A coalition of liberal Protestants and Catholics have called for meeting the ISIS threat with old-style peacenikkery. I especially like this suggestion:
- Support community-based nonviolent resistance strategies to transform the conflict and meet the deeper need and grievances of all parties. For example, experts have suggested strategies such as parallel institutions, dispersed disruptions, and economic non-cooperation.
Suppose you were a Christian living in an Iraqi village about to be conquered by ISIS, and you’ve already heard about your co-religionists murdered at the conquered village up the road. You have the choice between fleeing to a just arrived team of U.S. church pacifists trained in “interpersonal conflict transformation.” Or you could accept the protection of U.S. armed Kurdish or Iraqi armed forces, supported by U.S. air power. Which would you choose?
They also call for an arms embargo to all parties in the region, including the Kurds, whose land came close to being invaded by ISIS until the US began bombing ISIS from the air. Plus, economic sanctions against ISIS. You read that right: they expect economic sanctions to stop religious fanatics who behead children and crucify people for the greater glory of Allah.
The liberal Christian program is not all bad. Establishing a long-term peace really does require doing some of the things they recommend. However, it’s simply nuts to think that monsters like ISIS can be stopped with anything but bullets. These are religious fanatics who rape, pillage, and behead. The photo above is of ISIS fighters. What I’ve cropped out is the three heads they have impaled on the fence above them. This is what we’re dealing with.
To be clear, there are plausible prudential arguments against the United States involving itself directly in a military capacity against ISIS. But the idea that pacifist strategies are sufficient to stop berserkers like ISIS strikes me as crackpot. I can only imagine how this sort of thing sounds to refugee Christians in the region.
Sometimes, war is the answer. It may not be the answer for the United States in this particular situation — I am not convinced that it is; Pat Buchanan has some wise words about US policy on this matter — but there will be no stopping ISIS without somebody taking up arms and shooting them all. War is the answer when all other possible answers have been tried and failed, but there really is such a thing as just war. If war against ISIS is not a just war by Christian standards, then what on earth is?
[H/T: Ryan Booth]