The Walrus: Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
But bombing it was the kind of dumb idea that characterized the US occupation. In the end it’s not just hearts and minds but stomachs that are won and lost. Anyone who attacked Haji Hussein was not going to win in Iraq any more than a terrorist group that attacks a night club in Paris is going to intimidate the French. If anything, it does the opposite.
The premise of this article – that simply bombing ISIS is going to do lasting damage to their movement, and that without a serious effort of local groups rather than far-flung foreign powers ISIS cannot be defeated – is echoed in more and more pieces I’ve been reading by foreign policy and military experts. It is completely counter to our gut response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, and is the opposite of what all the right-wing megaphones have been blaring in the media these past few days.
Because once you feel it your gut, you’re tempted to do what the French did when they attacked Raqqa almost immediately with large-scale bombing raids. But how many new recruits did ISIS get from this gut response? We’ll never know, but no doubt far more than the few they lost in Paris.
We need a strategy that will work to stop ISIS. Air strikes may be necessary in the short term to contain them or slow them down. But again, without local groups and other powers in the region stepping up, there is little hope of defeating ISIS.