You have to feel for the President. Just when he finally extricates the U.S. from out disastrous war in Iraq, along come the would-be caliphs of ISIS, slaughtering Christians, Yazidis and Shi'ites and threatening our friends in Kurdistan. All around him, a chorus of "We have to do something!" bursts out. Yet in his other ear he hears a nagging whisper, the people in the peace institutes saying, "Every bomb recruits more extremists."
I don't know what I would do, at this point. I'm disappointed in the Kurds; I thought we could rely on them to preserve their own island of stability, but it seems that they won't stand up to ISIS any more than the Iraqi government will. The Kurds are already very well armed, so if they still won't fight there isn't much we can do to help them.
I'm not going to protest American airstrikes; as I said, the President is in an awful position, and things in Iraq are bad. But the long-term lesson seems clear to me: war is not the way to peace. Stirring up violence usually only leads to more violence, and we should stay far away from half-baked revolutions and stop meddling in other people's civil wars. ISIS is our own creation, the natural result of the violent policies we have pursued in the Middle East since the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and of our alliance of convenience with Sunni fanatics in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. We brought them into being. I cannot decide whether that means it is now our job to stop them, or whether the whole story shows that our meddling will always only make things worse.