Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Defeating The Islamic State


President Obama has revealed - surprise! - that he has no strategy for even combating, let alone defeating Islamic State. His excuse is that he's ordered his military advisers to give him “a range of options,” which is another confession of how inept this president is.

He's known about Islamic State (formerly ISIS) for a long time now now, and even had a significant part in Islamic State's growth, arming and training them with the assistance of Turkey and Qatar.The mess with Islamic State is very much of Barack Obama's making. And let's not forget that his illegal intervention in Libya to save the jihadis and al-Qaeda militias in Benghazi, that allowed all of Khaddaffi's arsenal fall into jihadi hands and created a failed state now known as 'jihadi central' where groups like Islamic State's allies al Nusrah, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and others now have a base to arm and train.

Yet, after all that, this president never bothered to have our military put together a contingency plan to deal with any possible blowback, and is just now consulting with the military and 'waiting for options!'

In the president's actual statement, he of course substituted 'we' rather then 'he', because as you know, nothing is ever his fault.I actually know children who are more responsible when they're confronted by an error.

But  the problem of defeating Islamic State is not as simple as it seems. The president's dysfunctional buffoonery aside, there are a lot of considerations here that need to be looked at.

The first part of making any decision is actually having definable foreign policy goals, something this president seems to lack except for his fetish for empowering and protecting Islamists.

So job one, the way I see it, is to formulate such goals. I think eliminating imminent security risks to America is a good one. And if that's the goal, simply bombing the hummus out of Islamic State, something I've heard a lot of people push for, won't do it. The reverse in fact.

It has apparently never occurred to them that odious as Islamic State is, they are a counterbalance to an almost equally odious Iranian regime. Taking out Islamic State only helps Iran and the likes of Hezbollah consolidate their goal of a nuclear armed Shi'ite bloc.

That, by the way, is one of the main reasons why taking out Saddam Hussein was such a dumb idea, and why old hands like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to talk George W. Bush out of it.

Iran has been gulling the West on their rogue nuclear weapons program for almost a decade now, and here has been no progress in terms of diplomacy in getting them to stop, while the centrifuges keep spinning. Nor will there be. Iran is the key to this situation, and a much more serious threat than Islamic State.

So, how to accomplish the goal of eliminating these security threats to America?

The first thing, of course, is to be honest at long last and finally let the peoples of the West know what we're fighting. Call it Islamism, Islamic fascism, Radical Islam, jihad, whatever you will. But identifying it without tiptoeing around it and letting the peoples of the West know what's at stake is key. We are fighting an ideology. And it's an ideology that has to be shamed, demonized and ridiculed, especially in the West, with no false notions about political correctness. Propaganda works both ways:




The West need to understand what characterizes jihad, and that while Islamic State is a Sunni organization, the same applies to Iran, the other, Shi'ite side of the same coin. We are not dealing with rational actors as we understand the term, and we need to understand the dedication and fanaticism of our enemies, just as we did in WWII. And we need to also understand that this needs to be a war, not an 'operation'  or a few desultory airstrikes. This video, from Islamic State about the taking of Mosul and surrounding areas is valuable in achieving that perspective:

The simplest and best first step is the old one of arming and strengthening our friends while destroying our enemies. To me, that means a strong and independent Kurdistan that's a US ally, while leaving the Shi'ites to hold their line in the south near Baghdad. There's no sense whatsoever in giving the Shi'ite regime in Iraq much more in money and support. They've already had over $25 billion in arms, training and logistics lavished on them and have performed with all the martial fervor and expertise of the majority of the ARVN troops in South Vietnam. All those shiny American arms and supplies ended up in Islamic State's hands. But the Iraqi army can can probably manage to hold a line at Baghdad and points south, especially if The Islamic State has other fronts to worry about.

