Before I begin, please know that I'm a naive idealist. One more thing. I employ a logical fallacy by engaging in ad hominem (name-calling) argument. I admit all this freely. Enough preface.
Back in 2014, the conservative media were beside themselves when President Obama compared Da'esh to a junior varsity (JV) sports team. Was that a glib remark on his part? Sure. Should he have never said it? Probably not, because that sort of blithe statement always seems to come back to bite. But regardless of the spun/counterspun defense by supporters, or of the hateful invective of detractors, his was a fair comparison between real teams versus faux teams; however, his analogy was unfair to JV teams everywhere, because when a JV team does compete, it has the self respect and good grace to do so against other JV teams, head to head, team to team, evenly matched. What Da'esh has been doing, conversely, is surprise-attacking target-rich, non-militarized environments, such as civilian aircraft, magazine offices, small Iraqi and Syrian towns, and French shopping malls, theaters, and restaurants.
This is akin to a fully suited-up football team scrimmaging with children from a daycare center and then bragging about a victory that was never a contest and not anything even remotely close to a fair fight.
Oh, bravo and well done you.
Clearly, I'm facetiously straining this army-as-competing-sports-team analogy, but it does accurately describe things: Da'esh has yet to go head to head with a real army, with a real fighting force, with another evenly matched group on an even playing field. The Iraqi army is a living oxymoron, unworthy to be used as a comparable entity. It truly is the "daycare kids' team." A possible exception? the Kurdish Peshmerga, with whom Da'esh has had its hands full; if the Peshmerga could get the weapons they need to be on an equal footing, Da'esh would be in big, big trouble. Da'esh seems to realize this, too, because what they've done in response to it is lash out at the defenseless and unarmed and claim, in so doing, to be heroes for their cause.
Look, it must be absurdly and understandably frustrating (as admittedly understated as this word might seem) for anyone to have had to live under the results and effects of the poor decisions made by Britain and France when the ridiculously arbitrary and unfair Sikes-Picot Agreement was struck back in 1916. Yes. Agreed. No argument from me. These two countries were nothing but invaders and colonialists, and it is inarguably and always wrong for any outsiders to lay claim to any land that isn't theirs and to dictate policies to that land's sovereign people. The Brits tried it with us and look where it got them. The French tried it in Indochina, which we 60-somethings know as Viet Nam. Some might argue that the Israelis have been doing something similar since the late 40s with disastrous effects. The USA pulled similarly heinous stuff with the North-American Indians in the 18th and 19th centuries. And it was equally unfair and unwise of the USA to invade Iraq in 2003 under the false flags of a connection with the 911 attackers and the presence of non-existent WMDs.
But before you get your gung-ho hackles up, be completely honest: how would you feel as an American if some other country came into the USA and set up an unjustified, uninvited presence in, say, Arizona or Montana or Oklahoma, simply because that invading country claimed that doing so was necessary for A) its national interests and B) your country's own good? Precisely. You'd be pissed. Allow me to further suggest that even the most vitriolic Obama-haters would probably go out of their minds if a foreign entity attempted to come into the USA and depose him by force, but this wanders from the point.
The point is, we are not even close to blameless in this regard, and no matter the actors, them or us, all such examples have largely been a function of making huge mistakes, resulting in bad decisions, yielding terrible outcomes. We aren't doing ourselves any favors when we continue to prop up (or depose) dictators who mistreat their own people and who will inevitably be replaced by, you guessed it, more dictators. The other side-effect of laying down with dogs is waking up with insurgencies; some have suggested that Da'esh is just one such insurgent result of our incursion into Iraq. Does anyone doubt that a home-grown insurgency would rise up here if another country invaded the USA?
Yet even as bad as these historically and objectively terrible decisions were, and they were all really terrible decisions, none of them is an excuse for throwing grenades at unarmed people at a rock concert or murdering unarmed diners in a restaurant or slaughtering unarmed children in their schools or selling women and children into slavery or beheading dutiful journalists or burning innocent people in cages. You want a real fight? You want to show how tough you are? Then man the fuck up and fight with real combatants who are just as well armed as you are, and stop killing innocent people who are blameless, unarmed noncombatants. Seriously. If someone slaps you, only an asshole kicks the cat in response.
Barrack Obama's critics were correct: Da'esh is definitely not a JV team. Nope. What it is, though, is a psychotically delusional death-cult of pathological pricks who think it's heroic and noble to slaughter innocent, unarmed men, women, and children. The day will come that Da'esh gets the fair fight it so richly deserves, and when it does, it will have its collective ass handed to it.
For reasonable, sensible, fair-minded (and naively idealistic) people everywhere, that day can't come soon enough.