Brooks: Policy on ISIS Shouldn't Be Based 'on What Should Have Been Done in 2003'

Brooks: Policy on ISIS Shouldn't Be Based 'on What Should Have Been Done in 2003'

In his regular appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday, New York Times columnist David Brooks weighed in on how the United States should handle the spread of ISIS in northern Iraq, particularly regarding the humanitarian crisis.

Brooks argued against the Obama administration basing foreign policy on polling data because Americans are insulated from what’s going on around the world.

“That’s why you can never run a foreign policy on the polls,” Brooks said. “The polls would have been against Hitler in 1933. That was clearly the wrong thing to do against doing anything against Hitler in the 1930s. The American people are not — that’s not their daily life, what is going on around the world. That’s why you need foreign policy leaders who will get out in front, look abroad.

Brooks went on to argue that these decisions shouldn’t be based on the missteps of last decade’s invasion of Iraq.

“I would say two things,’ he continued. “First, you know, I agree with you about Iraq now. But we can’t have all our decisions today be based on what should have been done in 2003. And we do actually have this completely monstrous organization, which is going from strength to strength to strength.”

“It seems to me it’s simply not an option to let them continue,” Brooks added. “So we have to somehow absorb the lessons of 2003 and 2006 and the Iraq war and still somehow have an effective presence to prevent this sort of barbarism. And so accepting the case you make against the Iraq war to me doesn’t foreclose doing anything about ISIS, and learning and then moving on seems to me what we have to learn to do now.”

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