The Kurds, on the other hand have already proven that in anything like an equal fight they can hold their own and win. And they would also have the incentive of fighting for an independent Kurdistan, a dream they've had for years. Kurdistan is where we should have made out base and our stand in the beginning, a naturally democratic,pro-American enclave that begged us to do so. At least they were pro-American until they were betrayed by President Bush and President Obama, but I think the relationship with the Kurds is salvageable, although perhaps not with President Obama in power.

The next step would be a much improved relationship with Israel. This would include a joint project for a pre-emptive strike to take out Iran's nukes and Iran's capacity to cause mischief to anyone for some time. Tactical nukes might unfortunately be necessary. At this point, it would almost certainly be necessary to take out Iran's oil and gas infrastructure and refineries as well to make sure their nuclear ambitions stay dormant, something that could have been avoided had the job been done a lot earlier.

I would also leave the carnage and destruction intact,certainly as long as any semblance of the present regime is in power.Some monuments are built of stone, others of rubble. But both fulfill a similar function, that of remembrance. Just ask the Germans and the Japanese.

I repeat, Iran is the key to the region, not Islamic State. And Iran can be dealt with, more or less swiftly and decisively because of its systemic vulnerabilities, its fixed address and its lack of sufficient air and sea power. This is not to say that a strike on Iran would be without cost, but the cost will be infinitely less if it is done now before Iran achieves nuclear weapons capability than later.President Obama's thoughts about strategy to the contrary, a nuclear amred Shi'ite block is not going to be something that can be worked with or 'contained.' Iran's demographics and plunging birthrate doesn't give Iran much time to put the Shi'ite hegemony they want together, and the Ayatollahs know it.

It is our failure to deal effectively with Iran, it's fomenting of terrorism and its rogue nuclear program that has caused the present crisis.If not for that, the Russians would not be a factor and Basher Assad would have had to come to terms with Syria’s Sunni majority. Instead, he had the means to expel millions of them.

Without the war in Syria,  ISIS would never have received arms and training covertly from the Obama Administration, with the help of Turkey and Qatar. Without Iran, Iraq’s Shi'ites would have had to compromise with the Sunnis and Kurds and disaffected Sunnis would not have allied themselves with ISIS,Islamic State's former identity.

There is no victory possible in this war without taking Iran off the board.

 ISIS's force ranges anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000, analysts say. Here, members march carrying the group's black flags.

The destruction of Islamic State and its affiliated jihadis is going to be more difficult, but again not beyond our capabilities. Again, let's remember that we are fighting an ideology. To start, were I president, I would insist on a formal declaration of war by Congress. To get that, I would have to make the case of Islamic State and it's allied militias constituting an imminent security risk to America, and then put forth the clear goal of its defeat and exactly what that would look like.

A Declaration of War clarifies exactly what a war is about, who the enemy is and gives a commander-in-chief certain powers that can come in handy where sedition, espionage and sabotage are concerned. And it puts congress on board in a much more decisive and straight forward way then foggy 'resolutions.' It says volumes about President Obama's arrogance and unsuitability as commander-in-chief that his plans reportedly include not consulting congress at all. But moving on...

After a significant amount of education of the home front and being nationally honest about openly naming our enemies and declaring war, the next step would be securing the home front, including our borders and a crackdown on certain organizations and websites that encourage Islamism and jihadi recruitment. For instance, in a real, declared war CAIR's campaign urging Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI can legally be labeled treason and dealt with accordingly.

Another important step involves the cooperation of certain bad actors in the region. Both Qatar and Turkey would need to be put on notice that any funding or arming of Islamic State and its allies would have serious consequences, with a genial nod in the general direction of Iran to emphasize the point. Trust me, they would understand.

