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The Millennial Guide To Defeating ISIS

‘Defeat’ is a harsh way to put it.


The Iraq War ended four years ago, but we’ve kept some boots on the ground for good measure. Things like that happen when we trust Baby Boomers and other old people to devise and execute strategies. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather, there’s a better generation with which we can entrust with the task of defeating ISIS: the millennials.

That’s right. Millennials, as Baby Boomers in HR and marketing love to remind us, are the future. They also have all the solutions to any situation they might face, including taking out terror cells. We could send them over to fight ISIS directly, but technology means they can actually do the job remotely. As Thomas Friendman, who has a fortune teller’s ability to keep clever and vague statements tucked into his mustache until he finds use for them, once explained, the world is flat.

Given that, we rounded up some Millennials, gave them Kombucha tea and kale chips, and let them devise a plan for defeating ISIS. It may be a rousing success or it may not work at all, so, for the time being, we’re holding off on engraving the trophies they demanded for their work.

Flatten, Don’t Fatten, the Department of Defense

As violence and terrorist attacks are increasing, it’s tempting to think we should beef up the Department of Defense and make it even more Byzantine. That’s the wrong solution. Instead, we need to again remember our Friedman and make the whole thing flatter. Not only will that increase collaboration, it could also increase participation rates.

In other words, it’s time to do away with ranks and uniforms. While eliminating ranks and uniforms will make it harder to discern who is in charge and who the “enemy” is, that may prove to be a feature. Less hierarchy, more team spirit, and perhaps the opportunity for open dialogue between the warring factions.

If you don’t know who you’re supposed to be shooting at, this forces you to take a time out and discuss the situation. By fostering open dialogue, we can put an end to the violence once and for all.

Trust the Wisdom of Crowds

It’s time to stop letting supposed experts and leaders attempt to solve this mess; they’re the ones who got us into it in the first place. They’ve also proven themselves horribly inept at targeting the actual bad guys. That’s why we need to start crowdsourcing our strategies, including our targets. By making the strategy- and target-choosing process inclusive, we’ll increase civic participation and diversify our bombings. Obviously, this will increase our strength relative to ISIS, as they are a homogenous group and diversity is strength.

Use Responsible Bombs

We’re all familiar with Tom, the one who gives away a pair of espadrilles for every pair he sells and not the one who sells toothpaste (though he’s cool, too). Shoe Tom’s social entrepreneurship can be applied to more than just selling and giving away those espadrilles. It can also be applied to military equipment.

This will decrease inequality of destructive capability and, much like crowdsourcing, foster team spirit.

We have a coalition of the willing. We have a history of giving stuff away, though sometimes we give it to everybody and the results are tragic, but we have good intentions, so we should continue apace. In that spirit, for every bomb and drone strike, we’ll give a bomb or drone to our poorer allies. This will decrease inequality of destructive capability and, much like crowdsourcing, foster team spirit.

This is a short-term solution, however. Long-term, we need to come together, right now, and imagine there’s no possessions, no need for greed or hunger, just a brother- and sisterhood of humans.

Create a Culture of Purpose

While free bombs are nice, they are also merely things—things used for destruction. They are collateral, not culture.

Jihadists have culture. They are on fire for what they do, sometimes literally. It’s time for us to be similarly on fire for defeating ISIS, although defeat isn’t exactly the right word. We have to find a similar passion in ourselves, to know that our actions are impactful, world-changing. As Woodrow Wilson said, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Preach on, Woodrow. To make the world a better place, we have to embrace Wilson and find ways to enrich ISIS, allow them to live more amply and with greater vision. We have to help lift them up so they have a spirit of hope and achievement. To do so is to enrich the world, and ourselves.

It won’t be easy, but if we work hard, we can make a difference. We can make a world in which we live as one. Namaste.