ISIS

Will the US Need Troops on the Ground Against ISIS After All?

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Soldiers
Public Domain

In his speech announcing a stepped up campaign against ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State/the bloodthirsty loons running around in Iraq and Syria, President Obama reassured listeners that the United States' efforts' "will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil." That's a reassuring note for a public that, after more than a decade of war, has become remarkably less bellicose than its political figures. The war fatigue holds true even with increased nervousness over ISIS' gains; Americans favor action, but they prefer airstrikes over troops on the ground. But crowd-pleasing as restricting military action to death from the sky may be, national security experts don't see that as an especially effective strategy. In fact, several of them told the Washington Times that such a limited approach is doomed from the start.

Maybe the pithiest comment comes from Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst who served in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism under the first President Bush. "What a waste of time," Johnson told the Times. "We have not learned a thing in 80 years. [The Islamic State] is an army. The air power is not going to get the job done. Until you put troops in and kill these guys, they're going to continue. They adjust to tactics. They meld into [the] civilian population."

President Obama did say his plan incolved a commitment to "support Iraqi and Kurdish forces." But those would be the same Iraqi troops who abandoned bases and equipment in fear of approaching ISIS forces. The Kurds have a better record—but they're just about holding their own against ISIS with western support. Are they and whatever Syrian factions the U.S. favors with military assistance really going to "degrade and ultimately destroy," in Obama's words, a "terrorist group" that's looking increasingly like the army of a sandy competitor to North Korea for the title of shittiest country on Earth?

For that matter, does anybody remember former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld conceding in 2003 that officials underestimated the size of the job in Iraq at that time, even as we raised ground forces committed there to 150,000 troops?

That's not to say that the United States should commit to putting large numbers of combat troops in the Middle East. Again. But it does mean that American presidents probably should give more thought to the size of the checks they'll need to write to cover the promises they make.

NEXT: Obama's ISIS War Already Hits Home: DHS Tells Retailers to Spy on You

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  1. OT: I want my young sons to see me naked

    Flip the gender to a dad showing his daughters his naked body, and he will be seeing the inside of a jail cell for the rest of his life.

    1. Given that up until recently, parents and children shared the same rooms, I never got the big deal about nudity.

      1. I think there’s a difference between incidental nudity (completely normal) and “boys, come here! Mommy needs to show you something!” (indicative of psychological issues)

    2. This woman should just tell the truth?.

      She’s insecure and bitter about aging and the effects on her body by having four children.
      She’s also jealous of women who are younger and in better shape than her.
      She has convinced herself that men don’t like women like her and so she’ll manipulate the minds of her young sons to get the male validation she needs now and later.

  2. “We have not learned a thing in 80 years. [The Islamic State] is an army. The air power is not going to get the job done. Until you put troops in and kill these guys, they’re going to continue. They adjust to tactics. They meld into [the] civilian population.”

    Because ground troops have done so well killing all the bad guys in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Let me let you in on a little secret, Larry, you cannot win when you attempt to fight a limited war against an enemy willing to wage total war.

    The only way to win, is not to play.

    1. Can we try this? For once? Maybe if these idiots stop having an actual foreign army occupying their land to point to, they won’t look so good to potential recruits.

      1. They look good to recruits if they get to rape, loot and lord it over a subject population…. wait, am I describing ISIS or a US SWAT team…????

    2. The only way to win, is not to play.

      Or, to fight a total war.

      1. The us is not going to fight a total war.

    3. true, No military has ever won a war with air power alone. It has always required ground forces.

      The question now is do you want to win the war and destroy the Islamic state while they are relatively weak and in Iraq or do you want to wait and fight them on US soil when they infiltrate our country as they have already vowed to do?

      1. Because they are just a few short months away from having a viable Air Force, navy and ICBM inventory.

        Why would they want to invade us if thy didn’t have the reason if us continuing to occupy, bomb and drone strike their native lands?

    4. “Because ground troops have done so well killing all the bad guys in Iraq…”

      Well, yes. The surge worked very well. US ground troops in sufficient quantity were enough to cause the Sunni’s to switch sides in the “Anbar Awakening,” resulting in a resounding defeat for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

      Unfortunately, America’s isolationists, including the Democrats now screaming for air strikes, once again threw away a victory by pulling out all US troops, instead of leaving just enough to keep Iraq sorted out – about 10,000. Dumb.

      Isolationists, and this includes most Libertarians, just don’t understand that war comes to you, and sometimes you have to go out and fight it instead of hiding behind our terribly porous borders.

      1. Why did we need to go into Iraq the first time? WMDs? Saddam working with Al Queda? They hate us for our freedoms?

        I’m a isolationist because I don’t want to have my money spent fighting people have a planet away ON THEIR SOIL when they are not a threat to me?

