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It is not about eliminating every violent group in the region for the indefinite future. I m not naive. It is ISIS and their particular brand of violence that needs to be addressed.
Obviously, I do not agree with your reduction of my argument to pure absurdity. Rather than doing the same to your point of view, I will leave you with this:
1) ISIS is such a remarkable threat that they managed to bring Russia, the US, and Iran together.
2) In Iraq and Afghanistan 6,900 American soldiers have died. Between 2003 and 2013, 112,000-123,000 civilian noncombatants died.* According to the The Human Rights Commission of Iraq, ISIS has killed 50,000 Iraqi's over the past year. At the current rate, ISIS would kill 5 times as many people over a ten year period (500,000). Not to mention ISIS has displaced 3 million from their homes and sold thousands of women sold into the sex trade. I was opposed to the Iraq invasion. I have not changed my mind on that. I do not like war. In fact, this is the first time in my life I have argued in favor of one...In my estimation, inaction will lead to more deaths. This is especially true when you consider the fact that ISIS forces are growing in strength. They killed more this year than last, and more the last year than the one before, so one should expect a continued increase for a while (unless military intervention stops them), which of course means that the above 500,000 deaths would be even more.
*I will not defend the Iraq war. It was a terrible decision and it killed a lot of innocent people. The war against ISIS is different because there is much more defined opponent in very well defined areas.
3) Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has said that the ISIS fighting force is as large as 200,000. By comparison, Iraq’s security forces are estimated to have approximately 84,000 between the military and federal police force combined, and Syria’s army is thought to have 125,000 regulars. That means that ISIS forces have in a relatively short time grown larger than Iraq's and possibly even Syria's. And that is with 10,000 reported ISIS soldier deaths in combat!
4) Isis currently rules a third of Iraq and a third of Syria with a population of 12 million according to Fuad Hussein. They declared a caliphate on June 29th 2014.
5) You have not addressed the fact that their primary recruiting tool is religious, not Anti-Americanism, which if you read their propaganda materials they are pretty clear about. al-Bagdadhi is the leader of all Muslims according to them (a claim I know most Muslims reject) and they invite all Muslims, including Americans, to join the Caliphate and fight against democracy and heresy. If that is true, the absence of America in the region will not cease the flow of Jihadists, though it will slow it a bit. Over time you will have millions of Islamists (people who want to live under a 7th century Sharia rule) supported by an army of 150,000-300,000 Jihadists that are willing to fight to expand the borders of their Sharia. Then you will have to confront ISIS, but a much stronger, well organized and fortified ISIS than the one you have now.
No doubt our support of the rebels was a terrible disaster.
I am not necessarily arguing for US boots on the ground. I am fine with the Iranians and Iraqi's joining the Russians and Syrians on the ground with air support from Western coalitions. I am arguing for military intervention and do not care if it is a coalition approach. That is what is happening right now and Russia seems to be in the lead. I don't care who leads it. In fact, we are also in agreement that Russia's strategy has been more effective to date, though I am no fan of Assad and have not forgot that he is their friend. But given the presence of ISIS, I would agree that deposing Assad was a bad idea.
"Why would we put a billion dollar embassy in Iraq with a permanent military presence there?" Don't agree with your answer on this...there is a simpler answer and it is found by asking another question. Why do we have so many of our military resources in Germany? a place that is now our friend... The neocons basically said WWII is over, so lets redistribute our military resources into the parts of the world we need them in...Iraq. It was not about breaking up Iraq. It was about establishing a permanent US military presence in Iraq, a part of the world that we had deep interests in and that was unstable. The neocons like Cheney, Rumsfield and others argued that for years before George W. Bush was elected. I don't agree with it, but it is there on the record. There is no need for conspiracy to explain why we invaded. Once again, I am not defending the strategy, just stating it.
