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11 September 2014


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Glad this was reposted. It seemed like a reasonable, achievable goal with good tactics for achieving it.

Babak Makkinejad


I have come to the conclusion that US strategy is still one of pursuing of containment of Iran.

To that aim every thing else is subordinated; it seems to me.

The only viable strategy for the United States is to get to strategic agreement with Iran as soon as possible.

That will get the attention of all those Sunni States, Turkic as well as Arab - like the proverbial death sentence and revolutionize US's position in the Middle East.

All of this, however, reminds me of the Imperial General Staff war plans that called for war with USSR late into 1939.


Here's a question:
Would it be OK to use WMD on ISIS?

different clue


Not to me, it wouldn't. Using WMDs on anyone okays their use by everyone on everyone else. Let ISIS or Hezbollah or somebody be the first to set that precedent, if it is going to be set.


It is very odd the USA will want to achieve something but will not risk its soldiers. How can any reasonable ally trust such policy? It is as if some doctor prescribed a medication but declared openly that he would not take it.
When Princes rely on mercenaries they rely on something very fickle. The mercenaries will gladly be paid well during peace time and rapidly disappear in time of war.
Very very odd.

Duncan Kinder

One of the foremost threats posed by ISIS is that it will inspire clones in Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

I do not see how this plan can negate this threat.

I am unhappy, very unhappy, about putting American boots on the ground - but what other way exists to smash it promptly as must be done? I am sorry about the political costs and am well aware that many problems would persist after such smashing.


Obviously the best thing to do right now is to stir up the mud about official Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks:


(Notice the cameo by Prince Bandar as the Offended Virgin)



Does the US have the will to follow your advice for a clean break with past and current policy, which would clearly be opposed by Israel? Certainly, recent US diplomacy during Israeli mowing the Gaza lawn suggests not.

BTH: Kurdish independence IMO ensures Turkey's non-participation and Saudi/Jordan/Lebanon have no offensive capability. This leaves your alliance of convenience with Iran, see above, for which Congressional support is hard to envision. So my question, can your plan work if Turkey continues to provide strategic depth to IS?


Viable, indeed. Sadly, the US is in the process of pissing off exactly the parties with whom it needs to work: both Iran and Syria are public and loud with disapproval of mooted US plans.


Talk about too many "moving parts". Position the Kurds for independence? Might the Turks, for all their commercial interactions with Kurdistan, go for that? The Iranians? Syria? (to the extent that entity exists anymore). Kurdish independence is like a see saw. Lift it up...and Iraq goes down. Granted...it might be down already. For the count. But do you expect them to go along with their own collapse? Begrudgingly, they might except it. True..but.

At this point it will be highly difficult, to say the least, to form anything with the remnants of the Syrian govt or Iran. Thank you very much for putting us in that box American politicians and, an MSM. Turning around the American people in that direction--with elections coming up, as they are ALWAYS coming up is tricky. At best.

One issue I would not worry about...if Congress has the will to fund the war. They certainly have the will to run complicated schemes to make some one else, the next generation, pay for the war.

You want to fight these guys? American boots on the ground. That's the only way right now.


Duncan Kinder,

I think the problem with "smashing" is the objective has to be more than that or you've got another smashing to do a few years down the line. If we can't define how things would look postwar and what a stable outcome would be, we'd probably just end up with a further mess.

I haven't seen anyone suggest a complete, defined, and most importantly achievable goal that is better than what Bth suggests. That probably sounds pessimistic, but I'm all ears for another plan.



None of the alternatives are good:

Nuclear weapons fallout will kill millions, may cause a nuclear winter, and guarantees a quid pro quo blowback. These movies are worth watching if you didn’t grow up during the First Cold War:

Destroy the Islamic State like the USA destroyed the Third Reich and Greater Japanese Empire. This will take the Draft, taxing the rich, and likely will escalate into an End of Days Holy War.

The Obama Plan is a never ending war in the Levant without victory that peters out in the next generation when the USA finally goes belly up broke.

Containment of the Islamic State is possible and won’t break the bank.

On the other hand, as neoliberal chaos and climate change engulfs the world, the rich get richer and nation states disintegrate; evangelical religions will be the last refuge of the poor and the only thing that gives hope to mankind’s survivors. All the will be left of the world’s wealth will be in tiny city states with mercenaries guarding the few thousand surviving Oligarch Families.


