Where we stand

Published as letter to the Globe and Mail, November 17, 2015

There may be little that can be said with certainty about the Islamic State phenomenon, but one thing is remarkably clear – the war on terror isn’t reducing, and certainly isn’t defeating, terrorism. Yet, we’re advised we have no option but to intensify that failed war (IS Is Waging A Two-Front War – So Must We; Nov. 16).

The Pentagon claims U.S.-led bombing has killed some 20,000 IS fighters, yet U.S. intelligence sources report a surge in recruits, currently some 30,000 fighters from 100 countries. This highly successful IS recruitment is in fact aided by a bombing campaign that is now carried out mainly by Western states, feeding the IS narrative of a crusade against Islam.

As U.K. analyst Paul Rogers puts it, “In blunt terms, [IS] is actually being strengthened by the air war, and it can be assumed it wants more.” In the wake of Paris, the world seems set to oblige.

If we don’t know the solution to the IS menace, and we manifestly don’t, we should at least stop fuelling it. Accepting refugees is the right thing to do; dramatically increasing humanitarian support in the region is critically important, both to support the victims and to dampen IS recruitment.

Bolstering Syrian peace talks and pursuing more inclusive governance in Iraq gets closer to addressing the roots of these multiple crises and thus would be worthy added national objectives.

Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.

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