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  1. #1
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    What strategy for ISIS?

    What type of strategy do you think Obama and world leaders should consider regarding this very radical Islamic group (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- ISIS) that al Qaeda kicked out of their franchise.

    Obama Says ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet’ for Fighting ISIS
    http://time.com/3211132/isis-iraq-sy...bama-strategy/

    I don’t want to put the cart before the horse"

    President Barack Obama seemed to commit the worst of Washington gaffes Thursday when he updated the American people about the ongoing threat from Islamist militants wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

    “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse: we don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said of the effort to combat the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in its safe haven in Syria. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are......”

    Obama suggested that once he has a strategy for tackling ISIS, he would seek authorization from Congress, particularly since it may require additional funding. “It is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people,” he said.

    “This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to [Shi‘ite], to everybody, that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people,” Obama said. “And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together — even if we have differences on a range of political issues — to make sure that they’re rooted out.”




    http://video.latino.foxnews.com/v/37...eat-from-isis/




    The rising wealth and power of ISIS
    NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann and Brookings Institute’s Michael O’Hanlon join to discuss the barbarism, wealth and growing power of ISIS.
    http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/...s-323480131776
    Last edited by eye4magic; August 29th, 2014 at 11:32 PM.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Side Note: Got to remark when being honest is considered the worst kind of Gaffe. Of course people will mock you for not having all the answers to a problem like this right away, but I personally think its honest to say its taking time to formulate a real strategy and comprehensive plan of action.

    But what should we do?
    Tough question that... need to mull it over.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Amazing. When Obama has a plan, it gets attacked for not consulting Congress. And when he does, not only is that consultation totally ignored by the right-wing media, and people who like to quote right wing media, the quote is placed entirely out of context!

    Here is the quote, in context, from the transcript:


    QUESTION: Do you need Congress's approval to go into Syria?

    OBAMA: You know, I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as commander in chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress, and I do think that it'll be important for Congress to weigh in and we're -- that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate.

    But I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet. I think what I've seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we're at than we currently are. And I think that's not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military, as well. We need to make sure that we've got clear plans, that we're developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard.

    But there's no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.

    So note that he is answering a very specific question (not mentioned in your quote). Secondly, in addressing the question, it is not only Obama that "doesn't have a strategy yet" but the military, whose job it is to formulate such strategies, doesn't yet either. And then there is still Congress to go to after that.

    This is another perfect example of expecting Obama, a superhero, an amazing general with military experience, that can react more quickly than any other human who has spent their life in war; yet at the same time condemning him for not doing so!

    As to what to do:

    1.Recognize that the beheading of a figure in an orange jumpsuit is a direct message to the USA for what they've done.
    2.Further recognize that water boarding is now apparently back in play as a legitimate tool.

    Both these items means that this is no longer a war in a traditional sense - the Geneva Convention clearly does not count; and nor could we morally even justify them to do so in the case of water boarding. That changes the calculus of sending troops into the field since when they are, ISIS will have no compunction to water board and decapitate any detainees in a very public way.

    We also know that people from the West, including the USA & UK, are joining the fight in the Middle East. What is to stop them from fighting the war here instead? Also, according to our right-wing friends, ISIS are also coming through the colander known as the southern border with Mexico, so we are being attacked from within as well as without.

    Both of these would likely reduce are freedoms more as we are spied on in more detail. So in that sense, we, as civilians, have already lost the war, with the government likely justified to tighten things up even more.

    What to do? I think we have a highly motivated, religiously and morally motivated enemy, attacking us in highly distributed war on multiple fronts: geographical, including within our borders, as well as in the sphere of public opinion via their effective use of internet media outlets.

    The first thing to do is to ensure that we as a country, and a government, are united in our response. This kind of post as well as the right-wing undermining of not only our own President but of our military whilst being complicit in the lack of an immediate response needs fixing. Let's agree to do that first.

  4. #4
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    The first thing to do is to ensure that we as a country, and a government, are united in our response.
    Ok, so your strategy would include that we, Americans, are united in our response. Unity it always a good idea and ideal -- not always achievable but worth striving for.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Ok, so your strategy would include that we, Americans, are united in our response. Unity it always a good idea and ideal -- not always achievable but worth striving for.
    I think one good first step is accurate reporting of facts rather than political spin. That we can all achieve! This is the second post in a couple of weeks attempting to undermine our leadership in to score minor political points; but all it does is to give ammunition to our enemies and reveals some our weaknesses.

