National Public Radio led its “Week in Politics” program Sept. 12 off with analysis of United States President Barack Obama’s address to the nation on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Various journalists and talking heads discussed the fundamentals of Obama’s speech — was it strong enough, will it get the job done, just who is ISIS anyway? Afterward, I realized the United States has bombed Iraq, in some form or fashion, since I was 6 years old — I am a 30-year-old man. This tragic tradition, now a quarter of a century long, continues with the current commander-in-chief who holds a Nobel Peace Prize.
For all this time, the United States government has carried on national engineering and acts of mass murder in the Arab territory. In his speech, Obama stated: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade and ultimately ?destroy ISI(S) through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.” The next great drone war is upon us — sure to kill even more innocents. The United States government is already responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the region, with even more displaced and property destruction on a grand scale to boot. The new strikes are not limited to Iraq either. Bombs will fall on Syria despite a national outcry against the administration this time last year when it targeted the Bashar al-Assad regime. They got their damn war after all.
ISIS is a terrifying regime. The group subjugates and rapes women, kills children, and beheads prisoners. But more interventionism is not the answer. This new military campaign will only exacerbate their power, not curtail it.
A heart-wrenching video on Huffington Post shows a Syrian baby entombed in a bombed building. The camera is focused on a group of rescue workers frantically digging through debris, laden with twisted metal, to rescue the child. The scream of the infant is distinguishable over the noise of the crowd. At the video’s end the rescue workers are successful and the terrified child is pulled from the rubble alive. The sound of jubilation in the crowd is as joyful as it is agonizing.
The up-and-coming drone strikes ordered by Obama will recreate this situation every day, day in and day out, for as long as it is sustained.
Drone strikes are acts of terror. The campaign against terrorism is itself a never-ending campaign of terror. The United States is a permanent wartime state — the world’s greatest agent of repression. With each bomb, the world becomes less secure and less safe. With each bomb, the United States, and by default, those of us living within its borders, become more alone and isolated in the world.
Military strikes meet short-term political goals for the war hawks, but the enhancement of liberty is a long-term strategy.
Where there are markets, there is peace. Where there is peace, there is liberty. The more liberty in the world, by very definition, the less oppressive regimes.
I don’t want ISIS around anymore than anyone else, but the slaughter of tens of thousands is not the answer — it is the very imperialist mentality that created such a violent regime in the first place. The nation-state, for engaging in such slaughter, is itself an oppressive regime — it deserves nothing less than to be vanquished in liberty.
Center for a Stateless Society