At National Review today there’s a piece by Matthew Continetti, “Accept No Substitutions“, pounding the same old neocon drum for more military adventurism in the Mid-East. Like many with no military experience, Continetti falls prey to the Kagans overly simplistic strategic posturing:
“If only. A future president — and with the way Obama is handling the Middle East, we will be dealing with the Islamic State and other hazards for many years indeed — needs to take a look at the strategic plan devised by Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and Kimberly Kagan and Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War.
“U.S. forces need to play the role of honest broker once again, as they did in 2007 and 2008,” the Kagans wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times. “But they can only play that role if they are present.” The Kagans say 25,000 troops are necessary to reverse enemy gains.”
I posted the first comment there, under my other alias, “mhere”, rambling on rather longish, giving my two cents worth:
“American ground troops most certainly can provide a winning “military” strategy against ISIS, but herein lies the same dilemma we’ve faced since removing the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Gadaffi from power – there is no political solution in sight to insure stability in the aftermath. The Kagans and their neocon friends brought us the “cakewalk” in the Iraq prognostications and recently penned a power point plan in the Weekly Standard, http://www.weeklystandard.com/….”
“A year ago, Frederick Kagan wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/…, urging arming the ever elusive Syrian “moderates”. Both Kagans are supposed military “experts”, but his concern in this piece was the flagging morale of the Syrian rebels, not the morale of our American troops. Both failed to address the more important strategic dilemma in Syria, which ISIS now glaringly highlights – removing odious secular autocrats in the Mid-East isn’t a challenge for US military might. However, leaving gaping power vacuums only exacerbates the “providing safe havens for terrorists”, which rests as a real threat to our national security. Here’s the rub, that no one talks about – Assad posed no real threat to American national security. Certainly he does Iran’s bidding, but he wasn’t making pronouncements inciting “Death to America”. Our President lied about the WMD intelligence in 2012, assigning blame to Assad before an investigation was even conducted and reporters beyond Seymour Hersh should be asking, “Whose Sarin?” (google his article by that title and then research that one).”
“Unless our “strategic thinking” moves beyond simplistic power point presentations, such as the Kagans plan, we will remain mired in Mid-East quagmires. Our military abilities far exceed our long-range strategic thinking and defeating a foe is far easier than “preserving states”, so perhaps we need to think more about the end goals. Military occupations unto perpetuity will only fuel the jihadist movement.
If we sit back and let ISIS run its course, then those Shia and Sunni power-brokers in the neighborhood will be forced to act. We should secure our borders, work toward energy independence, rebuild our military, which suffers from over a decade of wear and tear, and work on some long-range strategic-brainstorming. I don’t want America to be the “mercenary” air force for either side in the larger Sunni-Shia battle, which is what is happening now. In the current configuration, we’ve switched sides and are providing air support to help Assad regain ground in Syria, because he has “boots on the ground” ready to capitalize on our air strikes against ISIS. The mullahs in Iran probably are sitting there laughing at how easily we’ve been drawn in by ISIS propaganda videos.”
“Our troops deserve better strategic-thinking than the Kagans simplistic power point presentations and war by disingenuous slogans. No more cakewalks, shock and awe, winning the hearts and minds, please!”
Another commenter, verity, followed my comment with this much shorter, but very succinct insight: