The Cassandras Are Wrong About ISIS Being On America’s Doorstep.

by Pitt Griffin on September 28, 2014 · 0 comments

in Foreign Policy, Military, Terrorism

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” ― Kurt Vonnegut.

ISIS’s stated aim is to establish a caliphate across Iraq, Syria, and Kurdistan. To subjugate the people. And to establish a culture steeped in a sadistic, absolutist form of Islam and Sharia law. Yet many Americans – and Europeans – believe that its true aim is to attack the West. Much as Al Qaeda has done.

The problem with this belief is that everything that ISIS has done so far has supported their caliphate building, but not their attacks on Christendom. If your aim is to rain terrorist destruction on the West, building a nation state is a step in the wrong direction. Simply put, it gives your enemies something to attack. In other words, something that you must spend energy and resources to defend.

Al Qaeda may have built up networks of alliances – most notably ingratiating themselves with the Taliban in Afghanistan – but they never created an Islamic paradise on earth. They were as smoke.

Lindsey Graham is a leading proponent of the existential threat that ISIS poses to the US. But he conflates two separate ideas. On the one hand, the argument goes, if ISIS establishes their caliphate, they will develop the infrastructure to build WMD. On the other hand, the argument also claims, the danger to the US is vested in packs of “lone wolves” – particularly US passport-bearing, radicalized American citizens.

The second idea dovetails well with Al Qaeda tactics – strike the US, without giving the US anything to strike back against. But that hardly works in ISIS’s favor. Push America far enough and even the radical liberals will clamor for “boots on the ground” and some good old Arab ass kicking.

So why is ISIS making extravagant claims of future mayhem to be visited on the US? It may well be a mixture of recruiting and exuberance. There are many in the West – as well as millions in the Middle East – who do not like the Ugly American. “Yankee go home” is a long-honored protest. Anti-Americanism is a powerful recruiting tool.

If ISIS stirs up antipathy to the Great Satan, the native populations may be more willing to forgive the sadism of its actions. And ISIS doesn’t bring West Point, “chain-of-command” discipline to the battlefield. No doubt there are ISIS fighters grabbing their 15 minutes of fame with brash, wishful thinking – couched in apocalyptic language.

What of the other argument that an Islamic caliphate will provide the infrastructure to built some honest to God WMDs? Iran provides insight into the answer. They have worked tirelessly, for years, to make a nuclear device. They have scientists – many trained in the West – and technology. They have resources and infrastructure. But they have yet to produce a bomb 0r a method for delivering it.

But let’s say the Iranians are close. Aren’t they then the bigger threat? Shouldn’t we attack them first?

If the argument is that we should “nip the threat in the bud”, that we disable the nation before it comes to maturity – shouldn’t we be invading Libya? There’s already a country there – certainly with the desire to attack the US.

And if two beheaded US journalists are a sufficient casus belli, then four dead Americans in Benghazi should provide twice the justification.

We should always be vigilant. If some missiles and air strikes keep ISIS weakened, so be it. If a few well-timed assassinations, here and there, degrades them – if a few dollars, and a couple of guns, slipped to resistance groups distract the fanatics – then let’s do it. But for the sake of our youth – and the nation’s pocketbook – let’s stop the drum beat for war.

This is what happened the last time we fought in Iraq  because of a lie.

This is what happened the last time we fought in Iraq because of a lie.

 

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