President Obama certainly failed to make last week’s press conference in Turkey a leadership moment, so critics quickly jumped in with some tough talk. Listening to them made me think of a few questions:
“Defeating ISIS” would certainly strengthen the hand of Syrian President Assad and his Russian and Iranian sponsors. You OK with that?
“Boots on the ground” would result in more American casualties and the real prospect of a captured American brutally executed with video documentation. You OK with that?
One of ISIS’ hoped-for effects of the Paris murders is a backlash against Muslims, making it easier for ISIS to recruit those who feel disenfranchised. The rush to ban Syrian refugees feeds that backlash. You OK with that?
The governors of many U.S. states have indicated they do not want Syrian refugees. Maybe they are concerned about mass murders in schools, colleges, churches, public buildings, shopping centers, or the movies — all of which have been committed by Americans. You OK with that?
The Kurds have been the most effective fighters against ISIS, but Turkey regards them as more of a threat than ISIS. In fact Turkey is bombing the Kurds. You OK with that?
The Shiites in Iraq are in no way anxious to bring the Sunnis into an inclusive government, and the Sunnis prefer ISIS to the Shiites. You OK with that?
I don’t know the answers. Neither do the big talkers; but as long as they talk as though they do, they are inflaming an unhelpful and simplistic hysteria regarding some serious, complicated issues.