Are airstrikes the right approach to ISIS?

Fighters from the Islamic State during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. AP photo

The Obama administration is faced with a growing challenge by Islamist militants. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS, now controls parts of those nations.

NPR’s Deb Amos outlined the tensions and some possible options to deal with ISIS on Morning Edition.

Today’s Question: Are airstrikes the right approach to ISIS in Iraq?

  • Sue de Nim

    Yes. Militant Islam (not to be confused with mainstream Islam) is shaping up to be to the early 21st Century what fascism was to the early 20th and communism to the late 20th. As with those earlier radical ideologies, it poses an existential threat to modern civilization.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      In fact, it may be more dangerous than fascism or communism, because it’s fueled by (misguided) religious fervor, not just political ideology.

  • JQP

    the bigger question is how to “attack” something that is not a nation with a military mindset that was built to attack nations. ISIS occupies ground space now… but their entity exists in financial transactions, propaganda and training, agreements – they have built no buildings to lose.

    There is no place to drive ISIS back to, or single base/location from which command and control originates.

    the effective attack against ISIS is entirely cyber.. communications, database development, profiling, destabilizing their trust among partners-associates.

    Love to see the legal framework for that, absent a binding UN resolution and a World Courts decision supporting… the war on virtual entities.

  • Jim G

    Yes, at least for now we need to take out the heavy weapons we originally supplied to the Iraqi Army that have been captured by ISIS. This negates an advantage ISIS has exploited as it increases it’s control in northern Iraq. Long term, western democracies need think strategically, for this medieval ideological regime cannot be allowed to forge a save haven.

  • Rich in Duluth

    No. Destroying trucks and war equipment is a short term action that does nothing to solve the problems.

    The problems include our use of war and our military to get our way in the world and our dependence of foreign sources of energy. We need a strategic plan that targets, through diplomacy and shaping world opinion, the states and organizations that are supplying repressive governments with money, military arms, and equipment needed to remain repressive. ISIS is a violent reaction to repression and religious intolerance. A reaction that is equally intolerant.

    More importantly, we need to spend the money we currently use buying bombs and billion dollar submarines on research and development of renewable energy sources for our transportation, heating, cooling, and industrial needs so that our “interests” stay at home.

  • Awesome McCool

    Possibly, but only by someone who ought to be concerned. So far no one has elected the US to be sheriff of the planet. This country needs to pull its collective heads out of its collective ass and come to realize that it’s our meddling that is actually the root of many our perceived problems. We can’t come to a concensus in our own government. It’s rather hypocritical that we think we can make a difference for the good in a battle that’s been going on about 6 times longer than we’ve been a country.

  • PaulJ

    That’s yesterday’s problem, what are we going to do if ISIS starts using non-conventional weapons or begins working beyond there current area.

  • James

    Unless ISIS has a charismatic leader with relatively broad appeal, ISIS is a local nuisance, and not an existential threat. And therefore, using $500,000 missiles to destroy $20,000 pickup trucks is a giant waste of money with no long term consequence. Airstrikes should endure as much debate as ground wars. Sure there is less potential for loss of US life, but the costs and other consequences are still substantial.

  • Redleg

    So we* bomb ISIS now, when just a few months ago we gave them weapons to fight Assad (Syria), and (get this) the White House is now saying that we are going to have to bomb Assad’s forces in Syria to offset bombing ISIS to destroy the weapons we gave them to bomb Assad… US foreign policy is looking like the poisoned cup scene in Princess Bride – at best.

    * “we” in this case is the numbskulls in DC not We the US people, although I’m sure there are corporate people that desperately want MOAR war that have way more influence than people people.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      No, “we” did not give ISIS those weapons. ISIS mostly captured them from the Iraqi forces to whom we gave them. Or weren’t you paying attention to the news?

      • Pearly

        We did not give them the weapons. But we did give them the keys to the front door

  • TinkersDam

    As someone else noted, ISIS is the closest thing to a Fascist state that we have seen in almost 80 years. They are spreading in the same way that they did before, including forcing children to take up arms. Indeed, the US has not been elected sheriff of the planet, but we are probably the only country that can effectively shut them down before they begin to spread, which is one of their avowed goals.

    The problem seems to be that we have lost sight of history. This has happened before, and thousands of lives were lost stopping it. If it isn’t stopped now, when or where will it be stopped? And by whom? And what will be the cost in civilian lives? That’s the real question here, not blowing up trucks, or the cost of missiles, but the killing and maiming of people who are just trying to get along with their lives.

    We have, in the past, gone too far. In this case we haven’t yet gone far enough.