Two American journalists have now been beheaded by the Islamic State–James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Vice President Joe Biden has already declared that he wants to follow ISIS to “the gates of hell.” But why is ISIS doing this, and what should the United States do about it?
Those arguing for US military action in Iraq to stop the advance of ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/Iraq and the Levant) frequently claim that if the United States does not take action and ISIS prevails, Iraq will become a launching pad for terrorist attacks against the United States. This argument frequently gets run whenever anyone wants to intervene in a Middle Eastern country, but does it really stand up? Let’s investigate.