        How about you deploy without my money.

  3. Somebody will have to deploy ground troops to defeat ISIS. I can’t be done from the air alone.

    Francisco d’Anconia makes a very good point: Let me let you in on a little secret, Larry, you cannot win when you attempt to fight a limited war against an enemy willing to wage total war.

  4. Who the fuck is left in Syria for us to support? The Iraq part is merely stupid; the Syria part of this mission is risible.

    1. I hear there’s some sand in the northwest that’s still pro-USA

  5. Say what you will about Vietnam, but the music was much better.

    1. CCRImagine Dragons

      1. CCR Greater than Sign Imagine Dragons. Fucking squirrels.

        1. Talk about a low bar.

          1. Yeah, I listened to music radio on the way to work this morning because the sports station wouldn’t shut up about Ray Rice, and two of the three songs were Imagine Dragons, so it was the first modern band that came to mind.

    2. The US won the war in Vietnam. The left then lost the peace.

      In 1973, North Vietnam (which was the only actual opponent) surrendered, leaving a quite peaceful South Vietnam.

      Then the congress, in violation of our agreements with South Vietnam, pulled almost all US support and *all* US combat power (which by that time was just air power). Naturally, without promised air support, and without promised arms and ammunition shipments, the South finally lost when the North launched a massive armored invasion (more tanks than Patton ever commanded).

      1. So the North surrendered and then a few months later had a column of armor that Patton would have drooled over?

        How many US sailors died in Gulf of Tonkin “incident” again?

  6. You go in, kill everything and leave. Next time, you go in, kill everything and leave.

    It sucks, but the question is whether “not to play” will do anything but leave our collective ass open to someone who isn’t so liberal or enlightened.

    Personally, I think it’s better to be the badass and suffer the hate, than be bitches and kick the eventual ass-reaming down the road. But that’s just me.

    The idea that we can ignore maniacs and they’ll just leave us alone is truly delusional. I appreciate the foolishness of our history, but the issue is how to deal with the present dog’s breakfast we have inherited. The way it will happen is that our government will become even more politically correct, do nothing, and in time radical jihadism will grow like weeds in this country (see Europe) and the disaffected people who are unemployed, and stuck in the dregs of a collapsing economy will join up and the country will go down in literal flames.

    But, hey, NAP! That’ll solve it. It’s good for a free society and a great way to economic prosperity, but a shitty foreign policy mantra.

    1. No one, including the President, believes ISIS poses an immediate threat to the US. The best they can say is that they *might* become a threat in the future. They killed two American reporters. They may get into a position where they might threaten American “advisors” and so forth currently in the area–which we’re apparently going to solve by sending MORE “advisors”.

      If adequate justification for military action was the presence of a bunch of barbaric assholes who don’t like the US rattling sabres, well, we could easily make the argument to send troops into a lot of Africa, North Korea, Mexico, Central and South America.

      Responsible and successful foreign policies are built around the considerations of resources and capabilities, not PR stunts and public opinion polls. Your faulty comprehension of the NAP notwithstanding, the unwillingness to become even more deeply involved in what is essentially a regional civil war because the people we’re CURRENTLY BOMBING are threatening to retaliate is not some sort of Pollyanna-esque peaceniking.

      But, hey, if you think every camel jockey with a stolen American AA gun is a future Hitler, then by all means please enlist.

      1. ISIS does in fact pose a threat. It doesn’t pose an existential threat, but left alone, it will launch brutal terrorist attacks. If you happen to be in the shopping center that they take over, it will be existential to you – they will kill you after they torture you, as demonstrated by Al Shabab at Westgate Mall.

        1. “… It will launch a brutal terrorist attacks.”

          Citation missing.

    2. leave our collective ass open?

      the eventual ass-reaming down the road?

      What are you talking about? Do you really think terrorists are going to take over the US? If they wanted to, they could kill a few hundred (at the most) people at a pop. More people die in accidents every day, hell probably every hour.

      And let me let you in on a little secret. If they want to do it, you can’t stop them. I can dream up a hundred different ways to kill a bunch of people. And when we spend a trillion bucks defending against the first, they’ll move to the second.

      Look at 911. 3000 people died. So what did we do? We spent a $1T, got 4500 MORE OF OUR OWN PEOPLE KILLED, killed tens of thousands of others and it didn’t stop terrorism. Why? Because we used the wrong tool for the job. You can’t stop terrorism with guns and bombs. They simply hide, wait you out and return when you leave. And you dropping bombs on them for 10 years only serves to swell their ranks. This has been the failed policy for 13 years and you want to triple down?