  6. #6
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I think one good first step is accurate reporting of facts rather than political spin. That we can all achieve! This is the second post in a couple of weeks attempting to undermine our leadership in to score minor political points; but all it does is to give ammunition to our enemies and reveals some our weaknesses.
    The purpose of this thread is to get people's ideas about strategy with regards to ISIS, since apparently we (American government) don't have one.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    The purpose of this thread is to get people's ideas about strategy with regards to ISIS, since apparently we (American government) don't have one.
    I'd be surprised if we didn't really have a strategy in place - I suspect that Obama wants to make sure that Congress is on board rather than attacking him on every point as they have been doing on every crisis on the world stage. I think the time for petty politics is over - I wish you could rework your OP so that it wasn't so antagonistic.

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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimjones8934 View Post
    i'd be surprised if we didn't really have a strategy in place - i suspect that obama wants to make sure that congress is on board rather than attacking him on every point as they have been doing on every crisis on the world stage. I think the time for petty politics is over - i wish you could rework your op so that it wasn't so antagonistic.
    The OP is a question about what strategy should we use with ISIS and a link to a Time article about the issue. Any perceived antagonism is your personal perception.

    Your suggestion of unity I think is a good first step.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    The OP is a question about what strategy should we use with ISIS and a link to a Time article about the issue. Any perceived antagonism is your personal perception.
    Like I said, it's amazing.

    Your suggestion of unity I think is a good first step.
    What do you think?

  10. #10
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    What do you think?
    1) Ground forces

    In other words, go all in.

    When terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001, the United States showed its willingness to use its full military might when it attacked Afghanistan -- a campaign that dragged on for years and killed more than 2,300 American troops.

    That steep cost, both human and financial, is the big reason this is very, very unlikely to happen again in Syria.

    No U.S. officials have suggested troops on the ground. The fact none were sent to fight in Iraq -- a country where the U.S. has deeper ties and a government it works with -- is further indication there will be no U.S. ground invasion of Syria anytime soon.

    There could be smaller-scale, targeted operations, though. After all, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN that, this summer, elite U.S. commandos from units like Delta Force and Navy SEAL Team 6 went into Syria and tried to rescue American journalist James Foley and others held by Islamic militants.

    They didn't find hostages, but who's to say U.S. Special Operations Forces couldn't conduct more such missions to save others or for some other purpose? Then there's the possibility American troops could go into Syria to help with the targeting of U.S. airstrikes.

    Of course, all bets are off if ISIS pulls an al Qaeda and strikes inside the United States.

    That hasn't happened yet, though some experts believe that such an attack from ISIS -- which, upon beheading Foley, warned other U.S. citizens could be next -- might be a matter of time.

    2) Airstrikes

    Obama gave the go-ahead to pound ISIS forces in Iraq from the air. Why not do the same in Syria, a country the President himself ceded Thursday has become a "safe haven" for the terror group?
    Except it's not that simple.

    It starts with the fact that Syria is a mess. Three years of civil war have torn apart the country, spurring the emergence of rebel groups fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad and sometimes against each other. About the only thing al-Assad and rebel groups have in common is that ISIS is their enemy.

    Obama is pushing to get al-Assad too, but they're on the same side when it comes to ISIS. Yet U.S. officials insist this shared cause doesn't mean they'll coordinate any military action with al-Assad's government, even if Syrian officials are demanding it.

    3) Support factions in Syria to fight ISIS

    The Obama administration frequently touts its support for "moderate opposition" battling both al-Assad's forces and ISIS. Yet, for all its talk, it hasn't directly armed such forces.
    The ideal is, if you arm groups like the Free Syrian Army, they can help take out ISIS.

    That may not be realistic, considering ISIS with the Syrian government may be the most powerful forces now in the nation. Then there's the real possibility that if moderate forces lose, American weaponry may end up in the hands of ISIS, as has happened in Iraq.

    Still, it helps to have someone local you trust to provide on-the-ground intelligence for airstrikes or compliment those strikes with a ground assault.

    Smith, the Democrats' ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, is among those who believes "U.S. military might alone is not going to contain ISIS. We are going to need partners locally."

    "We have to strengthen them, not so much so they can win," Smith said of the Free Syria movement, "but so that they can survive and maintain some territory to give us a partner to work with."

    4) Cut off ISIS's funding


    If you can't pound ISIS into submission militarily, the reasoning goes, you can hit it where it hurts: the wallet.

    The thinking goes that, in order to wage war, you need weapons, vehicles, ammunition. In order to govern a country, you need access to food, water and electricity. And usually to address these needs, a group needs money.