Europe too would need to understand that cooperation in keeping their home grown jihadis under control and stopping them from going overseas to join Islamic State is a must. According to an ICM poll, support for Islamic State is at 7% in UK and at 16% in France (27% among what we'll call the cannon fodder years,18 -25). Those are astounding numbers,but considering how these countries have been importing Muslim immigrants for a decade, not entirely unexpected. We would probably be wise not to count on much in the way of help from the EU militarily, but most foreign countries can be coerced into cooperating in choking off jihadi recruits, jihad fundraising and finance by the simple expedient of letting them know that non-cooperation will lead to them being forbidden from doing any transactions with U.S. financial institutions or foreign financial institutions doing business with U.S. firms.It's the ultimate sanction.

For all the talk about 'leaving the dollar' and 'alternative financial structures', the financial pulse of the world still flows through New York City, because of the huge American consumer market if nothing else. President George W. Bush used this weapon successfully to bring down several banks who were financing jihad, one of the few thing he did right during his 'war on terror.'

We might also be surprised to find that Russia and China might be far more cooperative than we expect in taking out Islamic State and other assorted jihadi groups. China is dealing with a vicious jihadi problem among the Uighers in Western China, there have been a number of terrorist incidents and the Chinese people themselves are very aware of this menace. Russia has been fighting Muslims for 4 centuries, still has the Chechens to deal with and a growing demographics problem with the native Russian population shrinking due to low birthrates while Russia's Muslim birthrate continues to grow. Even the Russian Army has experienced a number of incidents involving violent riots and fighting between Muslim and native Russian soldiers. Whatever else you might think of him, Vladimir Putin is no fool.

The military campaign against the Islamic State itself would be a joint effort, most likely in conjunction with Israel, the Saudis, the GCE countries and Egypt.The destruction of Iran would have a decided effect on the demeanor both our friends and our enemies, and cooperation would probably be much more cohesive than after that. While I doubt we could expect much from Europe, Canada and Australia would likely send their forces in to help, and they'd be a very welcome and effective addition as anyone who served with them in Iraq or AfPak knows.

Let's look at what we'd be up against.

The Islamic State currently has something like 3 divisions worth of fighters according to the best estimates, something between 15,000 and 20,000 fighters.They're well armed, experienced and motivated fighters, with ManPads for use against helicopters, armor of both the Russian and American varieties and plenty of ammo and supplies thanks to the meltdown of the Iraqi Army and their recent victories in Syria.

They lack one major, vital component. Pilots. Islamic State has taken over several air bases, so they have planes and platforms...but they have no pilots.And Islamic State lacks to the topography to wage the sort of war the North Vietnamese did. There's no place to hide.

Modern war in the desert is fought over large, open and mostly flat topography. It depends on two components, armor and air power being used in conjunction. Armor and infantry without air cover is a recipe for disaster, as every modern army who has tried to fight that way in the Middle East could tell you.

The Saudis alone have something like 300 F-15s, more than enough to defend themselves and decimate an offensive by Islamic State if it comes to that.

So the Islamic State would more than likely attempt to wage war with these strategies: tying up our forces with guerrilla warfare and terrorism while using their domestic supporters in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere as well as on the home front to increase terrorism and sedition is almost a given.  They might also end up reinforcing strong points in their territory the way Hamas did with Gaza City, figuring that the West would not be willing to inflict casualties if they use human shields. Needless to say, any garrison cities are going to have to be destroyed,with little regard for human shields or collateral damage if this last tactic is to be successfully defeated.

And finally, they may open up new fronts.Lebanon, for instance,where the Lebanese army and the Shi'ite forces of Hezbollah integrated with the Lebanese Army suffered a serious defeat on the Syrian border.

These boundaries change according to the fortunes of war, but The Islamic state currently controls something like 57,000 square miles (90,000 square kilometers) roughly the size of Jordan. Their territory includes big swaths of north and northeast Syria including include pieces of major cities like Aleppo and Raqqa, while in Iraq, the Islamic State's new caliphate stretches from the northern and northwestern parts of country to Fallujah,Mosul and just west of Kirkuk.