      The only way to defeat terrorism is to do a root cause analysis, identify the reasons for the hostility and eliminate it. That root cause is that we, as a nation interfere in their affairs and they resent it (as we would if the roles were reversed). We no longer have ANY national interest in the region. Get out. If you’re right and they come for us, then we kill them in self defense.

      1. GregMax is a not-very-closeted homo. He is titillated by the thought of ass-reaming, but terrified that his dad will beat him more if he finds out about these feelings.

        1. OOH! At the moment I have a butt-plug firmly wedge up my backside. You must have some kind of radar. Oh, and my dad put it there!

      2. That root cause is that we, as a nation interfere in their affairs and they resent it

        That is a gross oversimplification of just one of the causes. The truth is such a compounded mess that we don’t have a real clue as to the root cause.

        Other factors- Islam is not a religion of peace; poverty breeds discontent; “the West” is the boogie man; The British drew lines in the wrong places; Western culture is ubiquitous, and a threat to fundamentalism; We do have national interests in the region; etc.

        I’m in total agreement that we should not have troops there.I’m OK, ala RP, with providing air assets to support legitimate local government efforts to defeat ISIS incursions.

        1. Other factors- Islam is not a religion of peace; poverty breeds discontent; “the West” is the boogie man; The British drew lines in the wrong places; Western culture is ubiquitous, and a threat to fundamentalism; We do have national interests in the region; etc.

          I don’t disagree with any of that Bdh. But the problem, for us, can be solved, quite simply, by removing ourselves from it and vowing never to get involved unless attacked. Making it known that if attacked we’re gonna hurt you. And not gentle like before… but bad.

        2. Bob =

          You’re right about the ‘gross oversimplification’ of “we, as a nation interfere in their affairs and they resent it”

          The assumption is that the current conditions are a PRODUCT of our behavior, and therefore our behavior is the “Root issue” at play.

          (assuming there IS a ‘root issue’, and not actually a far more diverse combination of things at work)

          …that its something that is completely stemming from *our own decision-making*; and therefore something we can ‘undo’ or ameliorate by ‘stopping whatever we’re doing’ or ‘doing the opposite’… and then, some imagined ‘balance’ will then ensue.

          This last idea, that:

          “if only we had a different posture, this problem would not exist/go away/co-exist in harmony”

          is quite a feat of magical thinking. If there’s a ‘status quo’ which could be achieved by simple diplomacy…

          e.g. *”Take Syria and Northern Iraq! Leave the oil-fields and Israel alone, and we’ll all be Simpatico!”

          …i’d be interested in hearing what people think that is.

          I personally do not believe that “Militant Islam”‘s objectives are limited to ‘peaceful co-existence’. other people may disagree, but they don’t see to say so outright.

          1. Tell me G, if we were to walk away from the ME tomorrow, how are the national interests of the US negatively impacted?

            We no longer need ME oil.

            1. the rest of the world does.

              And we don’t want to see Iran and the Sunni Arab states go to blows like the 1980s.

              Also, Israel

              Should i go on?

              You may say, “well we shouldn’t have gotten into this situtation”. I agree. Doesn’t change the facts.

              1. the rest of the world does.

                Perhaps the rest of the world needs to resolve their own issues.

                And we don’t want to see Iran and the Sunni Arab states go to blows like the 1980s.

                Why would we care if they do? We don’t need their oil. If they are killing each other they aren’t flying airplanes into buildings.

                Also, Israel

                Why do I give one hairy rat’s ass about Israel? (see the rest of the world above)

                Should i go on?

                You’re gonna need to if you want to answer the original question, because you haven’t yet.

                1. You’re suggesting

                  “national interests of the US aren’t impacted by the prospect for a regional war in the middle east”

                  and you’d rather have some bullshit semantic debate about what is “ours” versus “The US fighting on behalf of global stability”

                  The comment that prompted your question was pointing out that there is a presumed potential “stasis/equilibrium’ lurking if only we “do nothing”

                  I’m pointing out that there is Not. You are deflecting this.

                  1. In addition =

                    pointing out that your critique is full of holes, and that your arguments make enormous presumptions, is by no means a case for ‘whatever we’re doing now’, necessarily.

                    its just (again) pointing out that “non-intervention” is a cartoonish, vastly oversimplifed way to talk about foreign policy…at all.

                    I was opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq mostly because of the current scenario we see, FWIW.

                    So were brent scocroft, powell, and others. And not because “non-interventionism”. But because they understood that upsetting the status quo would result in a sunni-shia cold/hot war that could last a century.

                    Scowcroft opposed invasion; he also *opposed leaving precipitously* for the same reasons.

