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What If ISIS Were to Win?

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For the past few years, the American people have been exhorted by the U.S. national-security state to be obsessed with ISIS, the brutal organization that is fighting to achieve political power in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, the three countries that, not coincidentally, have been targets of regime change by the U.S. national-security state.

Today, ISIS is constantly on the minds of millions of Americans. “We have to stop ISIS!” the battlecry goes. “We have to stop them from winning.”

So, today, more than 10 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there are almost 5,000 U.S. troops back in Iraq. Their mission? To stop ISIS from winning in Iraq.

That’s what U.S bombing raids in Libya are for also —to keep ISIS from winning in that country.

And the only reason that the Obama administration is only partially engaged in a regime-change operation in Syria is its fear that ISIS could come out the winner there.

What better indictment of interventionism than the fact that interventionism gave rise to America’s new official enemy, ISIS? Just think: It there had been no regime-change operation in Iraq, there would be no ISIS for the American people to obsess about today. That’s because it was the U.S. national-security state’s invasion and occupation of Iraq that gave rise to ISIS, which includes many former members of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, the ruler who U.S. troops ousted in their regime-change operation more than ten years ago.

Notwithstanding the horrific failure and adverse consequences of interventionism, however, the attitude of the U.S. national-security state is that it’s nonetheless necessary to continue intervening in the Middle East. “We have no choice,” U.S. officials effectively say. “It’s regrettable that our intervention gave rise to ISIS but now we have to continue intervening in the Middle East to stop ISIS. If we don’t, ISIS could win and take over Iraq, Syria, and Libya.”

But no asks the critical question: What if ISIS were to win? What would happen if ISIS were to take over Iraq, Syria, and Libya?

That would certainly be bad for people in those regions. There is no doubt that they would be suffering under brutal tyranny.

But let’s face it: People live in tyranny in all parts of the world, and U.S. forces are not helping them.

Consider North Korea, which is ruled by one of the most brutal communist regimes in the world. U.S. forces aren’t invading or bombing North Korea to save them from tyranny. People in Vietnam are also suffering under communist tyranny. No (renewed) U.S. invasion there. Same with Cuba. And China. Indeed, people in Egypt are suffering under brutal military tyranny and the U.S. national-security state is actually supporting the tyranny by providing weaponry to fortify its tyrannical hold over the Egyptian people.

Indeed, during the entire Cold War, the U.S. national-security state did not invade and bomb Eastern Europe, which was under the 45-year-long control of the Soviet Union, one of the most brutal and tyrannical regimes in history.

But the real question is: Would ISIS regimes in the Middle East pose a military threat to the United States? That is, should Americans be worried about an ISIS army coming to the United States, invading the country, conquering America, and taking the reins of power in Washington, D.C.?

And the answer to that question is: There is no possibility — none — that such a scenario could happen.

Americans sometimes forget the tremendous geographic advantage they have over European and Asian countries: There are two extremely large oceans separating Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, China, and much of the rest of the world from the United States.

A military invasion of the United States would take hundreds of thousands of transport ships and planes, millions of troops, tens of thousands of tanks, and an unbelievable amount of weapons, bullets, and supplies.

No one — not China, not Russia, not ISIS, not anyone in the world — has even the remotest capability to undertake such an expedition. Don’t forget: Nazi Germany, which had one of the most powerful armies in history, was unable to even cross the English Channel, which is considerably more narrow than the Atlantic Ocean.

Even if such an invasion were being planned, it obviously could not be kept secret. Americans could be fully prepared for it with defensive fortifications, especially with some 300 million Americans pitching in. Don’t forget the general rule of thumb: An invading army needs 3 times the number of troops compared to those defending.

The national-security state’s obsession with ISIS is just the latest excuse to continue its foreign policy of interventionism in the Middle East. In fact, it’s really just the continuation of George W. Bush’s regime change interventionist operation in Iraq — a continuation designed to preserve the regime that Bush’s regime-change operation installed into power.

In the meantime, the U.S. government’s continued interventionism in the Middle East continues to destroy America, from within. Not only are the expenditures to sustain the interventionism bankrupting our country, especially with out of control debt, but also the federal government continues to destroy freedom and privacy of the American citizenry in the quest to “keep us safe” from the enemies it continues to produce with its interventionism.

Is there no way to provide help to people who might suffer under an ISIS regime? Our American ancestors developed a way to help foreigners suffering under tyranny: a policy of open immigration, a policy that said, “Our government will not come to help you with troops and bombs but if you can get out, know that there is always one place where you can come that will not forcibly return you.”

That was a sound moral and pragmatic philosophy: Don’t let the government go abroad in search of monsters to destroy but, at the same time, provide a safe haven for people suffering under such monsters. Americans would be wise to return to it before our country is destroyed from within.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.


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