Their revenues are estimated at between $1 and $4 million per day.  Most of the money either comes from donors or from criminal enterprises - selling stolen oil on the black  market, 'taxes' and protection money in the areas where the Islamic State rules, carjackings, bank robberies,  kidnappings for ransom, and the sale of narcotics and of sex slaves.

Because Islamic State is a quasi national body, the only place to wage war on them economically is by attempting to crack  down on donors and suspect banks. But the  Islamic State probably also utilizes the time honored hawala system, where money brokers transfer funds for a small commission using what amounts to an honor system, avoiding banks and promissory notes entirely.

The key to defeating The Islamic State is going to involve destroying its capacity to make war, not 'containment.'  And a successful war against The  Islamic State likely involves internalizing the lessons of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman.


A man ahead of his time in many ways, General Sherman realized that the path to victory was not only in defeating the Confederate  Army in the field but in destroying the Confederacy's material ability and psychological will to wage war.

His strategy involved moving his armies through the Southern heartland by using his superior numbers and firepower to consistently outflank and force back Confederate troops under General Joe Johnston and later General John Bell Hood...and destroying anything the enemy could possibly use. His army killed comparatively few civilians, but lived off the land and left a swathe of destruction in its path.

He refused to allow his army to be tied down occupying bases. After conquering Atlanta, the South's primary railroad and communications hub, he simply had the population evacuate to the Confederate lines, destroyed the railroads, ammunition and stores Hood's army had left behind  along with anything else his own troops couldn't use (including a large part of the city itself) and continued to move east to Savannah on the Atlantic coast and then north through the Carolinas, using the same tactics. According to Johnston's own memoirs, Sherman's troops moved at the rate of something like a dozen miles a day, leaving virtually nothing that could be used by the Confederate armies behind them. This also forced the local populations to concentrate on survival and subsistence rather than providing either men, food or materials in support 'for the Cause.' It is a fact that there was very little if any guerrilla warfare behind Sherman's lines in the conquered territory.

Sherman eventually forced Johnston's army to make a stand in North Carolina at the Battle of Bentonville, where he decisively defeated Johnston's troops, and eventually took the surrender of Johnston and all the remaining confederate  forces  in Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas on April 26, 1865,  the largest surrender of Confederate troops during the war.

The lesson of General Sherman is an important one. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, The Islamic State has a lot more popular support in the Muslim world ( including Muslims in the West) than we realize. That mistake has to be brought home to them, and the sooner it is, the shorter the war will be, ultimately saving many lives.

With modern adaptations, (for instance, using air power supporting armor to force Islamic State's forces back)  General Sherman's strategy  would both destroy The Islamic State's capacity to wage war, bankrupt it by eliminating the finance and support  it gets from its base  and discrediting its ideology among the people it most needs to be discredited with - Muslims. It would end their psychological support for jihad, because the jihadist forces would be defeated and discredited in plain sight of the population.

In contrast to WWI, Germany in WWII suffered total and unmistakable defeat. Germans were able to see first hand the destruction and death that following National Socialism and Hitler had brought upon them. The lesson was brought home and thus the German people had the ability to rebuild and start with something like a clean slate.

There is one final thing we are going to need in order to win this war, and it's unfortunately something deeply lacking - leadership.


That's a problem the best strategy and armies available can't solve. President Barack Obama will almost certainly take none of the steps I've outlined above. Among other things, he sees Iran as an ally, a strategic partner. Even never Chamberlain never saw Hitler that way, and Chamberlain at least had a piece of paper with Hitler's signature on it. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry don't even have that much from Rouheni or the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Moreover, this president has downsized our military severely and forced skilled and battle hardened generals like David Petraeus, Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, formerly of Delta Force, Stanley A. McChrystal, Carter Ham, Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, and Marine General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis among others into early retirement. Just a casual look at these men's records will tell you how big a loss that is.

How ever it falls, we will eventually be forced to fight the War on Jihad. Whether we fight it at a time of our choosing or of our enemy's is an open question at this point. But there's no doubt in my mind that it's coming.

