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No Alternative to Bombs?

Ted Rall
© Ted Rall

It’s true. Everything I hear about ISIS (or ISIL, IS, etc.) is that they are totally evil and must be stopped. Even Rand Paul, who called Hillary Clinton a “War Hawk” did an immediate about face and called for us to bomb them.

But then I started hearing that Muslims are just as appalled at ISIS as we are, and are trying to figure out ways to stop them. Wouldn’t it make far more sense to give them a chance before we start dropping bombs?

Why do we think we always have to be the police of the world?



  1. Hassan wrote:

    The matter is very complicated, and I can see why Obama is showing some reluctance.

    The problem started with Syrian uprising against the dictator Bashar-Al-Asad, and he tried crushing it with help of Iran and Russia. Since Syrian population is overwhelming Sunni, Bashar lost much control of country to sunni groups (not all were alike).

    The arab countries can take care of Iran, but they cant take care of Russia. In fact even America seems to be unable to control Russian aggression in Ukraine.

    Now since Obama was reluctant to support uprising of Syrian sunnis, specially moderates (which is relative only, no group is what America can like perfectly, but there can be groups who are less ruthless compared to ISIS), one group became dominant eventually which was ISIS. ISIS expanded its sunni rebellion in Iraq, and Iraqi sunnis cooperated.

    Now if Obama takes action against only ISIS, which is threat to sunni regimes as well, but sunnis overwhelming across the globe will consider it as America helping shias against them. (not because they like ISIS, but they will point out american lack of action against Bashar)

    In hindsight, America should have taken hold early on in Syria so not to let groups like ISIS rise. And if you say arab and muslims should have taken care of it, as I said, they cant fight Russians.

    For now, I think Obama is right not to get involved, but I think he will eventually, but he should let local countries take care of ISIS. But someone has to take care of Bashar as well.

    Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  2. westomoon wrote:

    Why do we think we always have to be the police of the world?

    I’m afraid it’s worse than that — we seem to have developed the reflexes of a playground bully. Even modern cops are smarter than, e.g., John McCain would have us be.

    As to ISIS, it’s even more complicated than the Sunni-Shiite divide most of us haven’t quite grasped yet. HuffPo had an excellent, if unnerving, article recently:

    Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  3. ThatGuy wrote:

    This is definitely being a Monday-morning quarterback three seasons too late, but situations like these are where going into Iraq and bungling Afghanistan really hurt us. Almost no one likes ISIS, and they are clearly a terrible force (same can be said of Assad and other dictators who cracked down on the Arab Spring) but we are completely hamstrung in doing anything about it because we have both lost the trust of the international community and wearied our military is pointless or poorly planned (or both) outings over the last 15 years.

    In my opinion, providing air support for an Arab-state/moderat militia assault on ISIS is a no-brainer. Yes, it must be cautious and we need an end game plan, but this is the sort of situation where cooperation between countries can lead to wonderful relations down the road. We do this because, frankly, no air force in the region (save maybe Israel) can do what the US Navy and Air Force can do. Unfortunately we’ve used up any credibility we had in the region and a lot of political will at home to do anything. Sure, politicians will stand up and say “bomb them, invade them, etc. etc. etc.” but unfortunately I think a lot of that is driven by folks trying to attack Obama for rightly saying that we didn’t have a strategy for ISIS right out of the gate.

    Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink
  4. NYPhilsPhan wrote:

    In addition to the confusing nature of sectarian and tribal influences in the region, I wonder now if we are just playing a game of whack-a-mole, where trying to combat a group by force just results in another that pops up and takes its place. Taliban, Al-Qaeda, IS are the big names, but there have been regional ones as well like Al Sadr.

    I think that IS is a more immediate threat to regional players like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and we should be focusing on supporting their efforts. But there is never any talk about trying to address some causes of sectarian conflict and islamic extremism. There is extreme poverty and unemployment in many parts of the Arab world, as well as an extreme gap between the rich (ruling) class and the poor. US intervention has been bungling at times, arrogant and disrespectful at other times (Abu Grabe (sp)) comes to mind. I feel like we keep making a bad situation worse, rather than helping bring together moderate islamic leaders to promote unity, enabling economic prosperity (other than oil revenues). We need new approaches, but when all you have is a hammer (bombs), everything looks like a nail (terrorists).

    Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink