President Obama’s plan to bomb ISIS into submission is not working. That the man thought it would work is testimony to his lack of understanding of third generation warfare’s inability to deal with fourth generation warfare.
ISIS is rolling to major victories, one after another.
The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting.
Isis reinforcements have been rushing towards Kobani in the past few days to ensure that they win a decisive victory over the Syrian Kurdish town’s remaining defenders. The group is willing to take heavy casualties in street fighting and from air attacks in order to add to the string of victories it has won in the four months since its forces captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, on 10 June. Part of the strength of the fundamentalist movement is a sense that there is something inevitable and divinely inspired about its victories, whether it is against superior numbers in Mosul or US airpower at Kobani.
In the face of a likely Isis victory at Kobani, senior US officials have been trying to explain away the failure to save the Syrian Kurds in the town, probably Isis’s toughest opponents in Syria. “Our focus in Syria is in degrading the capacity of [Isis] at its core to project power, to command itself, to sustain itself, to resource itself,” said US Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, in a typical piece of waffle designed to mask defeat. “The tragic reality is that in the course of doing that there are going to be places like Kobani where we may or may not be able to fight effectively.”
Unfortunately for the US, Kobani isn’t the only place air strikes are failing to stop Isis. In an offensive in Iraq launched on 2 October but little reported in the outside world, Isis has captured almost all the cities and towns it did not already hold in Anbar province, a vast area in western Iraq that makes up a quarter of the country. It has captured Hit, Kubaisa and Ramadi, the provincial capital, which it had long fought for. Other cities, towns and bases on or close to the Euphrates River west of Baghdad fell in a few days, often after little resistance by the Iraqi Army which showed itself to be as dysfunctional as in the past, even when backed by US air strikes.
The Pentagon cannot win this one from the air. Bombs will not regain the ground surrendered. The government does not have enough boots to put on the ground to defeat ISIS. The voters will not allow a return of American troops to Iraq. Obama knows this. The voters are for bombing, but not occupying.
ISIS will do the occupying.
I see no prospective Republican candidate for the nomination in 2016 calling for a return of American boots on the ground in Iraq.
Hillary is silent, too.
What is happening in Iraq will happen in Afghanistan as soon as the troops are removed. The Taliban has long since recovered.
Those of us who criticized the invasions in 2001 and 2003 said this would happen. It is now happening.
The neocons got us in. They never had a viable plan for getting us out. Yet they still dominate the Republican Party.
No one has ever conquered Afghanistan for long. It is the graveyard of empires: Alexander’s, the Mongols’, Britain’s, and the Soviets’. Now it is our turn. As they say: “You have the watches. We have the time.”
As Donald Rumsfeld said, who executed the invasions: “Things are easier to get into than out of.”
Jesus said to count the cost of your actions (Luke 14:28-30). Bush & Co. did not count the cost.
Neither did Teddy Roosevelt. Neither did Woodrow Wilson. Neither did Franklin Roosevelt. Neither did John F. Kennedy. Neither did Lyndon Johnson.
The voters went along with it every time. They have paid dearly for their consent: lost sons and lost wealth. Soon, there will be lost face.