A tougher ISIS plan

My thoughts on what to do about ISIS follow.

We need to use military force to a purpose and “crushing” terrorists, who are widely dispersed in more than 80 countries isn’t feasible. The military force needs to be about taking away territory controlled by ISIS and insuring a political situation on the ground follows that does not embrace radical Islam. The proponents of “go crush them” almost invariably are the same ones who don’t want us getting bogged down in the ME again and a common refrain is “we go crush them and come home”, except that is a ridiculous idea, because unless there’s a dramatic, long-term political change on the ground, Islamic terrorist groups keep springing up in the ME.

Trump tough talking points aren’t a strategy, they’re his usual mindless bluster and what he thinks will play well in the polls. Trump decides merits on the polls – national security is just a huge popularity contest to him – if most people agree with it, it’s “great”. You want to see how Trump really operates, just peek at the internal chaos inside his campaign or that he’s at the general election stage and still doesn’t have a viable ground game or that none of his plans is ever well-thought out with clear, coherent planning. You want to see what Hillary is like, well,  just look to the carefully focus-group tested parsing she engages in as she tries to find the right words to sell herself. In real world tests of foreign policy chops – look at the mess in Libya as exhibit A on her foreign policy “successes”.  Both of them are unfit to be commander-in-chief and both lack any real understanding of foreign policy. Their foreign policy ideas are always about what words and phrases will poll best, not about sound national security strategy.

I’m all for profiling and being tougher, but tougher needs to be smart and it starts with a comprehensive national strategy that incorporates every tool of national power to deal with the real problem and that’s not primarily ISIS, it’s a much larger threat – the collapsing Islamic civilization. As their civilization keeps falling apart its tremors and eruptions keep impacting us more and more. Some of our strategy needs to be offensive, but a lot of it also needs to be defensive to protect Americans from the fall-out. We can’t go in and fix Islamic civilization, so we need to use our military options carefully and where we have regional leaders working with us to stabilize the situation on the ground and we need to choose the areas we expend military force to ones that are of vital national interest to us.

My views are controversial. Frankly, jumping into the hot mess that is Iraq and Syria impetuously isn’t smart imho. The Russian are there, the Iranians are there – we will only get played for fools if we rush into Syria. In Iraq, Obama walked away and Iran now is the driving force behind the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government relies on Shia militias to fight ISIS and those militias are funded and controlled by Iran, so our military actions are bolstering Iran in Iraq these days, not doing a thing to defeat ISIS. The Shia control in Baghdad assures the Sunni insurgency (ISIS and other Sunni tribal groups) will continue. Let Iran and the Russians cope with that. We need to use our military force where it benefits us and rushing into Syria is a strategic trap where we will end up being the dupe.

I would engage in some tough foreign policy talks with regional leaders and Russia and China, before blabbing about carpet bombing ISIS or destroying ISIS. That entire “moderate Syrian rebels” malarkey was an hostile foreign propaganda coup and that the Institute for the Study of War was a prime spreader of that should raise a lot of red flags. It was a wild goose chase, because vetted US intelligence knew early on that the Syrian rebels were radicalized early and all of those groups were Islamist – some more Islamist than others, but nonetheless Islamist. These “experts” pushing for us to rush in and destroy ISIS are 3rd rate checkers strategic players. Putin would love to see us bogged down in Iraq/Syria, as he and the Chinese make military moves elsewhere and we are unable to respond. We need to wake-up and play the “diplomacy” game like chess players and quit being the 3rd rate checkers player on the world stage!

Obama has gutted our military and infested it with social engineering policies designed to destroy military cohesion and effectiveness. We need to rid the military of Obama’s policies and rebuild our military. We aren’t ready for some ramped up ISIS war or carpet bombing for that matter. That’s the real truth and that alone should scare every American. We need to rebuild our military

I think we should use the laws already on the books and place a ban on immigration from several radical Islam hot bed countries due to the political instability in those countries and then we need to have an across the board standard that every immigrant or refugee coming into America needs to be thoroughly vetted. Obama wants to let in 10,000 before he leaves office. It goes without saying we should have secured our borders all along – why we haven’t is a national disgrace. Putin, Soros and and other American enemies are fueling this entire “refugee crisis” – they are using it to destabilize Western countries – that is obvious. All sorts of “NGOs” are set-up from the fake passport shops to locations all along the route into Europe to feed, clothe, direct the flow of “refugees”, provide them cell phones, etc. There are Soros-funded groups in America to promote the “refugee” policy here too, but even more alarming is many Christian charities get big bucks from the federal government to provide “refugee services” and they are propaganda machines too.

As to domestic policing – how about we untie their hands and let’s quit with all the Islamophobia hype and focus on finding these ISIS terrorists and connections in America. We can do that while still protecting the civil liberties of all Americans.

Here’s an excellent big picture piece by Daniel Greenfield on the civilizational crisis in the Islamic world:

Islam’s Violence is Rooted in Instability


Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Islam, Military, Politics, Terrorism

16 responses to “A tougher ISIS plan

  1. Kinnison

    Ever heard the psychological term “operant conditioning”? We send the Marines, SPCOPS and air support to the Middle East with virtually unrestricted ROE. We kill every ISIS member we can find. We leave. If they try to reconstitute, we go back and kill the survivors and the new guys. Repeat. Sooner than later they will get the idea and go back to killing each other and Europeans who are wiilling to put up with their crap. Did we learn nothing from Bush’s neocon adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do NOT go and stay and try to “nation-build”.

  2. This sounds like a whack a mole strategy and I think it completely ignores the religious, ethnic, political, economic realities that fuel Salafist terrorists. I don’t believe you can kill your way out of the Islamic terrorism mess, because killing them and leaving – leaves all the political/economic/religious conditions that drive them there unchanged and they’ll just morph into another group

    ISIS is a symptom of the larger geopolitical problems in the region. I don’t want to get bogged down in nation building, but realistically, we need to work with regional leaders and groups to deal with this as an ongoing problem.

    ISIS is in over 80 countries.

    • Kinnison

      We must agree to disagree. I am a Military Historian. I have studied the history of the Middle East and its conflicts. What the Salafist looney tunes understand is ruthless force. Whack them enough and they will either stop out of a sense of self-preservation or attack someone else that isn’t nearly as bloody-minded as an aroused and vindictive America. We do NOT need to stick the over-stressed U.S. Military onto yet another tar-baby by militarily-reoccupying countries in Southwest Asia. And the American people—and rightly so—are damned sick and tired of paying for such feckless adventures and watching their sons and daughters come home in aluminum boxes. We have enough oil here. The Europeans are the ones who need Middle Eastern oil. Let the French do it…

      • I don’t want to reoccupy either, but I do believe we need allies in the region working to change the political dynamic on the ground or we are wasting our time.

      • Kinnison

        O.K…other than Israel and Jordan, with whom in the region would you like to ally? Because I am looking at the candidates and not seeing a whole lot of reliable liberal democracies…or even any reliable dictatorships.

  3. After Obama’s fecklessness, your list is two too long on whom America can count on as steadfast allies in the region, but that being said I believe I began by stating:

    “We need to use military force to a purpose and “crushing” terrorists, who are widely dispersed in more than 80 countries isn’t feasible. The military force needs to be about taking away territory controlled by ISIS and insuring a political situation on the ground follows that does not embrace radical Islam.”

    Hence, I am not for rushing off to defeat ISIS with some new “cakewalk” plan. I am also not for long, hopeless “democratization” of Muslim hellholes either, as over a decade showed that even pouring in untold billions of cash can’t buy Western democracy , plant it in arid Muslim sand and make it grow.

