We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My friend, strategist Mark Safranski, also known as the ZenPundit, offers a masterful review of What To Do About ISIS: Constructing Strategy, Weighing Options, from nothing to full-out annihilation. It really is a must read summary of the paths the US might take, having already allowed the threat to multiply manyfold by the Obama administration's ignoring it although briefed about ISIS for a year.
Now for the Obama administration, late to wake up even a little, as Safranski puts it:
Attempting to find the strategy with no risks and no hard choices is a policy to engage primarily in ineffectual military gesticulations insufficient to actually change the status quo in Iraq and Syria ( and the eternal default strategy of domestic political consultants and career bureaucrats playing at foreign policy)....
The Obama administration faces a difficult dilemma in pondering the problem presented by ISIS. I don’t envy them but their task will grow easier and a resultant strategy more likely successful if they are willing to make ruthless choices in pursuit of bottom-line, clearly-defined American interests.
A disclaimer up front: this is not a joke, it is genuine cynicism.
Why don't we just do nothing, except for operations like the current one to rescue Christians and (I hope) move them somewhere out of the war zone?
Think about it. There are several good reasons for us not to become involved. One is that if we fight ISIS, then like it or not we are effectively allying with our once and future enemy Iran, and maybe helping them hurt Israel (our only real friends in the region).
Second, if we stay out, several quite nasty jihadist groups, including not only ISIS and Iran but also Hamas and others, will spend years beating up on each other, who deserve it. If we come in, they will forget about fighting each other, because in their ideologies we are enemy #1 to all of them.
Third, chances are the only way the millennia of fighting in the Middle East will ever end is by one side being wiped out, or at least conquered and deprogrammed for generations as we did the Nazis. It's unfortunate but true, and fighting there when we're not willing to go that far and stay that long is a waste of our country's blood and treasure.
So why jump into a muddle like the present situation, where there's no way we'd be allowed to do that? Once either Iran or ISIS has conquered pretty much all of Arabia, it'll be down to us and Israel (or just Israel) against that one big enemy. Then we'll have a free hand to conquer them and deprogram them.
And fourth, the US no longer needs Middle East oil. Europe, China, and Japan do. Why not let some or all of them butt in, and bear the cost, if somebody needs to?
The answer is to be found on the golf course. We are so lucky that during this international crisis our president is over qualified to put in the time and effort on the links working tirelessly even interrupting his vacation to golf and ponder. I for one think in a few years he willcome up with a strategy. Hint: Bush's fault.