Symptom

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Bacevich states that the call for a “comprehensive strategy” concerning what to do in Iraq has been gaining support in the U.S. However, the plan involving air strikes and surrogates on the ground is nothing more than a “whack-a-mole” to Bacevich. He states that the main problem in the Middle East is not ISIS, but the social, political, and economic problems plaguing the region. The problems remain without ISIS, and will more than likely reoccur with another group. He says that even if we succeeded in destroying ISIS, “we’ll find ourselves right back where we are today” (Bacevich). He says most Americans support a military option because they don’t know of another option. Bacevich believes true policy should be adopted to solve the real issues in the Middle East. He believes the policy should be “lowering the U.S. military profile, erecting effective defenses, living up to our professed ideals, and helping the peoples of the Islamic world to reconcile modernity with tradition” (Bacevich). Bacevich closes by arguing that while this policy may take time, it is better than accepting “permanent war.”

Bacevich is arguing that while military strikes may solve the ISIS problem, they do not solve the Middle East’s deep-rooted issues. The continued military action only creates a continuous cycle of war. He uses metaphor, parallelism, and diction to prove his argument. He compares military involvement in the Middle East to “whack-a-mole”. Whack- a- mole is a game in which one attempts to hit each mole that pops out of the holes. The moles continuously pop up. Therefore, the comparison shows that military intervention in the Middle East will continue to be a never-ending cycle. When we solve one issue, another one will pop up. Bacevich also states that the U.S. is the “physician unable to distinguish between symptom and disease.” In this case, ISIS is the symptom while the disease is the underlying problems of the Middle East. Curing one symptom does not cure the entire...
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