'State of perpetual war seems to guarantee Obama and Congress remain popular and re-electable’
Peter Mark van Buren highlights that the “war drums have been beaten” over ISIS just a few days before the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, a time when US citizens are hyper-sensitive to the issue of security and terrorism. He suggests the Administration might be taking advantage of people’s fears, as around a month ago the majority of Americans hadn’t even heard of ISIS, and now they support US military involvement.
“In a poll released by the Washington Post on September 9, 65% of Americans support airstrikes into Syria and 71% support airstrikes in Iraq. We are people that are easy to fool, people that are easy to be manipulated, and I am very afraid that our politicians including the President often do take advantage of that,” van Buren added.
“Obama had been beaten around the head and shoulders by his opponents for not being “tough” enough. And so what is his response? To do something that American people perceive as tough,” van Buren said.
He claims that ISIS has been in existence since 2007, and since then has not attempted to attack the American mainland.
“As for ISIS attacking the United States again, they have a long history and during that history they have not shown much of an interest or capability in attacking us. They do have a lot of money, but money does not instantly translate into the ability to bring people across international borders, arm them, have them conduct the surveillance and background work that is necessary for a major terrorist strike, and then pull it off all without any of the security forces hearing about it,” the former US diplomat told RT.
As regards US intentions to fight ISIS, Peter Mark van Buren argues that President Obama is “in the position now to commit the United States to another 3 years of war in Iraq,” however, it is clear that such a step will have implications for all actors in the Middle East.
“The idea that while the United States is engaged in this campaign across the border between Iraq and Syria the rest of the Middle East will just be sitting in a static form is absolutely foolish,” he says.
Another expert, Michael Maloof, who is former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense, shares this view, adding that Washington cannot fight ISIS alone and even NATO has “no stomach to re-engage troops on the ground.” At the same time Maloof considers that calling on Arabs to go along with waging war on ISIS is a bad idea.
“The Arab world is unable to cope with that type of warfare that the ISIS army is undertaking, it’s not a ragtag group any longer, these guys are a fully-fledged army now, and they are very well trained and financed. To bring in the Arab world to do this Sunni fighting Sunni is also creating some potential political problems between the Administration and the other Arab countries,” he told RT.
Michael Maloof expects the US government to apply a three-phase approach, which is actually “too little too late.”
“First would be the continuation of the area bombing, second will be support for more troops and the troops that are on the ground from the Peshmerga to Iraqi forces, then the third is the decision whether or not to go ahead and bomb inside Syria. But again these phased approaches are like telegraphing to the ISIS leadership what our intensions are, and we have also announced that we are not going to have boots on the ground, which is something that we should never be conveying publicly,” Maloof said.
Former US diplomat Peter Mark van Buren also doubts the effectiveness of military action against ISIS since he thinks that “the concept of the Islamic State is an idea, but not a thing or a person,” and it is impossible to defeat the idea with arms.
“I think all these organizations represent ideas, very powerful ideas, that can be exported to different countries, where people who are disadvantaged, people who are afraid of their own governments, people who are afraid of America projecting power into their countries become a very fertile audience for that idea. So whether it is carried by Al-Qaeda or it is carried by ISIS or it is carried by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, or the organizations that are fighting in Somalia, it is an idea and you simply cannot defeat an idea,” van Buren said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.