Turn up heat on ISIS, but it's not time for massive on-ground force

Even amid the din of screams to do so, heightened by the tragedy in Paris Friday, President Obama does not plan to commit a massive American military force into ISIS-controlled lands.

While the president's relatively laid-back approach to the Isamic State could use, at minimum, an energy drink, his resistance to put massive American forces on the ground — at this point anyway — is the correct move.

The hardest part about the recoil from the terroristic event is resisting the urge to overreact. Drawing an American-led, boots-on-the-ground effort is just what the Islamic State wants (or thinks it wants) to help inspire other West-hating/fearing young people to join its cause, to better legitimize their hazy goals of establishing a stone-age Islamic nation.

But Friday's action in Paris shouldn't go without response. It is time to ratchet up the heat on ISIS. We should heighten our counter-intelligence; increase our special forces and expert numbers and activity in the area; increase the intensity of our air assaults; and continue the surgical elimination of key ISIS leaders.

Most importantly, we must enhance our cooperation with regional military groups and nations that want ISIS gone even more than the West does. We need to better fortitify and assist Iraqi and Turkish fighters who are willing to take on the hand-to-hand combat roles.

What could best speed the demise of ISIS, though, is pressure from the nonradicalized masses from within the Middle East religious world. We've all seen Muslim and Islam spokespeople touting how theirs is a religion of peace. Their leaders need to do more to prove that, to help its masses embrace as folly hate and murder.

Meanwhile, the destruction of ISIS is about the only global military objective that the U.S., Russia, China and Iran can all agree upon (though the level of concern varies among them, of course). Maybe that will be the final, eventual, ironic achievement of ISIS: helping to create a better world, a world more unified against movements existing only to hate and destroy.

Yes, we must enhance our focus and vigilance against ISIS, and Friday's events both mandate and guarantee we will. Indeed, the heat has already been turned up — French jets made that evident Saturday. Many more ISIS fighters will die in the coming days, weeks and months than would have had the terrorism not taken place.

ISIS will eventually be defeated by diligent, intelligent action — a now more urgent and focused action — but not by overreaction.


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