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To keep it short, we need to realize that bombs aren’t going to solve this problem and repeatedly intervening in the region isn’t going to make anything better.
We defeated Al-Qaeda-In-Iraq by funding local Sunni militias to act against them. We stopped funding them, then the AQI offshoot, ISIS, comes around and says “Hey, wanna be friends again?” and off we are for round 2, except this time we’re not funding anybody. We’re ignoring the only thing that allows ISIS to exist, and that’s the consent of the local majority Sunni populations. If they don’t want them there, they essentially cannot exist there in the long run.
Now, while I’m sure most Sunnis in ISIS territories aren’t fond of them, I doubt they dislike them so much as to go and risk their lives to resist them. If we want to actually make ISIS go away without sowing the seeds for another extremist organization to take its place, we have to make the local people feel like it’s in their interests to go with us instead of ISIS.
This is why I’m in favour of a very, very hands off approach to handling the situation. Funds and supply the fuck out of anti-ISIS groups on the ground. The big problem with Kurds wasn’t the manpower, it was that they had shitty technology, not enough/inferior equipment that couldn’t match ISIS in conventional warfare.
Arm them, train them, and let them fight, because when we get right down to it, they’re the only people that can actually fix the problem. We need to be funding and supporting local groups that are against ISIS and letting them do the job. Any intervention by us, like we’re doing now with bombing campaigns, in all honesty reduces the legitimacy of the local people fighting ISIS, and it’s painfully obvious from my view that we’re not in this conflict for humanitarian reasons, we’re in it to advance our interests. Otherwise we’d be doing things far, far more intelligently.
We can’t force people to hate extremism. We can encourage them to resist it. We can also, through our actions, radicalize them and drive them towards it. If we do the latter, we’re only making things worse, and right now I believe we’re doing the latter.
And the same thing goes for many things to do with terrorism/extremism. 9/11 was blowback for our involvement in the Middle East – not just militarily, but economically and in other ways politically. That’s not to say 9/11 was right, of course it wasn’t right, it was a cowardly and disgusting crime. But it was blowback.
If we want to stop making ourselves targets of attacks, if we want to stop the Middle East becoming a breeding ground for never ending wars, we need to address the root problems, and those root problems are socioeconomic conditions which are, whether we want to admit it or not, traced straight back to us – not just the US, but Europeans as well. But the problem is that I don’t believe our governments actually want to do that. Why would they?