By Natasha Hall
In last week’s Republican presidential debate, we heard all about saturation bombing and destroying the Islamic State group. Republican contender Sen. Ted Cruz recently proffered his opinion that we should “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion.” In the past two weeks, a 34-nation Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism was announced, President Barack Obama told Islamic State group leaders that they “are next,” and, in a phone call earlier this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to work together in the fight.
This rhetoric is tough, but is it smart? A sole focus on the Islamic State group shows that the international community is drifting further from the facts on the ground, which implicate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his allies as the main perpetrators of civilian death and injury in Syria. Where does all of this leave Syrian civilians?
Some estimates show that for every civilian killed by the Islamic State group, seven to 10 have been killed by the Syrian regime and its supporters. Unless the anti-Islamic State group coalition prioritizes protecting civilians from their own operations, the Islamic State and the Syrian regime, the idea of fulfilling a moral duty will ring hollow for Syrian civilians.