In an October 15, 2014 article by Greg Zoroya featured in USA Today, which cites an NPR story from the same day, the author points out that a small number of Westerners – in this case, Dutch bikers – are heading over to Iraqi Kurdistan to fight the Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, or ISIL). This would seem to fit with a long, if not always glorious, tradition of men following the sound of the guns to fight in foreign wars.

When one pictures roguish expatriate freedom fighters engaged in combat in faraway lands, one thinks of the French Foreign Legion, Americans in the Spanish Civil War, or Americans who fought in the Boer Wars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, in the case of American-citizen foreign fighters, sometimes U.S. persons side with a cause embraced by their own country (like those Americans who fight alongside the Israeli Defense Forces, broadly speaking), and sometimes they side with America’s enemies, such as those fighting alongside al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State.

According to Zoroya’s article, the Dutch bikers going over to fight ISIS are lining up with the Kurds in northern Iraq. This seems a wise move, if they were looking for a solid and reliable fighting force with which to join the fray. It seems your most realistic options are: join the Iraqi Army as a volunteer; join up with a Shia militia that might be battling ISIS; sign up with the Syria-based Kurdish fighters; or volunteer with the northern-Iraq based Kurds—the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) or the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

If you are an American and you have a taste for some fighting, you feel like the Islamic State is the scourge of the Earth and needs eradication, and you find yourself considering joining the fight, then let me offer you some advice. Firstly, neither I nor this website is recommending you go over and fight (I can smell a lawsuit now…), but if you do go, I recommend you join either the KDP or PUK. Simply put, the Kurds in northern Iraq genuinely like the United States and Americans, and they appreciate what we have done for them over the last roughly two decades. You are likely to find a welcoming army in Kurdish northern Iraq, in the Peshmerga, and one that will appreciate your desire to fight alongside their warriors.