O Lord our God arise, Scatter her enemies, And make them fall:
Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix: God save us all.
-Excerpt of God Save the Queen
While war is a terrible thing for the innocent, there are degrees of innocence and degrees of concern. My first concern is for my family and my countrymen. Is it not to the advantage of the Western Christian world that the crazies of Shia and Sunni Islam, each with equally crazy fanatic branches of a mostly violent tree, fight one another, destroy their monuments, and turn their attention away from Europe and us, the “Great Satan?” This was indeed the situation from 1980-1988 during the Iran-Iraq War, where terrorist incidents continued, but none on the scale of 9/11 and with most jihadi tourism focused on the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
In other words, why do we think we’re smart enough or that it’s even in our interest to end the Sunni-Shia fighting in Syria or the fighting of Sunni-Shia fighting in Iraq. Indeed, even if the Sunnis of ISIS win, would they not be more deterrable, more easily managed, and more easily hurt when they purport to run a nation state than if they are an amorphous, stateless entity like al Qaeda. After all, governments can make mistakes and become unpopular, and being unable to keep the lights on because of US retaliatory bombing matters more for a government than a mere gang.
America does not need to pick sides between Shia and Sunni extremists in the Middle East. It is in an inherently thorny and complicated problem with no obvious right and wrong side. Instead, as with so many other foreign policy issues, strategic disengagement and repairing our own financial house and improving our military readiness at home is more directly in our interests and more easily achieved than solving this three dimensional chess game that is Middle Eastern sectarian fighting.