This article was published in the Newsweek Magazine, a publication that boasts of providing in-depth analysis and opinions on technology, culture and politics. Max Boot, the author of the article holds a senior position at the Council on Foreign Relations. The publication has also been posted in the Council of Foreign Relations website. This information suffices for making a sound basis that the information provided in the article emanates from a figure well informed in matters of security. The author addresses how ineffective the policies adopted by the US government in dealing with the ISIS crisis, stating that more needs to be done in order for US and its allies to win the war.
Terrorism poses a great risk to global prosperity and world peace. Extremism has been at the heart of this global crisis, causing criminals to kill innocent people under the veil of misguided religion. With the recent Paris, Nairobi and Turkey terrorist attacks, coupled with the infamous September 11 twin bombings, world powers have come to appreciate the need to deal with the menace and end it once and for all. It is against this backdrop that the author of the article How to Deal with ISIS examines they ways in which world powers are handling the threat posed by the new and emerging terrorist cell ISIS in the Middle East.The author uses the appeals of pathos, ethos and logos in the article to successfully sway the audience to believe that indeed the US and its allies are not using effective policies to combat the threat of terrorism, neither are they putting in the seriousness that the crisis demands as they had dealt with the previous Al Qaeda insurgency.
In the article, How to Defeat ISIS, the writer argues that the tactics deployed by the current US administration in combating the menace are ineffective, and there is therefore a need for them to be reviewed. The current policy adopted in dealing with terrorism entails limited air strikes as well as the United States support for anti-terrorist units in both Iraq and Syria where these terror groups have set their bases. The government hopes that by so doing they will eventually destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. None of these steps however seem to stop the spread of ISIS activities in Iraqi provinces as well as in the northern parts of Syria. If the government is serious about the issue of containing ISIS and by extension other terrorist cells, it surely needs to improve its commitment to the cause more than it is currently involved. Given that the September 11 memories are still afresh in the minds of Americans, minimalist efforts towards containing such threat will not be taken lightly. Families of the victims and all US citizens at large need assurance that they will be safe within the confines of their land and thus any threat imposed on their security ought to be dealt with commensurate seriousness (Boot).
Based on the article, the United States should aim at neutralizing the ISIS, not degrading it as insufficient or having overambitious plans of completely destroying it, which might not be realistic at the moment. Reducing the terrorist group into a tiny cell that has limited reach and threat potent should be the main aim of the government, just as it did with Al Qaeda. There is newfound hope that ISIS can be destroyed as does not well organized as compared to other terrorist cells such as Hezbollah and Taliban, which have state backing. ISIS however presents an even bigger threat to the United States and its allies as its members are drawn from different countries and they might inflict considerable damage to their homelands. This gives a window of hope that the terror cell can be successfully crushed but still presents a challenge to authorities to be vigilant in ensuring that their citizens are not radicalized and influenced to join this terror network.
To win the war, there is a need for the United States to intensify air strikes on ISIS-controlled territories. So far there have been restrained bombings by the US military as compared to the Taliban and Al Qaeda invasion after the September 11 attacks. It took a total of 75 days for the US troops and its allies to dethrone the Taliban in 2001, in which a total of 6,500 air strikes were conducted, and 17,500 munitions dropped. The ISIS war has however seen a reduced intensity as only a total of 632 air strikes and 1,700 munitions have been dropped in the ISIS war during a 76-day period in the year 2014. This clearly indicates that there is the apparent lack of seriousness from the government, and it might take considerably longer to defeat the insurgents.
The incumbent administration has imposed certain restrictions on U.S Special Forces and air controllers to merge with local troops in ISIS territories such as the Free Syrian Army, the Iraqi forces and the Suni tribes who are opposed to ISIS domination. In the Taliban war of 2001, U.S troops and its allies would work hand in hand with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to fight a common enemy. This limits the effectiveness of air strikes as there is no reliable source on the ground to coordinate air strikes, limiting the combat capacity of the troops. Experience has shown the effectiveness of combat troops united with indigenous groups as opposed to isolated trainers confined to their army bases (Oberschall, 2008).
The number of troops currently deployed to combat the ISIS threat is desperately limited. The current number of troops deployed totals 2,900. However, the estimated number of troops required to effectively suppress the activities of the insurgents range from 11,000 to 25,000 according to a former commander and military analysts (Boot). This contingent should comprise of intelligence teams, Special Forces teams, logistical support teams as well as security teams that work with indigenous troops.
Mobilization of the Suni tribes in Syria and Iraq will go a long way in destabilizing the ISIS structure. As long as these tribes keep offering their support to the ISIS or showing any form of resistance, any hope of completely crushing these criminals will be very thin. If however these tribes switch their allegiance and oppose ISIS, as had happened in the Al Qaeda war in 2007, the war with ISIS will easily be won. Rallying the Iraqi Sunnis against ISIS will however not be a walk in the park as they feel that the U.S betrayed them by abandoning them under the rule of Shiite Muslims in Baghdad after the surge (Oberschall, 2008). To allay their fears, the United States can offer to assist and advise to the Sunnis that will keep them from Kurdish invasion.
There are however fears by critics that these tactics will place the United States on a potential ground war in the Middle East. There is the danger of the U.S troops sustaining injuries and possible casualties, not to mention the huge cost associated with this endeavor. The taxpayers would part with $10 billion, being the cost of dispatching ten thousand troops in a year. If these fears are heeded, there is a high likelihood that ISIS will advance its operations to other territories including Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, further presenting a major threat to world peace (Fenwick, 2016).
Terrorism poses a major threat to world peace and prosperity. There is strong evidence from the article to show that there is apparent laxity in dealing with the danger posed by ISIS, as well as the valid reservations and fears of the costs associated with committing to the war. However, considering the potential harm presented with unchecked ISIS, it is important that serious thought and review of the current policies should be undertaken. The author successfully uses the appeals of pathos, ethos and logos in persuading the audience that more efforts should be put forth in fighting the serious threat posed by global terrorism and terrorist cells such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Boot, Max. "Defeating ISIS". Council on Foreign Relations. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 July 2016.
Oberschall, A. (2008). How democracies fight insurgents and terrorists. RDAC, 1(2), 107-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17467580802578147
Fenwick, H. (2016). Responding to the ISIS threat: extending coercive non-trial-based measures in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. International Review Of Law, Computers & Technology, 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2016.1145870
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