What will it take to defeat the ISIS? According to Rand Paul, it’s certainly not more American boots on the ground in the Middle East. Rather the Kentucky senator is adamant that America should take a backseat to Muslim forces.
Putting more American boots on the ground will most likely be seen by Muslims as just another occupation by “the crusaders”.
“The thing is once we defeat what we can see and [ISIS] fades into the landscape, what do you think they will be telling the radicals? The crusades are back, the Christians are back, they want to Christianize us and they are going to convert you,” said Paul. “So then you have a festering underground movement that comes back and within a few years you have another huge insurrection.” (Daily Caller)
Asked on the CNN’s “The Situation Report” whether Americans should be as concerned about another terrorist strike, Senator Paul said terrorist attacks are very difficult, if not impossible to prevent. (Only 51% polled believe Obama’s administration can protect them against terrorist attacks.)
That does not however, Paul believes, mean we shouldn’t do more to prevent them. He further called for a coalition of Arab countries to finally defeat ISIS, saying that it should be Arab boots on the ground that need to do this, not American.
Earlier in December, Sen. Paul said pretty much the same thing during an interview on Glenn Beck:
“I would acknowledge that the only lasting peace, the only lasting victory is going to come from Muslim boots on the ground. Arab boots on the ground are going to have to defeat ISIS. It has to be Islam saying ‘This does not represent us’. It can’t be Americans saying, ‘This doesn’t represent Islam’. It has to be Muslims saying, ‘This doesn’t represent Islam.’” (The Blaze)
When it comes to ousting Saddam Hussein and defeating Al Qaeda, it is that these were ultimately seen as American victories. For the oppressed people there, the Americans were not “liberators” but “crusaders”.
The same mistake cannot be made again when fighting ISIS and the Muslims are well aware of this.
Take for instance the liberation of the city of Ramadi from ISIS by a joint force of Iraqi army and Shiite militia. Following the recapture of such an important strategic position, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi presented this as a victory won by Iraqi men and arms, not by American planes and bombs, addressing the victory to “our proud Iraqi people.”
As Matt Purple of Rare puts it:
“He needs his people to rally around the flag and unite against the Islamic State—to see this fight as truly their own. This urgency is part of a greater reality that we, staggering onwards in our delusion of a unipolar world, so often fail to understand: the only way to defeat the Islamic State once and for all is for the countries of the Middle East to take responsibility, set aside their squabbles, and do the job themselves.
…America can aid this war, fund this war, but it cannot take charge of this war. The peoples of the Middle East must be allowed to exorcise their own demons.”
(Photo courtesy of Enno Lenze, Flickr CC BY 2.0)
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