                    The ‘intervention’/’non-intervention’ thing is a false dichotomy that has little utility in international affairs.

                  2. “national interests of the US aren’t impacted by the prospect for a regional war in the middle east”

                    How would it? They buy little from us, we don’t need anything they’ve got. The rest of the world will come to us for our oil and NG. Hell, we profit by instability in the ME, so long as we aren’t in the middle of it.

                    How is that global stability working out? We spend trillions to obtain the same result. Better to deal with consequences after they arise (if they arise) than attempt to shape them. We are looking at the proof that it doesn’t work. We’ve been at war for the last 13 years. Is anything better? What’s the saying about insanity?

                    What does equilibrium have to do with anything? I don’t give a flying fuck if the ME burns itself to the ground. It doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect my country. It used to, back when they had all the oil…but that’s not the case anymore. There is NO legitimate reason to be there.

                    1. If you believe*

                      … the reason the US has the largest military in the world (and the US 5th Fleet, in particular) is to protect the security of the world’s energy resources and prevent major global instability*…

                      *(and even if you DONT believe it)

                      …then “tamping down a small Sunni civil insurrection” in order to head off a far larger Iran/Arab regional conflict is a “legitimate reason”.

                      I don’t really care what your Moral POV is. Its not really relevant. I’m just pointing out that the entire raison d’etre of the “US as world-police” was built entirely around this very scenario, among others… (*China invading Taiwan, etc)

                      You can argue, fairly: ‘we shouldn’t be in this position’. Fine. I already agree. That’s not the point.

                      If your argument is,

                      “The best thing to do is completely disengage and let whatever happens, happen”, because in the end that will produce “the best outcome”…

                      …I’d say you are being hopelessly naive, and irresponsible. But then, that’s your prerogative.

                    2. Irresponsible to whom? I am not my brother’s keeper, nor is my country. To whom do we owe this selfless act of being the world’s cop on our own dime?

                    3. Ask the Cold War

                      Don’t look at me, man. it wasn’t my idea.

                      I’m just saying = your argument is wonderfully cute… assuming ‘nothing else matters’. Let the ME blow up in a ball of fire and economic instability reign! BRING IT ALL DOWN!! Moral Superiority FTW!!

                      I’d prefer it were not the case. I’d prefer the Cold War never happened. My preferences don’t really mean fuck-all.

                      But back to my original point which you ignored:

                      Say we DONT care about the region. Say we want to completely disengage. We approch ISIS and say, “You can have whatever you want! Go for it. we’re Audi. Peace!”

                      Do you think this leads to inevitable ‘better relations’ with Militant Islam for the West?

                      i.e. would a persistent policy of non-intervention ultimately lead to ‘greater peace’?, necessarily?

                      or is the case just, ‘well, it might‘… or might not.’

                      and ‘the more important thing is *non-intervention*, regardless of outcomes?

                      because I’ve seen that point made here many times. In the end, its not about ‘outcomes’ = its about Ideology.

                    4. i.e. would a persistent policy of non-intervention ultimately lead to ‘greater peace’?, necessarily?

                      or is the case just, ‘well, it might’… or might not.’

                      I believe it will.

                      And since the current policy of intervention isn’t working, how could it be worse? I’m not talking about disarming. If you are attacked, you can always retaliate.

                      Why don’t the terrorists attack Norway or Sweden or Japan or Chile? If you aren’t standing there everyday, making demands and poking your finger in Someone’s chest, they will forget you even exist.

                      WWII lasted 4 years and ended decisively. This shit has been going on for 13 years, with no end in sight. Which war would you rather fight?

                    5. There is a legit argument that the sunni-shia conflict needs to happen and establish its own ‘new’ equilibrium. anything we do preventing that taking its natural course is delaying the inevitable and is fruitless.

                      I’m open to that case. in fact, that’s mostly my current POV.

                      There’s the question about the Kurds: given that No One in the region – iran, Iraqi sunni or shia, Syrians, Turks, etc.- wants to see an Independent Kurdistan… and that the Kurds are going to – by default – declare independence by necessity in order to justify their own self-defense… (as well as attempt to appeal to potential allies)…

                      are you willing to throw them under the bus? because sticking our noses in that mess is basically going to get us tied into the conflict regardless. And that includes simply providing them ‘assistance’.

                      so the point here is: any help of the kurds basically makes us a player in the region and a problem to the others.

                      You still prefer “total disengagement”?

                    6. are you willing to throw them under the bus?

                      Absolutely.

                      When we were flying Northern Watch out of Turkey to stop Saddam from bombing the Kurds, the Turks were taking off from parallel runways to go bomb the Kurds. The kurds need to do what’s best for the Kurds. If they want to declare independence, then they best be prepared for a war with Turkey.

