More and more people seem to think that stand-off, push-button joystick warfare is the answer. It ain’t.
Why indeed? Can you imagine the outcry that would have resulted if, instead of ISIS, U.S. forces had carried out the killings? Or the Israeli army? The world's ho-hum reaction was utterly predictable. If it surprises you, go back and review what the world, including our own so-called allies, have had to say when U.S. forces in Afghanistan have accidentally killed civilians, and compare it to what gets said when the Taliban deliberately does so. (The Taliban is responsible for 90% of the civilian deaths in that area. Do you think this generates 90% of the world outrage over what is going on there?) If ISIS wants a finger-wag from the United Nations, it's going to have to do more than slaughter a few hundred people, institute Sharia law, and force its women into niqabs. The world is a cruel place.
If there’s a lesson in any of that, it’s this: we need to stop thinking of ourselves as the globe’s policeman. In matters of terrorism in particular, we should start insisting on more assistance from our allies. In this particular case, they have as much to lose in allowing Iraq to become a stronghold and a breeding ground for terrorism as we do. It’s not fair for them to enjoy a peace dividend at no cost to them that we can’t get because we have to spend so much on our military. Our willingness to do so in the past has not led us to a good place, and it’s one reason why so few of our citizens and leaders are thinking clearly now about the road ahead.
One thing that's becoming increasingly clear is that Iraq likely is done as a nation. John Kerry is visiting not Iraq, but the Shiite enclave. Maybe it will formally declare new borders at some point. Maybe it'll simply allow Iran to absorb it. The Kurds in the north likely will wind up with their own country. And so will ISIS, which apparently we and the rest of the world are going to allow to form its own state. Perhaps they'll name it Terrorist Disneyland.
Of course, we could get lucky with ISIS. Maybe it will become the first such force in world history not to export its terrorism. Who’s to say it couldn’t happen? What makes you think it won't? Aside from world history?