Response to Islamic State once again betrays America's Hubris

This past week, it was announced that the United States government would begin airstrikes, against the Islamic State. In addition to these airstrikes, more US ground forces would be deployed to “advise” the Iraqi military and “moderate” Syrian rebels (What other conflict started off with only American advisors being sent?).

These “moderate” rebels will also be receiving weapons from the United States. These actions, government officials tell us, are of course being undertaken to uphold truth, justice and the American way.
It is hard to imagine a more perfect storm of disasters waiting to happen mixed with mindless hypocrisy.

There is no doubt that the members of the Islamic State are vicious and barbaric, especially by Western standards. Our civilized sensibilities are offended when ISIS members go around beheading people. The Saudi government beheads plenty of people all the time, it is an authoritarian state after-all yet I do not expect American missiles to be raining down on Riyadh anytime soon. ISIS has killed numerous innocent people.

The United States has killed hundreds of innocent men, women, and children through its drone war in Pakistan and Yemen. There is no doubt that ISIS truly is barbaric, but the reason that they offend our civilized sensibilities is simply because they are not as good at censoring their barbarity.

In the West, we live in a white-washed world were the true effects of American military action are not seen. Drop a few bombs and lob a few missiles somewhere and politicians can boldly proclaim how America is fighting the “good fight” and stopping the “bad guys” and in addition, no American lives are lost.

The reality is that plenty of people with lives, families and dreams of their own were blown apart to smithereens for something they did not do. The media does not show us the mangled corpses of children and pregnant women. Whether an innocent person is killed by a man sitting in a bunker in the United States with a remote controlled drone or by a Sunni Islamist with a sword in the middle of the desert does not really make much difference when one confronts the fact that an innocent life has been unjustly taken. Just because Western barbarity is in a sterilized form makes it no less barbaric.

It has not even been mentioned that ISIS exists because of US intervention in the first place. Had the war-mongers succeeded in bombing the Assad regime in Syria, who knows how powerful ISIS would be today.

Now, less than a year later, the government is looking to bomb the very people it was looking to help a year ago, while looking to help the very people it wanted to bomb. Does this not seem insane to anyone?
Does it not make anyone question whether or not government officials are competent enough to negotiate the very complex and difficult terrain that make up Middle Eastern politics? The US destabilized the entire region when it invaded the first time and that went so well it looks like another invasion is not out of the question in the near future.

Trial and error are natural parts of life. It is how human civilization has progressed from living in mud huts and starving to living in skyscrapers and having so much food that there is now an obesity “epidemic.” However, there is a large difference between experimenting with one’s own resources and in some cases, one’s own life, versus experimenting not only with the taxpayers’ money, but also the lives of the millions of people stuck in the Middle East whose lives and livelihoods get destroyed once again every time someone is D.C. decides to experiment with nation building again. How many instances of costly failure will it take before people realize that one cannot simply bomb the world into a state of peace?