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23 February 2015

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William R. Cumming

Agree with you POST!

jld

The first link erroneously duplicates the second instead of what it shows, should be
http://mashable.com/2015/02/21/isis-kurdish-fighters-cages/

turcopolier

JLD

So what? pl

jld

Sorry, I thought this was a copy/paste blunder.

Charles I

I guess this is where I pray that its nasty, brutish and short. I hope we win, I hope their Gods bless whoever is sent to fight there in our name, and I'm glad I'm old and far away.

BabelFish

When did we, as a populace, get to think war was antiseptic? I almost vomited when I heard the term 'surgical strike' for the first time. A MK 84 iron bomb is as untidy and non-discriminating a weapon as there is, short of a nuke. General Schwarzkopf's 'luckiest man in Iraq' was blown to the size of dimes, more than likely. Captured US aircrew, blue on blue events, civilians getting killed: who thinks these things won't happen? Certainly not SST committee members but the spin will come for the masses.

I am nor schooled in the military arts but it appears to me that this will be a very difficult campaign, with a 'you pick it' definition of victory.

walrus

In my darker periods, I am reminded that for centuries, the practice of war in the East called for the killing by the victors of all men and boys above a certain age and the enslavement of their women and children. This is the behaviour that ISIS has reverted to. Col. Lang is correct, the fate of any captured American servicemen will be as horrific as ISIS can devise. So let us ask what the American public reaction will be, say, to the public and prolonged execution of an American Service woman?

While a significant portion may ask why we are sending them in harms way in the first place my thought is that the Geneva Conventions and Western "Laws of War" are likely to be the next casualties. Perhaps carpet bombing ISIS territory with chemical or biological agents.

Dave Schuler

Can someone please explain to me why taking the risk of one of our soldiers or airmen being captured and burned alive in cage on video and being plunged into a much more intensive commitment of troops in the political aftermath is seen to be worth it? I don't see a realizable strategic objective but maybe I'm just being dense.

turcopolier

Dave Schuler

I was opposed to the war in Iraq and the "surge" in Afghanistan because I did not and do not think either the Iraqi government or the Taliban were a threat to the existence of the US. I have always favored pursuing Islamic terrorists by police, intelligence and SOF means but not by occupying countries. IMO IS is different. They aim to create a state and are well on the way to doing that. Also IMO their cause has a great appeal to many malcontents in the Islamic world and among the discontented everywhere. In places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt their sympathizers are a fifth column that very nearly succeeded in establishing Islamist rule in Egypt with the tacit encouragement of the boys and girls in State and the White House. So, you can make up your own mind. Is IS a possibility as rulers of what are now the countries of the ME and are you willing to accept that? pl

Dave Schuler

Thanks for responding, Pat. I opposed the war in Iraq, too.

My question was more related to the present bombing runs-only policy. I'm skeptical they will accomplish the strategic objectives. If they won't accomplish the strategic objectives, why do it?

My concern is that we can't "degrade and destroy" DAESH (the Administration's stated objectives) without a major commitment of U. S. forces followed by an open-ended occupation which I don't believe is a political possibility.

Will Reks

Sir,

Do you have any second thoughts about the Libya action or was that country doomed to begin with? There's been some news about the exploits of the Libyan general who is trying to rid the country of Islamists but that may be a long slog.

turcopolier

Dave Schuler

I think that US ground troops, staff assistance and logistical help as part of a regional force will be necessary in the end. i don't do political feasibility here. i tell people my opinion as to what should be done. pl

turcopolier

Will Reks


I have written several times here that I am disappointed in the result in Libya. I thought that because of the small population and the large number of expatriates who were well educated that stability would be achieved quickly. I was wrong. Want me to say it again? In spite of that I am happy that the madman Qathafi is gone and continue to think that the effort to rid the country of him was worth it and that the country will eventually sort itself out. pl

Dave Schuler

Fair enough. I agree with you that if we are "degrade and destroy" DAESH U. S. ground troops, staff assistance, and logistical support would be be necessary.

Tyler

Walrus,

I don't think the boys and girls in State, the WH, and the rest of the Children Crusaders care about what happens to American servicemen. The likely thinking is that being slowly tortured to death by ISIS is what they get for not being part of the Ivy League.

Bill H

I am also inclined to think that this was the eventual outcome with or without our intervention, and that NATO areial intervention merely brought it to this point faster and, probably, with somewhat less killing.

confusedponderer

I an't speak for Pat but think that he makes that assessment not out of a fondness to see US troops 'in action' but as a result of the lack of capabilities of those who oppose IS.

If they are not up to it, given the assessment that IS must be dealt with, who can do it?