                      Yes, we caused this mess by interfering. We fixed it the best we could and left. It’s not our problem any more. We haven’t learned our lesson the first time and we’re going to go back and double-down?

                      But, I’m sure this time, we won’t cause any additional problems to fix down the road.

                      *rolls eyes*

                      G, this country cannot maintain a war footing forever. It’s not possible from a military or economic standpoint and the people will not support it.

                    7. “NOTHING CAN BE DONE!”
                      (washes hands)

                      While you’re handing the kurds over for genocide, do you propose scuttling the 5th fleet as well? Since the mere presence is an ‘affront’ to the security of all the nations in the region, as you well know.

                      until you’ve un-intertwined US security issues from every region of the earth, this is going to be something of a repeat-complaint for you, as far as it goes.

                    8. a. We already left. The Kurds have been on their own for 3 years. Not going back is NOT throwing them under the bus.

                      b. I’m not a pacifist and I believe strongly in the adage of “speak softly and carry a big stick”. I believe our military must be offensive in nature as well as defensive. If attacked, you need to counter-attack to neutralize the threat. That said, if we adopted a non-interventionist foreign policy, we could get away with a military half the current size.

                      c. Your right. I don’t believe in ANY ongoing military alliances. I’m not willing to go to war unless my security is threatened. As far as alliances go, you don’t make war with those you are economically entangled with. Trade with everyone. You want peace? Engage in mutually beneficial free trade.

            2. However, we do need to not be nuked by the crazies in Iran. They *will* soon have nuclear weapons and the capability to put them in low earth orbit. If they were to do so, they could launch and HEMP attack (High altitude electromagnetic pulse) that would kill up to 90% of our population. I doubt that we would find much solace, after such event, that we also killed 90% of them.

              1. Yeah, but even then we shouldn’t attack them. Because we, you know, might kill too many civilians. And we will just encourage more muslims to become terrorists. And it was our fault anyway, in the first place, right?

          2. You don’t seem to realize that the US, in the early ’80s, under Carter, advised by Brzezinski, more or less *created* militant Islam as a way of “giving the Russians their own Vietnam” and has pursued the policy of arming and training Islamic militias ever since.

        3. Is neoliberalism a religion of peace?

      3. You may be right. I agree with a lot of your argument but come to a different conclusion. Simply not interfering is not gonna keep people with an aggressive bent away from us. And, they won’t be driving up in tanks to the Canadian or Mexican border. The mess is the mess and if all you’re suggesting is not to interfere, I doubt that will change anything. Aggressive people don’t need historic abuse to be aggressive. They just need to find passive citizens and be willing to do more damage to them. And we’re a great motivational boogieman regardless of changing policy to not interfere. In my opinion, we can look like we’ll fight or look like we won’t.
        Unfortunately we are far away from establishing national economic policies that will avoid a declining society which is also a root cause in my analysis.
        But, fortunately nobody is seeking my advice.

        1. If interference and non interference get you the same result (as it hasn’t helped to date), why not NOT spend the money (and chew up our people and equipment) until after we’re attacked?

        2. They love killing each other. Let them.

          When you get in their way, they get mad and attack you.

          “I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers”

          Give them no reason to attack you and they will attack each other. They are a braying mule. Leave them alone.

          Haditha Iraq 2007-2008. Ooh-frickin-Rah.

    3. Personally, I think it’s better to be the badass and suffer the hate, than be bitches and kick the eventual ass-reaming down the road. But that’s just me.

      Personally, I think it’s better to articulate a legitimate point and answer objections as they arise, than to pose a bullshit false choice and try to appeal to other small-dicked cowards.

      1. Dick size inversely proportional to brain down by yall?

    4. Quite the mischaracterization of a pragmatic view of libertarian foreign policy. Nobody claims that

      we can ignore maniacs and they’ll just leave us alone

      Rather that if we ignore the maniacs there’s a chance they’ll leave us alone. As soon as we’ve engaged them, the chance of them leaving us alone drops to zero. History has also definitively shown that our happy go lucky attempts to “be the badass” have not discouraged these groups from continuing along in their merry way every decade or so. If we they’re going to end up killing americans every 10 years or so anyway (much less likely if we don’t have a perpetual military occupation in the region) , why are we taking the fight to them and providing them with moral cover with the locals for their next hate fueled war binge?
      Next, the affected region has become so used to our brainless interventionism that they refuse to lift a finger in defense of their own region. If nearby countries aren’t concerned about the deluded machinations of a bunch of sad sack extremists in the desert, why do we care so much?
      And then there’s Africa – where gangs of murderers just as brutal as ISIL wander about unopposed, forming their own governments, etc. Why don’t we care about them? Too brown? No opportunities to denigrate someone’s faith? Not enough oil?

