We’re gonna kill ISIS!!!!!!!

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Like many Americans, I watched Barack Obama’s speech last night and found myself largely underwhelmed.

I wanted to hear that America had this under control.

I wanted to hear that everything was all good.

Maybe, just maybe, I even wanted to hear some tough talk. You know, movie stuff. “ISIS, here’s my advice for you guys: Run and hide. Run. And. Hide. Because it’s over …”

Instead, we got nuance. Details. Information. It was a wonkish address from a wonk president, but terrorism isn’t wonk-material. It’s emotion, force, anger, fear. It’s metal and explosions and blood and death.

Americans wanted to see a president who felt that, and instead they received an informational speech.

But, in hindsight, here’s the thing: He was right. He really was, and I’m not saying that because I support Obama’s foreign policy (much of it I find frustrating). Nope. I’m saying he did the right thing because of all the claims we make about ISIS (they hate us for our freedoms; they want us to live in fear; they want to take over our land, etc) the one that seems true (like, undeniably true) is that they want American boots on their turf. That, to ISIS, would be the official start of a holy war; a holy war they believe to be ordained by Allah and destined by fate. Once we bring our forces to ISIS-held territories, we are printing leaflets and creating YouTube videos that would double, triple, quadruple their recruiting efforts. The moment we become invaders, all the words ISIS leaders spew about America become 100-percent true to potential followers: Look! They’re here! They want you dead!

That’s why, when I hear Republican presidential candidates boasting about killing ISIS, destroying ISIS, sending our troops in to root out ISIS, well, I cringe. Because this isn’t a typical war scenario, where it’s our troops v. their troops in a battle of attrition.

No. This is more complicated, more detailed, more nuanced.

More. Nuanced.

3 thoughts on “We’re gonna kill ISIS!!!!!!!”

  1. Based on all the criticism you’ve rightly leveled at George W. Bush’s foreign policy, you should also be criticizing Obama’s reckless and bellicose foreign policy. But he’s a Democrat, so you support it, and prattle on about the beauty of the nuance in his speech, or something. The best ISIS strategy from a U.S. perspective would be to disengage from the region and close military bases in the Middle East.

  2. The most depressing thing about the endless talk of war from Republican office holders and Presidential candidates is that the fiascoes of Iraq and Afghanistan are still wreaking havoc on the Middle East and the world, and these morons want to do it all over again. Right now.

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