It also seems like it might be a good idea to somehow strike Raqqa, IS's capitol. Why are their lights still on??? If they are administering thieir territory, striking at their ability to do that in a way that is satifactory to the constituency seems a logical way to degrade their support amongst the locals.

...I may have missed my calling...


If you mean Arab countries (kleptocracies) as "reasonable allies", when have they done any more beyond offering to hold our coat?
It's easy to react to ISIS and get angry.
But, what threat do they really pose?
One of the reasons used, extensively, for invading Iraq was "kill them there before they get here."
How'd that work out?
And 4,000 US dead after 5 years.

Ishmael Zechariah


Take a close look at the map and think through the logistics needed for the operation you envision.

Ishmael Zechariah



There were no Islamic terrorists in Iraq before we invaded the place. Oh. Sorry. There were some. They were in prison. The jihadis all showed up after we occupied the country. They came in to take advantage of the situation and allied themselves with all the secular Baathists and former army people as well as the tribes. You remain remarkably obtuse about this after all these years. pl



Hey! Go easy on him. We do logistics and if there is to be any sizable US effort against IS a massive logistics base will have to be re-constituted. I would suggest Jordan as the focus of that system. Good airfields, a good port, good roads. pl

FB Ali


Certainly a viable and realistic plan. As you say, it may well be the most that the US can do in the circumstances.

The only problem with it that I see is that all the people fighting alongside the US will be non-Sunnis while all the people at the receiving end will be Sunnis. That is why it would make so much sense to work with Assad. His Syrian army has lots of Sunnis, and they are the only ones ready to take on the IS in the field.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,

I just wanted BTH to consider all aspects. This is not a cake-walk possible on the cheap. Jordan would fit the bill. The base would have to be massive. Jordanian Army must be on board and would be upgraded in capability. Only, the Izzies might not be too pleased.

Ishmael Zechariah

Duncan Kinder


Actually, I pretty much agree with you. The best we could hope for would be to establish a situation similar to what the French have established in Mali. ( I would say that anyone who thinks that Mali's fixed isn't paying attention. Unfortunately, nobody's paying any attention to Mali. )

But I can clue you that if we don't do something vigorous about ISIS, then Mali's going to look like northern Iraq. Instead of a den of thieves I wouldn't go near but could live with.

By smashing ISIS right now, we buy time. Time for what? Good question, and I have no great faith in either Obama/Hillary or any Republican.

But ISIS is a particularly virulent strain of this Islamist business. And this Islamist business is being spread by our Qatar and Saudi friends. Who we fund through our energy policy.

And so things shall continue til we develop a sensible energy policy or until someone takes the keys away from our car. Whichever comes first.

different clue


If it really literaly got to that point, why would the mercenaries keep guarding the few thousand surviving Oligarch Families? I mean, why wouldn't the mercenaries wonder just exactly the Oligarchs were really good for, kill them all, and become the New Oligarchs themselves?

Who would stop them? The mercenary-guarded Oligarch Families?

different clue


The reason to "kill them there before they get here" was a decietful bait-and-switch reason offered for attacking Iraq. I remember at the time the anti-attack community making what public noise they could through the media and social cone of silence. I remember the Toby Keith song "Have You Forgotten". Here are the lyrics.
Those who want to can you tube the song itself. I remember when I heard it ( over and over and over again on the radio) thinking to myself: " nice shooting . . . wrong target".

About a week before the Attack itself got underway I remember disputing this with a co-worker who basically repeated the sentiment of that song to me. I noted Iraq had zero to do with 9/11. She quoted that song at me some more.
I said " Pakistan! Saudi Arabia! There's your Axis of Evil right there!" She just looked at me.

Norbert M Salamon

FB Ali:
With respect, if Syria is in, then so will be Iran [but probably not RF, the other "friend of Syria"], and you can imagine the howling from AIPAC and the Israel firsters such as Mrs. Clinton [who is trying to buy the NY Jewish money bags for her election]

dilbert dogbert

Col. Lang
Scanned the map and it looks like IS is holding very linear strings of territory. Isn't that configuration very open to flank attacks and blockage of choke points that would cut off re-supply re-arm replenishment efforts. I don't know Jack but that is what the situation looks like to me. You have had boots on the ground and can school me on this.



"Does Obama have the support of the military and I'm not referring to the officers - but the enlisted? I don't see the trust."

That's the most important point by far. I didn't hear any call to service from the President. Apparently he's not leader enough to ask for sacrifice from anyone.

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