    Any military strategy should have some political outcome as an end game, I believe. Before expending US treasure I think America needs to expend a whole lot more on diplomatic efforts and decide what “political outcomes” in the ME are worth the expenditure of American blood and treasure. Your solution rests on believing that if you kill enough of them, often enough, they will go fight someone else instead of us. I’ll bow to you being a Military Historian, but I don’t believe, from what I understand from just being an amateur, albeit avid reader of military history, military strategy, and ME history for almost 40 years, that that is how Salafist looney tunes will react.

    I believe political stability and fewer power vacuums will quell the spread of Salafist looney tunes in the region and I also believe America can’t wave a magic “democracy” wand and make that happen, hence my reticence to rush in and “defeat ISIS” with overwhelming American force. They’ve already moved to a new phase, so even my “political stability on their home turf” is a behind the 8 ball analysis and yours too for that matter. They’re busily engaged in Hijra and Obama is determined to bring in 10,000 unvetted “Syrian” refugees before he leaves office, assuring that instead of just ISIS recruiting American misfits to carry out attacks, they will have set up shop all over America – invited in and supported by US tax dollars.

    Btw, I believe their Jihadist global effort very much mimics how Lenin and the Comintern operated and America, then, as now, was years behind even recognizing the threat wasn’t just over there, but had stealthily migrated into America and set-up shop in academia, Hollywood, and the media. ISIS is just the latest most radical effort, CAIR and others have been busily working their political agenda for decades and continue unabated.

    I would opt for rebuilding America’s military as a top tier national defense issue, followed closely by rebuilding American alliances around the world and reasserting America’s role as a leader in the world again. I find Putin’s emergence as the unchallenged go-to guy on the world stage more of a threat to American national interests all over the globe than ISIS.

    • Kinnison

      I agree with your analysis. I do not agree with your solutions. “Diplomacy”? You’re joking, right? We have one firm democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel. Almost since its founding in 1948 American diplomacy has focused on talking and browbeating the Jewish State out of land and other concessions in futile attempts to get the surrounding Arabs—and Egyptians and Iranians, who are NOT Arabs—to eschew the complete destruction of Israel and all of the Jews in it as official policy. We finally, after their three attempts to erase Israel(’48, ’67, ’73, and getting their butts handed to them each time…), bribed the Egyptians into compliance with the Camp David Accords, which give Egypt the same billions in foreign and military aid as we give Israel each year, not to attack them anymore…and that is an uneasy truce. (Egypt—and make no mistake, Egyptians still hate Israel and Jews…only our annual bribe keeps them officially peaceful—is on the verge of being a “failed state”. It has no foreign reserves, its society and economy are in shambles as is its government, and they cannot either grow or afford to import enough food to feed the largest population in the region. Egypt is a regional disaster waiting to happen.) The Shi’a Iranians, almost a nuclear power now, and the strongest, richest Islamic state in the region, have an official policy of the destruction of Israel, and their regional surrogates Hezbollah and Hamas attack Israel on a regular basis. Sunni Saudi Arabia’s official policy is the destruction of Israel too, although they have no direct access and their military is a joke…all they can do is throw money at anti-Israel groups. It is no exaggeration to say that generations of American diplomats have “negotiated for peace in the Middle East” and then retired on their munificent State Department pensions without result. We never, on the other hand, demand any concessions from the fractious Palestinians, who seem to have no skills other than to panhandle for handouts from Europe and the U.S. and blow stuff up. I have a friend whose Middle Eastern solution is the best I have seen: Build a high wall around the Middle East. Let no one in or out. Around the outside of the wall build large catapults. Catapult pallets of ammunition over the wall into the region until the shooting stops.

      • I don’t have a solution, but before any military actions we sure need a whole lot of diplomatic effort to even understand the lay of the land, see if we can count on any help in any small ways too. We also need a whole lot more up to date intel and analysis. Even your plan requires some diplomatic ground work, because we can’t just engage in an operation reliant on air ops over foreign turf in that area of the world without some talking to foreign leaders.