Turkey does not want to do it. Iran doesn't want to become the occupying power of northern Iraq, and given that the US to an extent bought into the hysteria over 'the Shia crescend' the US don't want that either.

Saudi forces are unreliable, IS is too likeminded. The Egyptians have their hands full in Libya. The Israelis are out of the question, plus, they likly if idotically rejoice over intra-Arab strife. Jordan has its hands full trying to keep out of the instability surounding it.

The French may want to but are stuck in Mali. The Brits are likewise stretched thin and can't. Germany has no power projection capability at all and not the will. NATO proper is preoccupied with the 'Russian threat' *. Russia sees its predictions becoming reality and is content with supporting Assad. Etc pp.

Only the US has the capability.

* As for NATO - It appears as if the neo-cons by kicking loose the Ukraine crisis to stick it to Putin over him thwarting the sacking of Syria at the hands of the USAF and the Unicorn army have shot themselves in the foot. The original intent of the scheme must have been to reassert US leadership into Europe since it had become so independent, reemphacising US-European ties and defence interests.

If Syria was the cause, Europe certainly doesn't care so much about that anymore. The Ukraine crisis not only distracted Obama fom Syria but Europe as well. It also made Europe less inclined to follow through with their harebrained regime change scheme in Syria.

The nuclear armed bear on the porch certainly is a threat, even when needlessly provoked, than the odd jihadi shooting the odd cartoonist own the street or an IS massacre downriver.

But I am sure that Kristol has an ace up his sleeve - a really Churchillian US presidential candidate. Because it is, again and forever, Munich 1938!

turcopolier

CP

"... think that he makes that assessment not out of a fondness to see US troops 'in action' but as a result of the lack of capabilities of those who oppose IS. If they are not up to it, given the assessment that IS must be dealt with, who can do it?" That is correct. i have been schooled by life to make choices between undesirable options. Hobson's Choice, i.e., there really is no choice for the US with regard to IS if others with real capabilities will not act against them. pl

LeeG

"Only the US has this capability"
What do you base this on?

Patrick Bahzad

Don't want to get ahead of myself as I would like to expand a little more on these questions in a coming piece about the geopolitics of the ISIS problem, but I think ISIS is being considered by the armchair strategists on the Potomac as a regional/local problem and as such, can be "contained" and doesn't need any "roll-back".
This assessment is based both on assurances received from America's allies in the Gulf (how reliable is debatable) and on their estimation of AQ being in the long run a more dangerous adversary, as it is a global player with a aganda focused more directly on the "Far ennemy" (i.e. the US) rather than the "Close ennemy" (the ME regimes allied with the US). Thus the anti-jihadi strategy of the US was and still is aimed at destroying AQ networks as a priority. And the fact is that one of the first targets that was hit in the airstrikes allegedly carried out against ISIS, in September 2014, was an AQ cell (the so-called "Khorasan" group), which shows how blurred the US strategy against ISIS is. But their idea must be to seize this opportunity to deal a fatal blow to AQ, in the context of its loosing ground against ISIS, and once the global threat of that organisation has been terminated, turn to the regional and territorialy based 'jihadi' threats(ISIS first, but others as well), and try to suppress them independently from each other.
This means walking a very thin line in the meantime, making sure public opinion still buys into the narrative of the international coalition against ISIS, while at the same time only trying to make sure the 'disease' doesn't spread any further.
A very dangerous gamble in my view, as there is no contingency plan ready in case anything in that brilliant piece of planning should go wrong. But then the plans made up by the chairborne warriors of D.C.'s think tanks and expert groups never go wrong, do they ?

J

Colonel,

How does DoD keep individuals like Sen. McCain from muddying their battlefield decisions in dealing with IS?

Members of Congress have the task with authorizing going to war or not, but they don't have to be armchair generals in the process.

What's a battlefield decision maker(s) (i.e. Gen. Dempsey) to do, in keeping such Congressional armchair generals at bay?

Babak Makkinejad

US could let it be, FARC gas been controlling large swaths of Colombia for decades.

turcopolier

Babak Makkenijad

"US could let it be, FARC gas been controlling large swaths of Colombia for decades." The FARC has never had ambitions outside Columbia's borders. pl

confusedponderer

Why don't you look up US power projection capabilities (primarily logistics) yourself?

You can as well start reading here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_projection

You'll see what I am getting at when you then compare national capabilities.

alba etie

Col Lang
Is there anything the USA could do to change Turkey's mind about supporting the Liver Eaters ?
To date I have not seen any real pressure put on Erdogan to change his policy of supporting Daash . It seems to me that trying to pressure Turkey into an active role in defeating Daash might be a useful exercise before we recommit troops to al Anbar .
But the Children Crusaders at our State Dept will probably prevent us trying to pressure Turkey anyway ,,,

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