There is a rather interesting analysis of ISIS up at the New York Review of Books. Well worth the read, especially for anyone who believes they know what ISIS is about. Bottom line for me? ISIS is comprised of depraved souls with no love for their fellow human beings, so long as those individuals do not agree with the ISIS way of death.
I confess to being a Calvinist, and, as such, find no shock in the depravity of ISIS and its supporters. On the contrary, their depravity, unchecked by our so-called modern sensibilities, is the natural state of humanity. Absent sufficient challenge, it metastasizes into places such as Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and, now, ISIS.
It would be too facile to blame Islam per se. Obviously, a very large majority of Muslims do not support the ISIS blood cult. Just as obviously, that same large majority is not dealing effectively with the serpent in its midst.
What to do? I know what we could do, but I don’t believe the West has the stomach for it – massive attacks with massive loss of civilian lives. Basically, make a wasteland out of all territory infested by the ISIS virus.
So, what should we do? A good start would be to ramp up our air campaign, effectively arm the Kurds to make them our sharp end of the spear. Perhaps even make good on a long-ignored promise of creating a Kurdistan out of Kurdish enclaves in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and, yes, Turkey.
Before any of that, though, the very first thing we must do is stop being mush-headed about ISIS. We must acknowledge that ISIS is a blood-cult variety of Islam. We must acknowledge that tribalism still rules the Middle East. They are not modern just because they have Twitter accounts. We must stop thinking that half-hearted measures and good intentions might work (e.g. let’s stop pretending that because we claim a “60 nation coalition” that we are actually making a real fight of it).
Along the way, and starting with the next administration (the current one seems to hate all things truly military), build up all branches of our armed forces. It is worse than useless to speak of “red lines” and not back up such brave talk. Or even be able to back it up because our president has decimated our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.