Fighting ISIS

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin & Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

President Barack Obama has to make a decision on whether to use Iran to fight ISIS. Some commentators have expressed that the U.S. military should not do this, arguing that Iran’s leader is a stately version of Osama Bin Laden. What should Obama do?

When a nation engages in a war, it should use other nations (if it can) to win the war, even if that ally is a “lesser enemy” to destroy a “greater enemy.” However, there is another principle involved: when both decisions are equally bad, there is no moral obligation to take affirmative action one way or the other. Additionally, when one cannot determine the probable consequences that would result from taking affirmative action in favor of one evil over another, prudence dictates that one not choose the unknown evil but contain the known evil.

Our Constitution requires Congress to declare war so we can properly apply the principles of war: identify the enemy, quantify and qualify our interests, and whether to finance the war and for how long. We cannot aim first and shoot later. As it relates to the Middle East, the decisions are complex, complicated and messy.

Looking at how conditions have worsened for decades there, it is no wonder why Americans are getting sick of it. We should be very cautious about worsening conditions there and our reputation in the world.


By Joe Carbonari

Consider it like gun control. Only a few nuclear “guns” should be allowed. If a nuclear “gun” is triggered in anger, or “righteousness,” lives will be lost and the world altered. Iranian leadership, religiously based, has called for the extermination of the state of Israel. Iranian leadership should not have a nuclear gun.

Its decision-making process, guided by its interpretation of Islam, does not well serve. It is too, autocratic, too harsh, and too intolerant. It is inherently unstable. It will change.

That change may well be chaotic. Not a place for a nuclear “gun.”

Today, strong Iranian influence extends around the Persian Gulf from Pakistan on the southeast to Yemen on the southwest. Iranian influence reaches to the Mediterranean, including both Syria and Lebanon. Iran is said to have 20,000-30,000 “boots” on the ground in Iraq alone, including on several occasions, those of their very best. They are ascendant in their region, they are spreading violence, and they do it in the name of “god.”

We can’t bomb them permanently out of the nuclear weapons business. We can just slow them down. Buy a yea … at risk of war. Stronger economic sanctions? You bet – if enough of the world will cooperate?

In the end, our hope is regime change, a change in basic thinking by the powers that be. Let’s buy time.

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