East, we will have signed ourselves up for a third World War with an enemy that we will have once again underestimated.
The attacks in Paris tonight were a tragedy. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. I sincerely hope this serves as a wake-up call to the U.S. and its allies that we must act swiftly and aggressively to completely neutralize this threat before it’s too late. I also hope it forces people that are fixated on celebrity attire and other trivial nonsense to pay attention to this looming threat.