Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Force And The Islamic State

Obama - rightly - has gone to Congress to authorize military action against the Islamic State.  IS is certainly evil, though I don't think they're a global threat.  They were created by Sunni disenfranchisement in Iraq and Syria, and the only way to thwart them is - in my opinion - to create a Sunni state from Tikrit to Aleppo.  Until you root out the problem, the use of force will only get you so far.  The so-called Surge was really about bribing Sunni tribal leaders to throw over AQI.  When we left, Baghdad no longer cared about placating the Sunni minority and that created an opening for IS.

I'm not reflexively opposed to the use of force.  Both IS and Boko Haram deserve a swift and harsh international response.  They have mastered the dark art of using evil deeds to galvanize the "civilized" world.  They number in the thousands, not the tens of thousands, but simply sending in the 2nd Armored Division wouldn't solve anything in the long run.

"War is politics by other means," said Clausewitz.  War must have a political aim.  My criticism of Obama's "wars" in Libya and now the Levant is not that he has plunged pell mell into wars of choice, but rather that he has used force without a political goal.

"Degrading" the ability of IS to terrorize people is a good thing.

What comes after that, though?

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