The Islamic State, as it calls itself with hubris and little truth, is losing in lots of ways, including the land it controls in Syria and Iraq, as this week's battle for Mosul continues.
But that doesn't mean that these rigid Islamist killers soon will pose no threat to anyone else in the world. No, things are much more complicated than that. Actions produce reactions, and those reactions often produce bad news and/or unintended consequences.
Indeed, as this BBC story reports, there are concerns now that ISIS fighters driven from Mosul and elsewhere -- as the Islamic State continues to shrink toward collapse -- may wind up in Europe, where the amount of damage they could do and the fear they might induce could be enormous.
As the story reports, the European Union's "Security Commissioner Julian King said even a small number of militants would pose 'a serious threat that we must prepare ourselves for.'"
Think of a light shining on a collection of cockroaches in an old home. They scatter, going all directions.
I am not, by the way, calling ISIS fighters cockroaches. The sad truth is that they, like all of us, are human beings. The sadder truth is that they have been sucked into a dark theological hole in which each question has only one acceptable answer.
So as we all follow the story of progress against ISIS, let's remember that it's not a straight-line story. Success in one place will produce more trouble in another place. The hope is that such collateral damage can be minimized and that eventually the attraction of a terrorist way of life will be minimized.
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LOWERING THE BAR
A new survey suggests that voters in the U.S. -- especially those who identify themselves as Christian evangelicals -- are much more tolerant now of politicians with low morals. When it comes to this presidential race, I suppose a legitimate question is this: What choice do they have?