        I am not adverse to using special ops, but I am very unsure of what you mean by “unrestricted ROE”. Every person who is part of the US Armed Forces operates under the Code of Conduct and if we want just unprincipled go kill them all – that sounds more up the CIA’s alley. I asked my husband, who knows a whole lot more about combat and US rules of engagement and when I asked him about operating under “unrestricted rules of engagement” he said to him that sounds a lot like Trump’s “when I order them to do it, they will do it.” His next question was with the state of the US military after Obama’s gutting, where are the Marines going to get all these special ops people.

      • Of course we adhere to the Code of Conduct and the Geneva Conventions. But the Obama Administration’s lawyers have restricted our options so much our troops cannot do their jobs and are taking unnecessary casualties. Navy, Marine and Air Force pilots returning from the AO report not being able to fire up 75% of their identified targets because they couldn’t get clearance to fire from “higher”. We have had repeated instances in Afghanistan of U.S. Troops in dire trouble having calls for artillery fire or air strikes in support denied because there were “civilians” in the general area—“civilians” in many cases seen running ammo reloads out to the Taliban. We need Rules of Engagement that let us do our jobs, or sending in troops in is a waste of time.

  4. Kinnison, your friend’s solution reminds me of my late mother’s take on the region. She would get incensed whenever Arafat was on TV and that Clinton treated Arafat like some great leader really would set her off. When I asked her what she thought we should do, she would launch into a historical review like you did and then she would fume, “PEACE??? These people NEVER progressed past throwing stones!” That about sums it up. I am not a big fan of containment strategies – but with the collapse of the Islamic world a good deal of our effort probably should be to keep as much of their “stone-throwing mayhem” away from American shores and Western civilization – not invite tens of thousands in.

  5. JK

    Just my 2 cents.

    Sure, ally with Israel and Jordan (mostly to secure their borders). “We” to the degree possible, working solely with the Kurds, secure Iraq to the border with Syria driving Daesh out of Anbar and into Syria proper (Turkey will of course be a *problem* owing to Erdogan’s antipathy toward the Kurds.)

    Allow Russia (with its Ally [and its nominal ally, SRG ie Kurds predominate) continue from the Med pushing Daesh and the AQ types – Jubhat al Nusra et al – further and further east, perhaps east of Raqqa and Dayr al Zahr.

    Then allow the sure to ensue internecine Wahhabist-types squabbling to go on, inside the box.

    Let Erdogan and Putin settle their own issues of disagreement while “we” enjoy our popcorn.

    • JK, You’ve told me about the importance of becoming a “crow”, well that link I posted on “bird brains” states crows and parrots are pretty darned smart:-)

      I don’t think Israel much trusts us with helping them with their border security at this point. Pulling the rug out from under them, by backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, threw their Sinai security into total chaos. You nailed the rest of the reality on the ground.

    • I agree with your plan btw, in fact, when the Russians first started their airstrikes, I thought we should use that opportunity to push ISIS westward, out of Iraq, while the Russians and Assad pushed eastward.

  6. JK

    Nope. Israel surely doesn’t “much trust us” but they do seem to be able to, work it out with the Russians, eg, keeping their air assets (Israeli & Russia’s) from doing what the Turks seem unable to do – or want; much.

    That is, the IDAF commander gets on the phone with his Russian counterpart to say, “Incidentally Ivan, we’re gonna overflight the Golan this afternoon and maybe shoot up a convoy or two, think you might occupy your air assets with, oh I don’t know, east of Latakia maybe?”

    But “us”?

    Of course not, there’s “the optics” gots to be emphasized. Afterall we’ve got “allies” (NATO) which, even though not a single one, outside of (possibly) Johnny Turk cares a whit whether/what, the Sunnis to the south (but not Jordan so much) happens with their Wahhabist do-gooders have in mind for the afternoon.

    Besides, Kerry was really looking forward to that luncheon in Riyadh.

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