Destroying ISIS, [et all terrorist groups]

So what is the key to destroying ISIS and ensuring they never come back?

It seems to me that we are in a darned if you do darned if you don’t position where if you don’t intervene they will just get worse and continue to spread but if you do intervene they will just use it as a recruitment tool to get more fighters t o join their ranks.

Is it possible to defeat ISIS or do we just need to get used to the idea of genocidal militant groups rising up and killing people wantonly and threatening us from time to time?

I don’t think there is a categorical answer to this which is why it’s probably better suited to GD.


Or we keep up the pressure and watch them tear themselves apart.

Is that an effective method? We’ve seen the decline of Al-Qaeda and other groups only to see the resurgence of groups such as ISIS and the formation of militias, etc within those areas

We will never stop all terrorism. Most terrorist attacks in the USA are done by lone wolves. Timothy McVeigh, Tsarnaev Brothers, Dylann Roof, were not part of terrorist groups. They acted alone.

Stopping terrorism is pretty simple in theory: You teach your kids to respect other human beings and stop tolerating violence. But clearly this is easier said than done. Until humanity as a whole evolves into some happy hippy Star Trek world with no want, competition, or disagreement, where everyone lives emotionally fulfilling lives and tolerates one another in harmony, there will be some degree of violence.

Practically every theory of terrorism fails on some count. One of the most common arguments is that western involvement in the Middle East (for example, aid to Israel and US troops in Saudi Arabia) fuels terrorism. That argument fails because many culturally incompatible nations such as Japan and Korea hosted US troops and substantially transformed their cultures to compete with the Western world. There are deeper issues involving sectarian fanaticism, resource scarcity, corruption, tribalism and geography that prevent Middle Eastern countries from making the same top-down cultural evolutions you see in, say, Japan.

The claim that terrorism is a reaction to US aggression and bombing is straight-up nonsense. If terrorists wanted revenge on America, they would attack America. Instead, they attack other Muslims. They aren’t fighting the West, they are just fighting for power like any other criminal. Furthermore, many of the terrorists who struck in the West come from wealthy and well-educated backgrounds; They did not suffer any mistreatment at the hands of Western militaries whatsoever.

The claim that terrorism can be explained by relative deprivation theory is closer to the mark but also fails. This theory holds that poverty gives rise to frustration which causes impoverished to violently lash out at the whomever they blame for their condition. This might be true in some cases, but fails to explain why comparatively wealthy people with every advantage in life still decide to become terrorists.

As far as I can figure out, the only thing all terrorists have in common is that they are unhappy about something and think acts of mass violence will make them feel better. Also, they all deserve to be shot in the face. :smiley:

My last point on the subject is that some people (such as Robert Kaplan) believe that there is a deterministic role in geography itself. That is to say: Areas that are sheltered by clear and defensible natural boundaries (much of Europe and the US, Japan, etc) have a decided advantage in producing comparatively stable and homogeneous states. Border regions that lack definitive geographic boundaries (the Balkans, the US-Mexico border, the FATAH, the entire Levant) will always be chaotic and will never form stable and defensible states. People who try to control it end up imposing draconian measures (such as claiming to build a giant wall… essentially, claiming they can create a boundary where none exists) or they react with an excess of brutality (the same way Saddam had to resort to brutality to impose control over Iraq). If this theory is true, then there are certain regions that will always be in chaos no matter what, and we might as well get used to it.

Since there isn’t a simple factual answer to this, let’s move it to Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

We could make our Western Governments behave in a manner that doesn’t get peoples so angry to want to kill us … Saddam Hussein was our best friend during the Cold War especially during the Iraq/Iran War, we have the receipts from when he purchased WMD from the United States. Saddam used them on his own peoples so we should expect these peoples to want us dead.

SH was never our “best friend”, and he used chemical weapons against the Kurds. We’re not being targeted by Kurds. They are arguably the best allies we have in that region right now.

Groups like ISIS can be prevented by the existence of strong, popular governments. ISIS could only exist in the power vacuum caused by the Syrian Civil War and the Iraq War.

Lone-wolf terrorists, on the other hand, are just a fact of life. They’ve existed in, if not every country, pretty darned close to it.

I rarely say “cite,” but…cite, please.

Obviously there’s no literal receipt. But there’s the Riegle Report, which states in part:

Well, since ‘terrorism’ gets redefined all the time to match whomever we want to feel good about killing this week, I don’t think it’s solvable.

Journalist Tomas Friedman of the New York Times once made an interesting observation:
The vast majority of the terrorists are men who by the age of twenty or 25 “have never held a job or a girl’s hand”.

As long as Islamic countries remain backwards in those two areas (decent jobs and-more importantly–decent attitudes to women), terrorism will continue to grow.

Getting rid of terrorism is like getting rid of murder or larceny - you can’t fully eliminate it; only reduce it.
Also - some people have goals that simply can’t be achieved by peaceful means. Let’s say ISIS wants to rule the world. It’ll never get Western democracies to acquiesce to this; when is the USA ever going to vote to become part of the caliphate? Never. So… From ISIS’ perspective, its only option is violence. It has a goal that is impossible to achieve peacefully.

Don’t invade their countries and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.

See chihuahua’s comment in post #7:
“The claim that terrorism is a reaction to US aggression and bombing is straight-up nonsense. If terrorists wanted revenge on America, they would attack America. Instead, they attack other Muslims.”

Of course, I picked this up from the Wikipedia article:

“Iraq got seeds for bioweapons from U.S.”, Baltimore Sun

I’m not saying this is the all of the matter, but the United States is a part of the problem and I for one would like to see that stop.

Sorry, but I have no interest after the word “terrorism”. Good luck with that.