You said, "my point is that we don’t have to negotiate with them. Leave that to the region. Leave Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan to manage it. We are only causing more problems in the region." Every one of those countries and more asked us or other world powers to intervene. The Iran nuclear deal was, I am convinced, about lifting sanctions on Iran so they could afford to fight ISIS. Iraq asked us for more help...we declined, so they invited Russia, then we gave them more. The Saudis asked for our help and so did Jordan, I believe.
"And finally, let’s run worst case scenario." Your worst case scenario is not one I agree with. Their primary recruiting method is not anti-americanism...I just read their first publication announcing the caliphate. al-Bagdhadi invites all Muslims--American, Arab, European, African, Chinese, etc--to fulfill their religious obligation and migrate to the caliphate. And they have got thousands of Muslims from the developed world to migrate there, not to mention many many more that live in the region. Their main recruiting tool is religion, not anti american propaganda.
If America never existed ISIS would still be there!
Though the vast majority of Muslims do not approve of ISIS, many, many millions do. You are talking about an Islamic State populated with Jihadi fighters that thinks practically every country in the region and every democracy in the world is a slap in the face of God that must be set right and that it is their job to set it right. That means that you can confront them now, while they are smaller and less established or you can wait until they are all set and ready to go, but you will have to confront them. They will not allow you to ignore them.
It is an opinion piece.
All of the statistics are credible and linked throughout. Here they are again:
1) Daily Beast opinion piece on the reports listed below: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/10/...
2) Summary of Pew Report: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-mus...
3) Full Pew report: http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/04/worlds-musl...
1) military intervention by Assad: there is no point in arguing this because we did support the rebels and Assad's government is weakened. Furthermore, I am arguing for the efficacy of ubiquitous military interventionism. I arguing for it in this case. I did not, still do not agree with the Iraq war...but do not mistake what I said, the Iraq war did not create ISIS. It created the conditions for ISIS to thrive. ISIS started in 1999, which brings me to my next point...
2) American intervention in the region did not create radical Islam. ISIS is not a reaction to the West. There main objective is to start a caliphate not, rid the region of western influence, except when western influence interferes with their caliphatic goal. Their position is purely a theological position, which is why the bulk of their victims have been Muslim, not Western. They see 200 million shiites as apostates marked for death, not because of American intervention, but because of their theology. In fact, their disdain for the West is deeper that interventions gone awry...they see the very idea of democracy as heretical, because it elevates mans law above God's law. With all that said, my reasons for military intervention, which I did cite in the article...
3) If everyone left them alone, they would simply wither away like an un-watered plant, because the main reason people flock to the Islamic State is theological, not political, which is why you far more western muslims leaving to join the ISlamic State that they ever did for Al-Qaeda. Tens of millions (pew research) of Muslims share the goal of the Islamic State and if left unimpeded, they will continue to migrate there until their numbers have swelled to an unmanageable total. The longer we put it off, the more difficult the problem will become. My proof? The past 2-3 years.
4) Military intervention is unavoidable because diplomacy is a nonstarter for them...they cannot negotiate with Iraq or Iran, because they are apostates (shiites and democratic). They cannot negotiate with the Western world because we are heretics...their position toward us is not as bad as it is to Muslims they consider to be apostates like the Shiites in Iran and Iraq or liberal Sunnis. According to their Sharia they have to allow us to live, so long as we are willing to submit to Islamic law and pay a special tax.
5) I never meant to imply that we should be the only country involved in the fight...I did not mean to if I did. Nor do I disagree with what you said--except the 9:1 number--about the political consequences of military mistakes made in the region. That most certainly helps recruiting. But make no mistake: there are tens of millions of Muslims that agree with them on Theological grounds that predate the existence of America and they are willing to fight for the Islamic state.
6) I have no way of proving to you or providing you with facts that support the claim that "Military intervention is the only thing that will stop ISIS." We will have to wait and see. But the above, in my mind, does prove that non-intervention would not stop ISIS. They are not primarily concerned with stopping American intervention, but establishing a calliphate, so discontinuing American intervention would not end their mission.