Getting serious about the Arab Legion
The kid is built like spring steel, and with hair close cut; he looks like what he is – a young guy waiting to leave the hospitality industry to go on active duty, and can’t count the days until he does.
“You would be willing to go over to Iraq?” he's asked.
“That’s probably where I’ll wind up,” he says, giving no indication that he would not welcome that assignment.
It got us thinking about something we threw out as a half-joke not long ago – the idea of forming a special international force of volunteers to do what no country seems willing to do on its own – put boots on the ground in the Middle East. Countries seem willing to do everything but that. They supply modern aircraft, drones and missiles whose names we haven’t even heard yet. But they're not sending people to actually go in and eliminate the barbarians whose daily acts of savagery stun the civilized world.
And that is the operative word. Civilization. What if a call went out for men to defend the values the Western World has established over the last thousand years? Not from just one country, but from anywhere where people are willing to risk their lives for civilization. We are speaking of people who are morally motivated (probably not a good idea to call them crusaders, or sport red crosses on white tunics. You might mix that up with the Ku Klux Klan).
This is a unit that should be formed by the United Nations, but it won’t be.
We are thinking more of a model along the lines of the French Foreign Legion, which for nearly 200 years has been composed of soldiers from all over. Indeed, the uniforms could resemble those of the Legion, just not quite so peacock-y – the kepi hat, which in the U.S. service was once known as the Ridgway cap, with a neck cloth. Of course, in battle, they would look just like our current soldiers, with all the body armor and face shields that have become international.
These would be soldiers of fortune, a breed that never seems to go out of existence – men who ignore those “Wounded Warrior” ads that feature maimed veterans, and see only the adventure of being in harm’s way. We suspect an elite unit could be quickly formed of men with military experience, ex-marines, army rangers and those from equivalent units in other countries.
They would have to be paid grandly, and supplied with the best of equipment (which seems to be no problem), and part of an elite outfit, whose feats would surely be the subject of Hollywood treatment. Mostly, however, they would be motivated to counter, in Churchill’s words at a different time, the world sinking into “the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”
If ISIS can attract thousands of recruits with a malformed concept of human behavior, can’t the free world find just as many good guys who have the right stuff?