      1. Not enough oil.

    5. But, hey, NAP! That’ll solve it. It’s good for a free society and a great way to economic prosperity, but a shitty foreign policy mantra

      Well lets turn to the scientific method here. On the one hand we have your hypothesis, which has been tried repeatedly for the whole of human history and guess what? this crap is still happening. On the other hand, you have ours, which has never been tried. If I’m a climatologist, maybe I’ll chew over my vast numbers of failed models and assume I must be right. If I’m a real scientist, though, I try out a new hypothesis and see how that works out before I ridicule it out of existence

      1. What “crap” are you referring to? What hypothesis? Your statement is so general that it could refer to literally anything.

        Well lets turn to the scientific method here. On the one hand we have [capitalism], which has been tried repeatedly for the whole of human history and guess what? this crap is still happening.

        1. What “crap” are you referring to? What hypothesis?

          Perhaps the “crap” of thinking you can force people to your will?

        2. As far as analogies go, that’s not the best. Intervention is a broad category, but one cannot argue that intervening for intervention’s sake hasn’t been tried. On the other hand, there have been few if any places or times where the molestation of property and trade is widely abjured.

        3. The comment was a continuation of my first comment, as I crossed the 1500 character threshold…

          By “this crap is still happening” I mean that armed conflict in these trouble zones continues to occur, despite our best efforts to eradicate them through armed conflict (go figure)

          by hypothesis, I was referring to his hypothesis of the NAP making “Shitty foreign policy”

    6. If you, personally, want to fight them (presumably on behalf and with the approval of those they are fighting, go ahead. However, to force others to support that fighting is where the problem lies.

      The problem is that the US government takes these actions and claims to represent those who would rather let the locals work it out among themselves.

  7. Missions gonna creep, yo.

    1. “Mission Creep”

      When we were here before
      A lot of us died
      The land of the angels
      The loss makes me cry
      You founder, in trouble
      In a dangerous world
      And we are so special
      We’re so fucking special

      But our missions creep
      Limited warfare?
      What the hell are we doing here?
      We don’t belong here

      We don’t care if it hurts
      We want to have control
      We want a perfect nation
      We want a perfect world
      We want you to notice when we’re not around
      We’re so fucking special
      We need to be special

      But our missions creep
      Kinetic action
      What the hell are we doing here?
      We don’t belong here

      She’s running out the door
      She’s running out
      She runs runs runs runs..
      Falls…

      Whatever we can help with
      Whether or not you want
      We’re so fucking special
      We need to be special

      But our missions creep
      Defeating Evil
      What the hell are we doing here?
      We don’t belong here
      We don’t belong here

  8. We all know the script here.

    1) Our campaign to destroy ISIS’ military capability will be limited to airstrikes. No boots on the ground!

    2) We are deploying a limited number of military advisers to provide training and logistical support for the rebels.

    3) We are increasing our troop presence to provide security to US bases and key infrastructure.

    4) ISIS attacks on US positions necessitate limited field maneuvers in order to prevent future attacks.

    5) The rising ISIS activity in Province X requires a commitment of additional American ground forces and air support.

    6) We have committed a surge of US troops to help retake the City of Y that ISIS forces captured this weekend.

    7) Additional security forces are needed in order to maintain the fragile and hard-won peace in the region.

    8) Our forces must remain in the region in order to train and support the new Iraqi/Syrian national police and military troops.

    9) Defections and attacks from within national forces require a sustained US presence until a legitimate coalition government is formed.

    10) We have established a firm timetable for withdrawal from the area, contingent upon President al Puppet.

    11) Increases in insurgent activity in the area of local and regional powers, the US cannot continue to police the world.

    12) This latest attack against American citizens in the region will not be tolerated! We will destroy this new terrorist threat with a campaign of limited airstrikes. No boots on the ground!

    etc.

    1. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

      1. Almost like we’ve seen this before.

    2. Alternatively, from a conspiratorial viewpoint (which I do not endorse):

      A. Iraq/Syria situation getting out of hand in parallel with Ukrainian troubles

      B. Ebola outbreak in Africa!(where’d it come from?)

      C. Ebola spreading! (Who can stop it?)

      D. Weird respiratory virus spreads among US children (who let that self-spreading Ebola vaccine out into the wild here?)

      E. Ebola leaps to Iraq/Syria/greater mideast/Baltic

      F. …

      Of course that’s a fever dream of conspiratorial thinking, which, again, I do not endorse. I.just enjoy making up crazy stories to amuse myself and others.