What I've presented here is how I see us winning it.


Anonymous said...

That, by the way, is one of the main reasons why taking out Saddam Hussein was such a dumb idea, and why old hands like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to talk George W. Bush out of it.

I think you mean George Bush Sr., not W. You link to your own post, which means you can't shoot the messenger this time (as wonderful as that would be).

And the point is irrelevant anyway. Cheney got us into this mess and Rumsfeld made it worse by doing the war on the cheap and refusing to give our troops body armor. What he said in 1991 is irrelevant to the stain he left on our country by lying us into a war. As Colin Powell said, "You break it, you bought it." Blame it on Obama all you want, there's no question how the history books are going to write this one down.

Rob said...

Oh My! ; )

Hello again Anonymous. Having a nice day, are we?

Lessee..first of all, if you do a little research, you might learn that President George HW Bush merely kicked Saddam out of Kuwait. It was his son, President George W. Bush who invaded and occupied Iraq.

President GHW Bush's decision was very much affected by Dick Cheney, his secretary of defense and former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld one of the president's advisers.

It helps to get these little details on which president did what right when you're going to post an insulting anonymous screed, you know.

Cheney even gave press conferences and interviews after Desert Storm explaining exactly why it was a bad idea to invade and occupy Iraq. Those are a matter of record.

Now, you are correct. I did link to one of my articles. But you should read it next time, instead of just wanting me to shoot myself. C'mon, you know by now I source everything except off the record stuff, which I always identify!

In the article, I quoted and linked to another article of mine that quoted an interview with General Mark Scheid
chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11, and one of the people with primary responsibility for war planning.

He told Left wing journalist Orin Kerr that Rumsfeld told him to plan for a punitive strike, not a long occupation.

There's also a link in the original piece I cited to an article by Jed Babbin, former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense who served during the first Bush administration with the same info.

Not only that, but both Scheid (a registered Dem and no Bush fan, btw)and Babbin confirm that it was Rumsfeld and Cheney that wanted a punitive strike to take out any presumed WMDs, while it was Clinton holdover George Tenet, head of the CIA (who also provided a lot of the faulty intel) and Sec State Colin Powell who were pushing for an invasion and occupation.

President GW Bush unfortunately decided to go with Powell and Tenet, after which he put Rumsfeld in charge of implementing it, even though Rumsfeld told the president the army wasn't properly prepared.

That's where Rumsfeld's famous quote came from, "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had." He could also have added 'especially when the president orders you to.'

You also ought to do a little research and see how many times Rumsfeld, a Navy vet, attempted to get better equipment for our troops in Iraq, including body armor and IED resistant HumVees.

As you mention, Colin Powell, of course, than distanced himself from his part in all this when it went wrong, leaving Rumsfeld and Cheney to take the blame from the always compliant Democrat slanted press. There's a word for that.

BTW, speaking of lies, you did know that Iraq actually did have that yellow cake uranium, didn't you? Even the Washington Post finally admitted that the 'Bush lied' nonsense was sheer BS.

(To be continued)

Rob said...

Part 2...

You did get another thing right. Many historians in academia are Left -bent and follow Franz Boas' deconstructionist doctrine of manipulating fact if it fits the political agenda. They will perform like the trained seals they are. whether that's intellectually honest is something else.

But I have a challenge for you, Anonymous. I spent a lot of time here responding politely to your fairly insulting comment, even breaking my usual rule about not letting people post deliberate disinformation.

Why not try and rise above your prejudices, just a bit? You obviously dislike my politics, and the feeling is likely mutual, but there's a lot of information here, if you open your head up to receive it. I can tell you personally that a different perspective, one you might not necessarily agree with can be a real source of education.

Instead of running off half cocked with comments like this, why not actually read the articles and think about what's being said? And then try and process it without the usual partisan blinkers?

I think if you tried it, you might find it liberating.


Anonymous said...

I think your dyslexia is getting the better of you. I quote again:

That, by the way, is one of the main reasons why taking out Saddam Hussein was such a dumb idea, and why old hands like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld tried to talk George W. Bush out of it.

They talked George's father out of it. He's HW, not W. As for W, they were very much in favor. I say this in my original post that you clearly didn't read.

And Cheney 1991 vs. Cheney 2002 is not in dispute as we have this thing called the Google and you can easily look up his quotes. Again, you meant HW, not W. I would say I'm not sure why you don't understand that, but I suspect that you're not sloppy, just under the misapprehension that saying something is true automatically makes it true. The irony here is that even Darth Cheney himself would want to correct you on this one.

Your Scheid link is broken, by the way. Though I suspect that you misread it, as usual. I'll to chalk it to up to to your to dyslexia as well.

You also ought to do a little research and see how many times Rumsfeld, a Navy vet, attempted to get better equipment for our troops in Iraq, including body armor and IED resistant HumVees.

Well, the burden of proof would be on you here. It would even make a good blog post. But you'll have a really hard time proving it without making up sources out of thin air that no one but you believe exists. It's well-known that ArmorWorks and AM General claimed that Rumsfeld never asked. They were also running well under capacity because Rumsfeld didn't care. And why would he? It wasn't him in those Humvees. Besides, all the true coin was going to Haliburton.

I'd be glad to open my mind up to new information, as you suggest. But you'll have to stop linking to yourself like some weird Mobius strip, find the spellcheck button, and get your facts straight. You'd be able to convince people if it weren't so easy to prove you wrong. Every time that you bring up something that does challenge my preconceived notions, it takes a simple web search to find out that you've got something completely backwards or your analysis is the product of severely wishful thinking. Thus high-minded comments about educating yourself only come across as humorous when coming from you.

I read your blog as a comedy site (same with Breitbart and The Dumbest Man on the Internet), but even the few areas where I side with the republicans seem less convincing when you present them. And the phrase 'shoot the messenger' is a metaphor, you know. I would explain how it's not meant to be taken literally, but it's clear that this is a phrase you will never fully comprehend.

Rob said...

I see my attempt to get you to try and act have a respectful conversation and lose the blinders was pretty much mistaken.

What I wrote and what you quoted was that Cheney and Rumsfeld tried to talk GW Bush out of invading Iraq.

What YOU wrote was 'I think you mean George Bush Sr., not W. You link to your own post, which means you can't shoot the messenger this time (as wonderful as that would be).'

You simply got a very basic detail wrong and now aren't man enough to own up to it.

As for Cheney changing his tune between 1991 and 2003, you have zero proof of that. The most that can be said is that Cheney and Rumsfeld were both for a limited pre-emptive strike, NOT an invasion.

That's exactly what General Scheid said. BTW, the Left Wing site that originally posted the interview has apparently taken it down, but here it is in the archives of the WAPO blog Volokh Conspiracy from 2006:

"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."

I also provided a link to Jed Babbin, who was in the Administration and said exactly the same thing, that Cheney and Rumsfeld were against it while Colin Powell and George Tenet were for it.You ignored it, just like you do all other inconvenient facts

As for AmGeneral and ArmorWorks, (no links to prove what you say, but I'll deal with it) you appear to be clueless to the fact that the SecDef does not sign contracts or make these kinds of orders unless the president OKs it.

Likewise the uranium, which did indeed come from Niger and was NOT 'registered' with the UN. Saddam hadn't allowed any UN inspections since he took power.Remember that?

I could also educate on what Halliburton did for the money they earned, something no other company was able or willing to do, but why bother? people like you are simply a waste of my valuable time.

I at least can say I made the attempt, but hey..you can't fix stupid.

You really can't.

FresnoJoe said...


"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." 1 Timothy 5:8

Israeli Jew said...

Excellent analysis. But you're right, Obama won't do anything like this.