With ISIS claiming a slew of recent attacks around the world, senior fellow of the conservative-leaning National Review David French visited the University of Wisconsin to discuss some of the facts and fiction when it comes to fighting the organization.
Opening up with a brief background on how ISIS was initially formed, French debunked some of the myths surrounding former-President George W. Bush’s role in their rise.
There is both fact and fiction in the idea of Bush leading the creation of ISIS, French said. Both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dismantled the structure of the Middle East, which enabled ISIS to form more easily, he said.
But French also claimed the formation of ISIS was somewhat inevitable in the first place.
“An impulse toward Jihad is within the founding DNA of the Islamic religion,” French said.
As a Presbyterian, French said he can not completely and holistically define Islam. He said he does, however, have the ability to define historical patterns in Jihad and how it can lead to problems such as the rise of ISIS.
But there is no permanent solution to the problem of ISIS, French said. Picking the right person who has the right strategy to defeat ISIS is not a realistic way to solve the problem like many Americans think, he added.
“If we just picked the right person with the right strategy, we could take care of this and be done with it,” French said. “It might be the case that you can take care of ISIS as ISIS, but ISIS is just one head of a hydra.”
Extremists are not only upset with former and current presidents, French said. They are also upset with the fact the world is not entirely Muslim.
Overall, French made it clear idealism was not, and still is not, the right course of action when dealing with ISIS.
“You have to never forget that your goal is not remaking a nation, remaking the Middle East, transforming a region, stamping out this or that belief system, it is just self-defense,” French said.