Casus belli anyone? So Obama wants Congress to authorize a war on ISIS. They’ll do it, of course, but not before the usual partisan sniping.
So far the “debate” has been a festival of irrelevance. Should it be sun-setted? Is three years right? What about the open-ended authorization for Al-Qaeda from 1991? Does it limit a future President’s options?
Oh, the self-satisfied sagacity of these people. Why, they’ve thought of everything … well almost everything.
Among the things that’s missing in this discussion is the Casus Belli … you may remember the search for the missing Casus Belli just before we hurdled headlong into the Iraqi War – you know, the one that created ISIS in the first place? The one that gave them arms, motivation and a modicum of training?
There’s also no acknowledgement that the “war on terror” approach to terrorism has been a complete, utter and abject failure. In fact, it encourages terrorism as a tactic, and serves as a recruitment tool. Here’s why.
The US as ISIS’s Best Ally
Someone once observed that terrorism is not complete until those being terrorized react. The more they react, the more effective terrorism is; the less they react, the less effective terrorism can be.
The fact is, terrorism is – by definition – asymmetric. The weaker party employs it precisely because they are not strong enough to achieve their aims either politically or militarily. They count on terror to provoke a reaction, and it is only when they achieve that goal that they can have an effect. In short, terrorism can only be effective when the target is complicit with the terrorist’s tactics.
Judged by this standard, the US is one of the most effective allies al Qeada or ISIL or any other crazed and lunatic group could ever hope for. Declaring a “war” on terrorism, occupying countries, spending trillions of dollars — the whole grotesque overreaction we engage in — is not only counterproductive, it is the greatest gift we could ever conjure up for the whackjobs of the world. We might as well stride across the globe with a giant “kick me” sign pasted to our backs.
That’s what makes the US’s whole reaction to ISIS or ISIL, or whatever moniker the boogeyman of the moment is adopting today, unfathomable. Declare War? Really? Why not just relinquish our freedoms outright? Oh, wait. We already did that with the Patriot Act and its various incarnations since.