    Implementing sanctions and freezing bank accounts are often the first, least controversial steps to go after a terrorist group. And they can have an impact, but they also have their limits.
    For one, one shouldn't think such efforts will be effective overnight. They take time to coordinate, and it takes time to drain militants' piggy banks. Plus, it's not like there's a readily available list of ISIS donors to go after.

    And the fact is, ISIS isn't like many other terror groups. Unlike others like al Qaeda, it's chief goal is as practical as it is ideological: to take over and govern territory.

    Already, ISIS has proven adept at seizing weaponry. It's also paid attention to things like food stocks, electricity, sewage, medical care and more, as a recent Foreign Policy article noted.

    5) Build a true international coalition


    One big thing the United States has going for it: Practically no one likes ISIS.

    Sure, there are groups and individuals backing the formation of an Islamic State -- which is what ISIS calls itself now that it controls a vast swath of Syria and Iraq -- governed by sharia law. Some from oil-rich Muslim states in the Middle East may bankroll the group; others fight, with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this summer estimating that there are 7,000 such foreigners with militant groups in Syria.

    "There are clearly two camps in the world today: those who believe that sovereignty and supremacy in the world belongs to God, they are the Islamic State, (and) those who believe sovereignty belongs to man," said British firebrand preacher Anjem Choudhary, who sides with the Islamic State.

    Yet ISIS has far, far more detractors than supporters. It has a bloody track record of beheadings, crucifixions, stonings, not to mention the widespread slaughtering of minorities, Christians and Muslims who don't prescribe to its strict interpretation of Islam.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/28/world/...ria/index.html
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    @eye:

    Note that Libya has asserted that it does not want the US to unilaterally Syria wants US attacks only with their express approval (source:Syrian Official Warns U.S. Against Unilateral Airstrikes). Obama's hands are tied here.

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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    What authorization does the Patriot Act give this President against an enemy that is separate from Al Qaeda? Does he actually have the authority to attack ISIS without approval from Congress? It seems to me that this may be a grey zone that stretches the powers authorized after 9/11. Any thoughts?

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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanus Barbarus View Post
    What authorization does the Patriot Act give this President against an enemy that is separate from Al Qaeda? Does he actually have the authority to attack ISIS without approval from Congress? It seems to me that this may be a grey zone that stretches the powers authorized after 9/11. Any thoughts?
    I think all he has to do is show some affiliation and that wouldn't be hard to do I think. The language of that authorization to use force is incredibly broad. Essentially unless congress explicitly forbids it or repeals the authorization any connection to Al Qaeda or any kind of general terrorist connection can give the president sufficient cover for military action.

    Mind you I'm not fond of that fact. 9-11 justified military action but it should have had more scope.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanus Barbarus View Post
    What authorization does the Patriot Act give this President against an enemy that is separate from Al Qaeda?
    Well, it was about a year ago when the headlines where that Obama was not going to stand (tolerate) for the use of chemical weapons on innocent Muslims in Syria by Pres. Assad and he was planning on bombing Syria without congressional approval. But then at the last minute he backed out.

    Ref:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...nal-aides-say/

    It's good to see the Arab League getting involved in this. I hope it won't be just words but intelligent, well reasoned action. We don't seem to have the intelligence on the ground in that area anymore and this seems to be costing us and the region.
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    1) Ground forces

    In other words, go all in.

    When terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001, the United States showed its willingness to use its full military might when it attacked Afghanistan -- a campaign that dragged on for years and killed more than 2,300 American troops.

    That steep cost, both human and financial, is the big reason this is very, very unlikely to happen again in Syria.

    No U.S. officials have suggested troops on the ground. The fact none were sent to fight in Iraq -- a country where the U.S. has deeper ties and a government it works with -- is further indication there will be no U.S. ground invasion of Syria anytime soon.

    There could be smaller-scale, targeted operations, though. After all, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN that, this summer, elite U.S. commandos from units like Delta Force and Navy SEAL Team 6 went into Syria and tried to rescue American journalist James Foley and others held by Islamic militants.

    They didn't find hostages, but who's to say U.S. Special Operations Forces couldn't conduct more such missions to save others or for some other purpose? Then there's the possibility American troops could go into Syria to help with the targeting of U.S. airstrikes.

    Of course, all bets are off if ISIS pulls an al Qaeda and strikes inside the United States.

    That hasn't happened yet, though some experts believe that such an attack from ISIS -- which, upon beheading Foley, warned other U.S. citizens could be next -- might be a matter of time.

    2) Airstrikes

    Obama gave the go-ahead to pound ISIS forces in Iraq from the air. Why not do the same in Syria, a country the President himself ceded Thursday has become a "safe haven" for the terror group?
    Except it's not that simple.

