Reactions to the US Military Operation Against ISIS Leader

February 3, 2022
Photo: Ghaith Alsayed/AP

~ 4 minutes read

Early Thursday morning, US Special Forces carried out an operation in Syria that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

Below, we break down how different people are interpreting this event, and what values or information inform this perspective. Our goal isn’t to change your mind — it’s to show how rational people can understand this same event so differently.

NOTE: THIS ANALYSIS PRESENTS TWO OPPOSING PERSPECTIVES AS EXAMPLES FOR HOW PEOPLE MAY REACH DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE SAME TOPIC. YOUR VIEW MAY DIFFER, AND THAT’S OKAY.
What does each side see as fact?

To the left

  • The military did an outstanding job removing a known terrorist from the battlefield.

To some on the right

  • The operation resulted in the loss of innocent civilian lives and US military equipment.

 

To others on the right

  • This was a successful military operation which made the world a safer place.
The Narrative

To many on the left, the leadership of Democratic presidents has been central to weakening ISIS. This latest successful operation is a great win for Biden, the United States, and the world.

Right-wing media are trying to spin this success story into negative news.

To some on the right, this was a successful mission that eliminated a well-known terrorist, making Americans safer.


To others on the right, the success narrative from the Biden administration and leftist media overlooks major issues with the mission. It’s an attempt to distract from the disaster of Biden’s presidency at home and abroad, and people on the left are buying it. 

How could a reasonable person come to think this?

Most people on the left perceive Biden as a competent and experienced leader, capable of making correct decisions, even when they are tough. The successful operation taking out Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi proves this.

Most people on the right perceive Biden as an incompetent and weak president, incapable of leading the country. The death of multiple civilians — including women and children — and the malfunction of a military helicopter during the mission proves this.

What does each side see as fact?

To the left…

  • The military did an outstanding job removing a known terrorist from the battlefield.

To some on the right

  • The operation resulted in the loss of innocent civilian lives and US military equipment.

 

To others on the right

  • This was a successful military operation which made the world a safer place.

The Narrative

To many on the left, the leadership of Democratic presidents has been central to weakening ISIS. This latest successful operation is a great win for Biden, the United States, and the world.

Right-wing media are trying to spin this success story into negative news.

To some on the right, this was a successful mission that eliminated a well-known terrorist, making Americans safer.

To others on the right, the success narrative from the Biden administration and leftist media overlooks major issues with the mission. It’s an attempt to distract from the disaster of Biden’s presidency at home and abroad, and people on the left are buying it.

How could a reasonable person come to believe this?

Most people on the left perceive Biden as a competent and experienced leader, capable of making correct decisions, even when they are tough. The successful operation taking out Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi proves this.

Most people on the right perceive Biden as an incompetent and weak president, incapable of leading the country. The death of multiple civilians — including women and children — and the malfunction of a military helicopter during the mission proves this.

Takeaways

Deep-seated mistrust for people with whom we disagree makes it harder to recognize when our own side makes mistakes, or when our contra partisans do something good, because it is the last thing we’d expect.

It’s helpful to investigate our interpretation of new information by asking ourselves if we would feel differently about an event if it was carried out by someone from our side, compared to someone from the other side. Reconsidering the facts in this hypothetical helps us to identify and reflect on our own bias.

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing info@narrativesproject.com.


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