Sept. 27, 2014 by Darius
A few days ago, I saw a panel discussion entitled “Jihad 3.0” detailing the current situation with ISIS. Overall, the panel didn’t break any new ground, but there were a few interesting comments.
Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, thought that US efforts against ISIS weren’t very effective. As he said, airstrikes and bombings are only a matter of physics and chemistry. Changing the political situation on the ground, though, is much more complicated. US intervention hasn’t scratched the surface of the latter necessity.
Juan Zarate, a former Treasury Department official under George W. Bush, took a more hawkish line. He said the Obama administration has been caught up in its own narrative. According to Zarate, the Obama administration is so obsessed with showing that it has “learned the lessons of Iraq” and the lessons from the Bush administration that it has tied its own hands in terms of actions.
Alterman disagreed with Zarate. He made the point that even though US policies might appear to have failed, or at least not be successful, that doesn’t mean that another course of action could have yielded any better results. He felt that the Obama administration was on the right path. As Alterman said, “We’re doing what we can but not what we need to.”