Jerking Our Chains

In the wake of another horrific beheading there are calls to punish ISIS, which kind of ignores the fact that we’d already been punishing ISIS.

Over the past month, the U.S. military has launched more than 100 air strikes against ISIS targets in northern Iraq. While U.S. officials have publicly justified the attacks on humanitarian grounds—as well as protecting U.S. interests—they also have obliterated dozens of ISIS vehicles and checkpoints, and those manning them.

There is no way ISIS can counter U.S. air strikes. It has no air force and apparently has few, if any, anti-aircraft weapons. Its ground forces, once identified, are easy targets for American laser- and GPS-guided bombs and missiles.

So they’re beheading captured journalists because that’s all they can do. This is a terrible thing, but getting a rise out of us is what they want, and pushing us into some ham-handed retaliation would enhance their status as a terrorist organization. Which is why we would be wise to not let ISIS jerk our chains.

See also How America Made ISIS by Tom Engelhardt.