By Sal Bommarito
The political and military actions of ISIS warrant the strongest response from Arab nations and their allies. Unfortunately, the response from the Arab world towards the insurgents has been restrained. These nations are concerned about being ISIS’ next target and/or suffering reprisals from citizens and provocateurs sympathetic to the ISIS caliphate.
Rightly so, the U.S. has joined the fray. However, the response by American military forces has been greatly hampered by the horrible experiences of the last 13 years in the region. And so, the U.S. has decided to only drop bombs on ISIS, less than half of which actually hit targets. America is understandably anathema to putting foot soldiers in harm’s way.
I believe that the humanitarian consequences of the ISIS conflict are reason to escalate the retort by all civilized nations. It is time for the coalition opposing ISIS to step up the fight and save millions of people from this growing calamity.
The New York Times reported that a 14 year old Syrian boy, named Usaid Barho, was forcefully recruited by ISIS to be a suicide bomber. A few days ago, he walked into a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, unzipped his jacket to reveal a vest of explosives, and surrendered himself to the guards.
Usaid’s decision to volunteer as a suicide bomber, rather than a foot soldier, was based upon his belief that he could escape before detonating a weapon. He is now in the custody of local Iraqi authorities.
This episode personifies the deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from ISIS’ cruelty and aspirations to establish a caliphate at any cost. There have been regular reports of ISIS insurgents wantonly murdering Shiites, moderate Sunnis, Christians and other religious group members. Additionally, thousands of women and children have been kidnapped. The women are raped, sold as slaves and/or gifted to ISIS fighters. The young males are forced to become Sunni and used for the purposes mentioned above.
Millions of Syrians and Iraqis have lost their homes and a huge number have become refugees seeking protection in neighboring countries. The political, social and financial impact on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and others has been devastating. Many refugees will suffer difficult living conditions and a harsh winter in the coming months.
The question America faces is should its response to ISIS be more aggressive? As mentioned, our leaders, for some reason, seem content with the direction of the war. I disagree, and I’d bet the U.S. military disagrees, but this is a separate debate. Perhaps our leaders are running scared from the political ramifications of supporting the deployment of ground troops.
I think the death and displacement of millions of Arabs should trump political considerations. Do any of our leaders have the courage to do the right thing?
America has a moral obligation, as it does in all cases of genocide, disease and famine. In most of these situations, crimes against humanity are internal affairs, or conditions that result from natural disasters.
In Iraq and Syria, an invasion is underway. Iraq is an ally, so our military has responded. But, it is insufficient considering the implications of the ISIS war beyond political boundaries and government control.
The U.S. government should not stand by and allow hundreds of thousands to die and millions to suffer. The ISIS hostilities can be resolved in a relatively short period of time with a greater commitment by the U.S. Rebuilding is another story; the U.S. should avoid getting swallowed up in another country-building adventure.
Many lives are at stake and ISIS is growing stronger. The U.S. should act now.