By Sal Bommarito
Have you been wondering why ISIS has survived for so long? Why haven’t the U.S. and other major powers joined forces to eliminate these terrorists that commit crimes against humanity every day?
The U.S. is the greatest military force in the world, yet it has been unable to muster the political will or courage to destroy an organization intent on murdering non-Sunnis.
There’s an article in the New York Times that rehashes the same old concerns of the Obama administration about ISIS along with excuses why the U.S. has not attacked the insurgents. For months, Americans have awaited a plan from the president to deal with these thugs before they kill more innocent people. No news yet.
I’ve followed the ISIS situation since it began almost two years ago. From my perspective, the U.S. has been reluctant to unleash bombers and ground troops to Syria and Iraq for the following reasons:
- Carpet-bombing ISIS strongholds would result in massive civilian casualties. Collateral damage concerns have completely neutered our military might because insurgents hide among the general population effectively using them as human shields.
- When the U.S. destroys an adversary, it believes it has a moral responsibility to rebuild the country after hostilities end. This is always a costly effort in terms of American casualties and treasure. Americans cannot deal with more body bags filled with dead heroes.
- There are no compelling strategic reasons for the U.S. to face off against ISIS. Many say that the insurgents are preparing to attack our homeland and other western countries. This is true, but the resultant carnage of an invasion may be too great of a price to pay as compared to relatively small and isolated terrorist incidents. If ISIS were operating in Israel or in another country of an important ally, this argument would be moot.
- Why should the U.S. fight the war of others? With ISIS, very little assistance is forthcoming from Middle Eastern nations or our western allies. They know the U.S. has, and will always do the dirty work. Obama is testing this hypothesis by shunning any extensive confrontations with ISIS. Currently, the U.S. has about 3,700 soldiers in the area, hardly enough to defeat even a small enemy force. The president’s strategy has only served to embolden ISIS and frustrate allies who expect us to protect them.
What’s it going to take to kill off ISIS? Most Republican presidential candidates don’t believe anything currently being done in Syria will stem the tide of ISIS. They think the U.S. must be more proactive. That means we must attack with great force and kill the insurgents. Innocents will die. Whether the conscience of the nation can bear such an eventuality is questionable. Yet, the alternatives are not very promising.
Subsequent to an assault, the U.S. should walk away and let the cards fall where they may. This could result in a new insurgency to fill the vacuum. But, another nation-building circus is not politically feasible in America.