Military Intervention Is the Problem, Not the Solution

The Islamic State’s latest atrocities are a calculated effort to bring the war in Syria home to the countries participating in it


“Hillary Clinton declared that ISIS “must be destroyed” with “all of the tools at our disposal.” Ted Cruz called for “overwhelming air power” and condemned the Obama administration for having insufficient “tolerance for civilian casualties.” Ben Carson called for “boots on the ground,” while Donald Trump swore he’d “bomb the s – out of” ISIS-controlled oil fields and hand them over to ExxonMobil.”

What’s propped up as viable leadership is always a call to war, violence, and aggression.

Gandhi wisely reminded that the call of vengeance in the form of “an eye for an eye” would only succeed in making the world blind.

This is accurate:

“When your government answers every problem in the world with military force, war begets war. And eventually there’s nowhere left to hide from it.”

Dictionaries are alive as organic extensions of changes in language. For instance, when a new phrase becomes adopted, it will typically find itself in a modern dictionary.

I think it’s time for some new definitions.

For instance, the paradigm that holds the warrior responsible for “national security” must be revisited. What – at essence – is National Security? If it’s which nation has the biggest bombs, then clearly the definition is flawed.

Another word that needs to be reassessed is the idea of leadership. For if leaders ONLY traffic in war fervor (and fever), how could the peace that most citizens want be attained?

After 911, few to no pundits for peaceful diplomacy were given any air time. Instead, the media outlets were packed with generals…. then as now.

But those who see the world primarily through the frame of attack and response, are not equipped to envision any solutions outside of this insidious box. It is the box of HIS-tory, the sins of the FATHERS visited upon the sons as so much in the way of life is presented as battle, as the need mostly for males to prove their manhood through a show of arms.

It’s no accident that very few governing boards and bodies have more than a token woman or two, if that. And the few let in are on-board with the militarists… or else they would not be there.

Deconstructing the paradigm that Mars rules built comes from not seeing the world through simplistic bifurcated frames, or lending one’s name – and thus consent – to unending calamitous inanities like war.

Another word to revisit is Terrorist. After all, if those enacting wars of aggression are not fitted with that title, and rather it’s reserved for those who respond – on their own home turf – to brutal invasions, then how accurate can such a terminology be?

Peter Certo is the acting editor of Foreign Policy In Focus. Reprinted from Foreign Policy in Focus with permission. This commentary is a joint publication of Foreign Policy In Focus and OtherWords.