      1. There was some modeling done of “What happens if Ebola gets to Mecca during the Hajj?”

        Because the timing was actually not too far off, this year.

        It turns out getting a bunch of barbarians very closely packed in one place for a short period before sending them back to their primitive societies is pretty much the perfect way to turn a nasty local epidemic into a massive global pandemic.

        1. Are you talking about the Superbowl?

    3. Note that we’re already at step 3.

      1. We are at step 4.

    4. 9a) We meet in Paris with the enemy and argue whether the table should be round, oval, or rectangular.

    5. Somewhere in there could be a step about going to war over two dead journalists. One of which protested against the very action. The other was sold by moderate freedom fighters to the radicals that ultimately beheaded him.

  9. “But crowd-pleasing as restricting military action to death from the sky may be, national security experts don’t see that as an especially effective strategy.”

    It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

    If you’re trying to accomplish a quagmire, putting troops on the ground is absolutely essential.

    You know why it was so easy to leave Libya behind?

    Because we didn’t have any troops on the ground.

    There are a number of reasons for this. One of them is that once an American soldier dies, it becomes extremely difficult for any subsequent President to accept anything other than perfect victory as a precondition for pulling out.

    No one wants to be the kind of President who let American troops die for nothing. That’s probably the worst kind of President you could possibly be. Even Nixon wanted to give it one last go before Congress quietly cut off his funding.

    Obama is wise to be reluctant to put boots on the ground; I just hope he’s wise enough to keep them away.

    1. No troops needed,just bomb them to Be Jesus & let the Iraqis mop up the rest.

    2. “You know why it was so easy to leave Libya behind?” Yeah. Because the people who make the choices don’t give a shit about the consequences of theuir actions.

  10. They’re just ISIS. Call them ISIS. They’ve lost the privilege of rebranding themselves.

    1. They called this the “Prince” effect

  11. Of course ground troops would be needed to defeat ISIS, unless we just nuke the whole place.

    What I don’t see any of the media talking about is “what then?”. Supposing we defeat ISIS, we’ve just gotten ourselves back in the middle of an intractable mess. There’s no fixing the Middle East. Not now, not 100 years from now.

    1. Whose troops, though?

      We’re talking about Iranian troops, Syrian troops, Hezbollah?

      I’m okay with that! …given the circumstances we’re in.

      I mean, that was always the risk of taking out Saddam Hussein anyway. But if under the circumstances, the best we can do is own up to our enemies’ sphere of influence being what it is, then we should do the best we can do.

      I suspect the American people are still yet to fully realize that what we effectively did in the Iraq War was to hand that part of the world over to Iran’s influence, but…they’re gonna have to wake up sooner or later anyway.

      Of course, once they figure that out, they may also realize that this war we’re fighting against ISIS is a war that Iran and Assad would have to fight without us–and I’d hate to be the president who ordered us in when Americans wake up to that fact.

      …but, hey, in the long run, we’re all dead anyway, right?

    2. No troops needed,just bomb them to Be Jesus & let the Iraqis mop up the rest.

  12. Just end their status as a state, and let someone else take over who doesn’t have a policy of beheading every American they get their hands on. No, it doesn’t have to be someone with clean hands or even someone who we put in power; it just needs to be someone who won’t go out killing Americans as a matter of state policy.

    No, this will not end all terrorism ever or achieve any utopian goal.

    Yes, it is justified and will have the effect of insulating the Mideast from having states whose explicit goal is the killing of American, and who invest the resources of a state to accomplishing this.

    1. Just end their status as a state,

      Yeah, its making that happen that requires ground troops (from somewhere).

      1. Agreed.

      2. No troops needed,just bomb them to Be Jesus & let the Iraqis mop up the rest.

      3. No troops needed,just bomb them to Be Jesus & let the Iraqis mop up the rest.

        1. Is twice stupid twice as stupid?

    2. These people (even before ISIS came) really didn’t have a state. There is no system to put anyone in charge of.

      It’s sort of like the political maps we’d see in grade school of colonial America. This part is the English colonies, that part belongs to the French, and that area down there is the Spanish.

      …and then there was this big blank area.

      You’ll see the same thing in maps of the Roman Empire. This part is Roman, that part is the Parthians, and the rest of it blank.

      On a political map, all those blank parts? Those aren’t uninhabited. There’s just no one politically recognizable state in control of that area.

      Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the nation of Colombia the world recognized had political control of some of the large cities and, most importantly, the capital. But outside of those areas, it didn’t matter what the government said or what the government wanted. Those areas were actually run by all sorts of different groups.

      I think the area that’s under ISIS control was like that–even before ISIS asserted itself.

