November 19, 2015, Salt Lake City, UT — Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson issued the following statement today regarding ISIS and violent extremism:
“It is time that we have an open, honest dialogue about the politics of Sharia law. It is time that we face the reality that, while Islam is a faith that must be granted the same freedoms of religion as all others, Sharia is a political ideology that cannot coexist with the constitutional and basic human rights on which the United States is founded.
We must face the fact that ISIS is a murderous, violent movement driven by Sharia ideology, not by the religion of Islam. We need not and should not be Islamophobic, but all who are free and wish to be free should be Shariaphobic. In its determination to impose a “law” upon us and to kill, maim and terrorize in the process — as seen most recently in Paris, ISIS must be stopped.
I opposed the Iraq War. I supported going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11, but opposed — and continue to oppose — our failed attempt at Afghan nation building. And I opposed our involvement in overthrowing the government in Libya.
The list goes on and on. Our ill-advised attempts to shape the outcomes of civil wars and replace bad guys with slightly less bad guys have not only failed, but have created vacuums that are today being filled by the politics of Sharia.
The cost of those interventions has been tremendous, with too many of our young men and women of the military killed and wounded…and trillions of dollars spent ineffectively.
Libertarians believe freedom and opportunity require limited government. Government costs too much because it does too much — and a government that does too much erodes liberty. But one responsibility of government is clear: To protect us from those who would do us harm and who would take away our fundamental freedoms. We believe liberty is the true American value, and that our government has a solemn obligation to preserve it.
We cannot dance around the fact that destroying human liberty and doing us harm are what Sharia law dictates. Whether it be mass murder in Paris, downing a Russian airliner in the Sinai, gunning down innocents in a Kenyan shopping mall, beheading Christians, or flying airplanes into the World Trade Center towers, ISIS and other like-minded Shariaists are engaged in a decades-long campaign to eradicate freedom and replace it with a Sharia political system that is antithetical to everything for which America stands.
In World War II, too many, including the U.S., stood by for too long as Hitler’s Nazi fascism spread across Europe, with horrendous consequences. Sharia and its ISIS fanatics are today’s Nazi fascism.
Let’s be clear. Stopping ISIS and Sharia have nothing to do with religious freedom or the rights of Muslims — here or abroad. It has everything to do with protecting people who are free or wish to be free from murderous fanatics who will stop at nothing to establish a global caliphate under which no one would be free.
Dealing with this threat is the most American thing we can do.
Putting tens of thousands of American troops on the ground in Iraq or, especially, Syria, won’t work. We have learned that the hard way. Those realities, however, do not mean that we do nothing.
First, even barbarians and fanatics need money. ISIS is collecting an estimated $1 million per day in profits from oil sales. That buys a lot of terror. Reducing or stopping that flow of money will do more to stop ISIS than bombing a training camp here or there, and the United States — along with our allies — must get serious about turning off the ISIS oil spigot. While ISIS is receiving support from sympathic individuals and organizations in the region, even the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are taking concrete steps to cut off ISIS’s daily oil windfall. The U.S. must do the same. The finances and transactions of ISIS and their brethren must be disrupted.
ISIS’s recruitment and attacks are being executed largely via cyberspace. There will be no invasion that can be repelled with missiles or warships. Rather, they will enlist, plan, finance and coordinate with believers who are already here to conduct their murderous campaign. Paris was just the latest example. We must deploy our formidable technological might to join the battle in cyberspace — and win.
And while invasions and doomed-to-fail attempts at imposing Western democratic values on unwilling peoples will not work, reviving and supporting strategic partnerships with those who are fighting ISIS in Syria and elsewhere just makes sense. The U.S. must assume a stronger, more committed role to galvanize and lead an alliance based on those partnerships that will first contain and ultimately neuter ISIS.
Fighting and defeating ISIS wherever they are is not “intervention”. It is stopping violent jihadists whose stated objectives are to kill Americans, wipe Israel off the map and destroy the very freedoms — including religious ones — upon which our nation is founded. It is protecting us from those who would and are doing us harm.”
Governor Johnson is the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy organization supporting individual liberty, free markets and limited government.