Thomas Friedman, ISIS and the Need For National Debate

On May 27th Thomas L. Friedman penned in the New York Times his solution for taking on ISIS…“Contain and Amplify.”  Now, I am no Thomas Friedman, and never will be. However, our country needs a national debate regarding ISIS, otherwise the issue of this and other terrorists groups gets subjugated to 4-year election cycles and the idiosyncratic visions of presidential legacies.
Mr. Friedman’s basic proposal is to support countries…”like Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and the Kurds in Iraq, and amplify any constructive things that groups in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, or Syria are ready to do with their power, but we must not substitute our power for theirs.” There seems to be an increasing consensus that fires like ISIS will “eventually burn themselves out.” Mr. Friedman then goes on to use the Lebanese 14-year civil war as a prime example of “reconciliation-through-exhaustion.” One has to ask, “at what price in the meantime?”
I just finished reading Benjamin Hall’s “Inside ISIS: The Brutal Rise of a Terrorist Army” where he states that the above approach…”will take to long and during that time ISIS will have planted roots, brainwashed its children, and wasted its lands.” I can’t help but think about both past and future; (1) death tolls for Christians in the region, (2) widespread raping and slavery of women and girls, and (3) the millions displaced.
There is a lot of talk about ISIS taking Baghdad and Damascus. This significantly contributes to the justification for the rationale for containment. I don’t think ISIS wants the two capitals in the near future. That’s not to say that al-Qaida (Nursa Front) may try to take Damascus. When you take these two capitals, you have to be able to manage and financial support them. Therefore, I believe that Mr. Friedman’s containment strategy plays into ISIS’ overall strategy. Hence, the need for a national debate.

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