Military Intervention in Syria Is the Problem, Not the Solution
From Paris to Beirut, the Islamic State's latest atrocities are a calculated effort to bring the war in Syria home to the countries participating in it.
Military Intervention in Syria Is the Problem, Not the Solution
By Peter Certo / fpif.org
Nov 27, 2015

A café. A stadium. A concert hall. One of the most horrifying things about the murderous attacks in Paris was the terrorists’ choice of targets.

They chose gathering places where people’s minds wander furthest from unhappy thoughts like war. And they struck on a Friday night, when many westerners take psychic refuge from the troubles of the working week.

The message was simple: Wherever you are, this war will find you.

The same could be said for the 43 Lebanese civilians murdered only the day before, when a bomb exploded in a crowded marketplace in Beirut. Or for the 224 vacationers who died when their Russian airliner blew up over Egypt a few weeks earlier.

The Islamic State, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for each of these atrocities. But that’s not the only thing they have in common. In fact, all of them occurred in countries whose governments — or, in Lebanon’s case, a powerful militia — have gotten involved in Syria.

Russia started bombing ISIS targets and other Syrian rebels last month. Hundreds of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters have fought and died defending the Syrian regime. And France was the first country to join the Obama administration’s war on ISIS last year.

Indeed, scarcely a month before ISIS attacked the French capital, French planes were bombing the Islamic State’s capital in Raqqa, Syria — dropping bombs that “did not help them at all in the streets of Paris,” as a grim communiqué from the terrorist group gloated afterward.

These horrific attacks on civilians are part of a calculated effort to bring the war in Syria home to the other countries participating in it. And our bill could come due next.

Washington’s funneling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to its proxies in Syria. It’s dispatching special forces to “advise” an array of the Islamic State’s enemies. And in an air war totally unauthorized by Congress, U.S. warplanes have launched thousands of strikes on alleged ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

But you can’t simply bomb extremism out of existence. And as governments from Moscow to Paris to Beirut are learning, you put your own people’s lives on the line when you try.

Military intervention has succeeded mightily in breaking things and killing people, but it’s done nothing to wind down the greatest factor fueling the rise of ISIS: Syria’s wider civil war. An international arms embargo and a deal between the Syrian regime and other rebel groups — jobs for diplomats, not drones — would go much further toward curtailing the threat of ISIS.

Yet France has responded to the carnage in Paris by pounding Raqqa with yet more air strikes — reportedly bombing medical clinics, a museum, and a stadium of its own, among other targets.

Leading U.S. presidential candidates aren’t proposing anything smarter.

Hillary Clinton declared that ISIS “must be destroyed” with “all of the tools at our disposal.” Ted Cruz called for “overwhelming air power” and condemned the Obama administration for having insufficient “tolerance for civilian casualties.” Ben Carson called for “boots on the ground,” while Donald Trump swore he’d “bomb the s— out of” ISIS-controlled oil fields and hand them over to ExxonMobil.

Virtually all GOP contenders, along with a gaggle of Republican governors, agreed that they’d close the door to Syrian refugees, too — as though they can evade the consequences of war by making life more miserable for the innocent people fleeing it.

None of this bravado makes me feel safer here in Washington, where ISIS threatened more Paris-style bloodshed in a recent video. When I imagine those cold-blooded killers running roughshod through the bars, restaurants, and concert halls my neighbors and I frequent, my stomach drops.

But that’s the lesson, isn’t it: When your government answers every problem in the world with military force, war begets war. And eventually there’s nowhere left to hide from it.

Peter Certo is the editor of Foreign Policy In Focus.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 12,009 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 10,725 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 9,870 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 8,161 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 7,999 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 3,672 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
The Price of Certainty
7 min · 2,837 views today · It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 1,955 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,864 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,673 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct action
IWW · 1,534 views today · The indignity of working-for-a-living is well-known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which our society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,481 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
True Justice Should Have Compassion in It
Thich Nhat Hanh · 1,434 views today · I believe that true justice should have compassion in it. When someone does something harmful, destructive, the destruction is done not only to the person who is the victim...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,227 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 723 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
NRA's Trump Card - Inside Trump's Era of Guns
15 min · 645 views today · Deregulating silencers, broadening concealed carry and undercutting state gun laws are just a few likely changes after the National Rifle Association supported President Trump...
Growing Huge Amounts of Food on 1/2 an Acre - Urban Abundance
5 min · 487 views today · In the small town of Oxford, Kane and Fiona Hogan have transformed their urban 1/2-acre property into abundant veggie gardens. Their business Urban Gardener aims to build...
Meet the Earthship
7 min · 485 views today · Outside of Taos, New Mexico, you'll find a community of people living in off-grid homes made of garbage. The homes are called Earthships and were invented by Michael Reynolds...
Runaway Inequality Elected Trump. Here's How It Can Help Defeat Him
Les Leopold · 461 views today · One of the best forms of resistance will be our demand for a more equitable and humane economy
The Importance of Empathy
3 min · 414 views today · With an increasingly polarized and divided world, we need empathy more than ever before. Too often we are talking at each other, unable to listen and jumping to entirely wrong...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Military Intervention in Syria Is the Problem, Not the Solution