In the wake of multiple terrorist attacks in Europe, one of the biggest issues dominating the national debate right now is what to do about ISIS. For all the alarm and rhetoric, there has been very little provided that could pass as a solution. The American public is at a crossroads, and it needs to make a choice. Do we support intervening to stop ISIS or should we mind our own business?
To make this choice, Americans need to answer a few questions:
Is there a threat to national security that warrants the use of military force against ISIS?
As the most powerful nation in the world, does the United States have a moral responsibility to intervene militarily to protect innocent people?
Or should we mind our own business and stay out of the conflict?
At the time of this writing, the majority of Americans support the use of military force against ISIS, and would answer yes to one of the first two questions. If Americans truly want to defeat this threat militarily, it’s time to change a few things.
Since the United States emerged victorious from WWII and solidified itself as a world power, we have been eager to use our military power around the world, yet have rarely fully achieved our objectives. From Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan and everything in between, we have waged half-hearted battles around the world, and at great human cost, with very little to show for it.
Too often we have been told by our modern politicians that we can have a quick and easy war. “There will be targeted airstrikes” they say. “Our troops will be in and out in no time” they promise. “There will be minimal loss of life and destruction of property” they assure us. We have seen the results of these “easy” wars fail us time and time again. If we are to win this war, we must accept one thing without question...
WAR IS BRUTAL
War is bloody and savage. With war comes the destruction of cities, the tragedy of collateral damage, and the reality that many of our own soldiers will lose life and limb in the battles to come. War is messy, as it ought to be, and the realization that war is so brutal and violent should make us hesitant to use it as a means to achieve our objectives. However, if we do decide that the use of military force is justified, we must commit to the full scale of what that entails, and we must not lose our resolve to continue fighting it until victory has been fully achieved.
Contrary to what President Obama promises, wars cannot be won from the air. However, dropping bombs from the air is no less an act of war.
If we think the use of planes and bombs is justified, it is time to end the half-hearted approach and commit to the battle. If we cannot do that, then we should withdraw from our participation in the fight and accept it is not our place. If we are to decide it is our place, then we should use overwhelming force to achieve victory. Anything less than that is a dishonest approach to “defeating ISIS”.