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Episode 51: Does the United States have a responsibility to act against ISIS?

September 12th, 2014

Episode 76 of 241 episodes

On this week's DecodeDC podcast, host Andrea Seabrook talks to three experts about a deceptively simple question: What responsibility does the U.S. have, if any, to respond to ISIS? Many Americans have been surprised in recent weeks by the brutal takeover of large regions of Iraq and Syria by the fundamentalist regime as it threatens men, women and children who don’t comply with its violent form of strict Sharia law with the most atrocious consequences -- massacres, beheadings and crucifixions. Earlier this week, President Barack Obama outlined his plan for military action against the group and announced the country would be working with a coalition of partners to degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIS. The experts we spoke with -- Bruce Hoffman, the director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies; Justin Logan, the head of Foreign Policy Studies at the libertarian think tank The Cato Institute; and Jim Wallis, a public theologian and activist -- disagree on what action the U.S. should take against ISIS. But they do not differ on these two facts: Americans are exhausted and war-weary. And they are desperate to return to a world where terrible threats don’t interrupt their lives with violent images. By all accounts, this brutal form of Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorists who propagate it are not fading. The question is what could -- or should -- the United States do about it.