      1. They are establishing a bank, an army, a system of taxation, formalizing some of their rules over their governed territory, etc. The idea that they have no interest in a state or are essentially at an aboriginal/tribal level of development is ludicrous.

        1. Good for them. Kinda like us in 1776, huh?

          1. Yeah, and we eventually descended into a bloody civil war over questions that first came up during the revolution.

            1. Don’t follow.

              Why would we care if they have a civil war 100 years after their revolution?

              1. That’s my point.

                We weren’t exactly genocidal (unless you were a slave of African ancestry or a Native American, anyway), like some might say ISIS is, but if they can avoid a bloody civil war like we did, they’ll actually be doing better than we did in some ways.

                1. The loyalists who fled to Canada or back to England to avoid being murdered might not agree with that version of history.

        2. The idea that they have no interest in a state or are essentially at an aboriginal/tribal level of development is ludicrous.

          If true, then isn’t it also true that they are going to become progressively more preoccupied with governance than terrorism? Not that they won’t commit acts of terrorism or sponsor others to do so, but if they’re trying to form a government in such an unstable region, they’re going to face the same hurdles everyone else has. It’s my understanding that they’ve been able to gloss over the laws of economics with infusions of funds from foreign backers, but aren’t those drying up?

          1. That’s what I expect to happen in places like Libya.

            It’s easy to be a terrorist when you have no power and no responsibility for leading.

            Once you’re in charge, guess what? You’re responsible.

        3. “Just end their status as a state, and let someone else take over who doesn’t have a policy of beheading every American they get their hands on.”

          What I’m saying is that there wasn’t anything like that prior to ISIS that enjoyed what we think of as legitimacy.

          And this is what I mean by “legitimacy”.

          http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimacy_(political)

          If those things you’re talking about existed with any kind of legitimacy before ISIS created them, I’d be surprised. No doubt, people there had some sort of systems they came up with themselves, but I doubt the government in Baghdad had anything to do with it.

          Especially in Sunni areas, the democratically elected government we recognize in Iraq probably enjoys/enjoyed very little legitimacy in Sunni areas.

          What authority was already there or that ISIS has created? Would probably lose whatever legitimacy it had as soon as we took it over to install someone else.

          1. It’s important to remember, too, that legitimacy stemming from popular elections is kind of an American thing. Not everybody automatically jumps on that train. Hell, I’m American, and even I don’t give much legitimacy to politicians just for winning a popularity contest.

            Barack Obama thinks he can make my choices for me–why? Because he won a popularity contest?!

            I say fuck Barack Obama AND the people who voted for him!

            Now imagine how would you feel about American foreigners invading your territory and inflicting some new popularly elected ruler on you. …These Sunnis lost a tremendous amount of power becasue of the democracy America introduced at the point of a gun. Why would us installing some new democratically elected leader improve that situation?

            We already tried that.

            They responded with IEDs.

    3. So we need to put boots on the ground because they murdered two journalists? Are you kidding?

      You do know why they hate us, right? It is beast ewe keep bombing ten and invading them and putting hard line dictators in place to control them.

      How about you deploy using your own money and under your own flag.

    4. In fact, the resources are from American taxpayers’ pockets.

  13. If you like your troops, you can keep your troops. Pinky swear!

  14. Considering that we’ve basically been relying on air strikes (drones) against Al-Quaeda in northern Pakistan, and we still haven’t “destroyed” them (although you could say we’ve “degraded” them) I don’t hold out much hope for success here either.

    The only difference is the training of Iraqi and Kurdish fighters, but I seriously doubt that will make much difference.

    1. I’m against any involvement, but the topography of Northern Pakistan is a bit different than the wide open sandbox of Iraq/Syria.

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  17. Oh look, another invasion of the Middle East…surely THIS TIME it will work out.

    1. From Brazil :
      T.V. Interviewer: Is the government winning the battle against terrorists?
      Mr. Helpmann: Ah, yes. We’re fielding all their strokes, running all of them out. We’re consistently knocking them for six. I’d say they’re nearly out of the game.
      T.V. Interviewer: But, Mr. Helpmann, the bombing campaign is now in its 13th year.
      Mr. Helpmann: Beginners’ luck.

  18. He’ll just sign an XO making Iraq and Syria the 51st, and 52nd, States….
    Problem Solved.

  19. No troops needed,just bomb them to Be Jesus & let the Iraqis mop up the rest.

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  21. Franklin Roosevelt assured the parents of America in October 1940 that “your boys are not going to be sent into foreign wars”; at the time he knew that American involvement in World War II was inevitable, even imminent, but he chose not to be frank with the people for fear of losing the 1940 election.

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