Britain, Belgium, and Denmark today joined the US-led coalition of nations launching airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq. All three are committing warplanes to the cause. European lawmakers flatly described the moves as critical to security on home soil, arguing that facing down terrorists has become a matter of urgency. British Prime Minister David Cameron made a passionate plea for action in drastic terms—noting that the militants had beheaded their victims, gouged out eyes, and carried out crucifixions to promote goals "from the Dark Ages." Cameron told a tense House of Commons during more than six hours of debate that the hallmarks of the campaign would be "patience and persistence, not shock and awe"—a reference to the phrase associated with the invasion of Iraq.
"This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us," he said. "There isn't a 'walk on by' option. There isn't an option of just hoping this will go away." Britain is expected to deploy Tornado GR4 aircraft, a handful of which are in Cyprus, within striking distance of northern Iraq. No European nation has yet agreed to join the US and some Arab states in strikes in Syria. (Click to read about a female pilot in the United Arab Emirates who is flying missions against ISIS.)