Peacekeepers or resource raiders: The ISIS dilemma

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In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, smoke rises after a shell lands in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. After two months, the U.S.-led aerial campaign in Iraq has so far hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group’s territory. The extremists’ grip on major cities across Iraq and neighboring Syria remains unquestioned. The campaign has brought some gains, with Kurdish fighters taking back towns on the fringes of the Islamic State group’s territory. But those successes only underline a major weakness: Besides the Iraqi Kurds, there are no forces on the ground ready to capitalize on the airstrikes. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, smoke rises after a shell lands in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. After two months, the U.S.-led aerial campaign in Iraq has so far hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group’s territory. The extremists’ grip on major cities across Iraq and neighboring Syria remains unquestioned. The campaign has brought some gains, with Kurdish fighters taking back towns on the fringes of the Islamic State group’s territory. But those successes only underline a major weakness: Besides the Iraqi Kurds, there are no forces on the ground ready to capitalize on the airstrikes. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

If you have been following the news in the slightest, you’ve probably heard a lot about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There have been countless articles that have made a spectacle of the imminent threat that this group poses to Western countries, such as a recent article from The National Interest that described it as “a clear and present threat to the U.S. homeland.” Despite all of the hype, however, there are people who disagree with the idea that ISIS poses a relevant threat.

An article from The Daily Beast described the national focus on ISIS as “threat inflation” and any potential military action taken against ISIS as a step towards “our next dumb war.”  The contradictory threat inflation and the supposed insignificance of ISIS pose a poignant question: Why have we as a country been so intent on labeling ISIS as a threat? What is the advantage of creating a false threat and inevitably engaging it in military action?

The March 19th Anti-War Coalition seems to have the answer to these questions. Members of this organization have been handing out informational leaflets on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus throughout September. The leaflets delve into the many foreign (and military) affairs that the U.S. has been and is currently engaged in. The group’s message can be summed up by a few statements from their most recent leaflet: “The U.S. has “have gun, will travel” policies under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’ or ‘promotion of democracy.’ In reality, the aim is to pursue positions of power and natural resources in the world for U.S. corporations at the expense of competitions, and financial and military corporate profits.” The Middle East is a rich source for oil and freshwater. The U.S. has been involved in the Middle East for decades for reasons that differ depending on perspective.

As American involvement in the Middle East has begun to wind down towards the end of the Obama administration, it is entirely possible that the U.S. is using ISIS as a means to extend its involvement in the area. A war with ISIS would provide the U.S. with an excuse to remain in Iraq and Syria and maintain whatever political and economic footholds they have established over the better part of century.

Cynics and patriots may be quick to dismiss these ideas and perhaps even mark them as anti-American, however, it is important for American citizens to remain critical and outspoken. If we as the American people wish to have some sort of say regarding the foreign policies that the government administers, we need to stop believing all of the propaganda that we are force fed by the media. It is not unpatriotic to be a critical citizen, but rather a homage to the very principles that this country was founded upon.

Until there is concrete evidence discovered that ISIS poses a serious threat to U.S., the American population needs to be outspoken in its disapproval of any military action taken against ISIS. The United States does not need another senseless war.