    It starts with the fact that Syria is a mess. Three years of civil war have torn apart the country, spurring the emergence of rebel groups fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad and sometimes against each other. About the only thing al-Assad and rebel groups have in common is that ISIS is their enemy.

    Obama is pushing to get al-Assad too, but they're on the same side when it comes to ISIS. Yet U.S. officials insist this shared cause doesn't mean they'll coordinate any military action with al-Assad's government, even if Syrian officials are demanding it.

    3) Support factions in Syria to fight ISIS

    The Obama administration frequently touts its support for "moderate opposition" battling both al-Assad's forces and ISIS. Yet, for all its talk, it hasn't directly armed such forces.
    The ideal is, if you arm groups like the Free Syrian Army, they can help take out ISIS.

    That may not be realistic, considering ISIS with the Syrian government may be the most powerful forces now in the nation. Then there's the real possibility that if moderate forces lose, American weaponry may end up in the hands of ISIS, as has happened in Iraq.

    Still, it helps to have someone local you trust to provide on-the-ground intelligence for airstrikes or compliment those strikes with a ground assault.

    Smith, the Democrats' ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, is among those who believes "U.S. military might alone is not going to contain ISIS. We are going to need partners locally."

    "We have to strengthen them, not so much so they can win," Smith said of the Free Syria movement, "but so that they can survive and maintain some territory to give us a partner to work with."

    4) Cut off ISIS's funding


    If you can't pound ISIS into submission militarily, the reasoning goes, you can hit it where it hurts: the wallet.

    The thinking goes that, in order to wage war, you need weapons, vehicles, ammunition. In order to govern a country, you need access to food, water and electricity. And usually to address these needs, a group needs money.

    Implementing sanctions and freezing bank accounts are often the first, least controversial steps to go after a terrorist group. And they can have an impact, but they also have their limits.
    For one, one shouldn't think such efforts will be effective overnight. They take time to coordinate, and it takes time to drain militants' piggy banks. Plus, it's not like there's a readily available list of ISIS donors to go after.

    And the fact is, ISIS isn't like many other terror groups. Unlike others like al Qaeda, it's chief goal is as practical as it is ideological: to take over and govern territory.

    Already, ISIS has proven adept at seizing weaponry. It's also paid attention to things like food stocks, electricity, sewage, medical care and more, as a recent Foreign Policy article noted.

    5) Build a true international coalition


    One big thing the United States has going for it: Practically no one likes ISIS.

    Sure, there are groups and individuals backing the formation of an Islamic State -- which is what ISIS calls itself now that it controls a vast swath of Syria and Iraq -- governed by sharia law. Some from oil-rich Muslim states in the Middle East may bankroll the group; others fight, with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this summer estimating that there are 7,000 such foreigners with militant groups in Syria.

    "There are clearly two camps in the world today: those who believe that sovereignty and supremacy in the world belongs to God, they are the Islamic State, (and) those who believe sovereignty belongs to man," said British firebrand preacher Anjem Choudhary, who sides with the Islamic State.

    Yet ISIS has far, far more detractors than supporters. It has a bloody track record of beheadings, crucifixions, stonings, not to mention the widespread slaughtering of minorities, Christians and Muslims who don't prescribe to its strict interpretation of Islam.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/28/world/...ria/index.html
    The above bullet points is not a strategy. A strategy includes a problem, a set of solutions and a goal. What is your goal? End ISIS? Is that really the goal here? Like we ended Al Queda. Like we ended the Taliban? I understand the desire to crush another group of Islamic nut jobs. I really do. Yet, in our long history of dealing with nut jobs, when has this worked? Don't you think we'll crush this group which will soon be replaced by another?

    Let's look back before looking forward. America is tending towards isolationism. We have been in one conflict or another since WWII. Americans are tired of sending their kids off to foreign lands. What can we do about ISIS? We can support, through arms sales whatever our Euro allies wish to use to beat them down. Hell, we can use this as a means of gaining some leverage over Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt too. The truth is that once ISIS becomes a proper state, they will contain themselves. This is the history of statehood. Countries don't attack stronger countries. More pressing than ISIS is the Russians. We screwed that pooch. History should have taught us that you defeat the Russians by standing up to them (see Cuban missile crisis). That is the example we should have used to get them out of Ukraine. The strategy? In general, our strategy with Russia is containment with an eye towards patience in the hope they'll continue to drift towards the rest of Europe. The Middle East on the other hand??? Our strategy is to allow ourselves to forget them and treat them pretty much how we treat Africa. Just a forsaken desert. Quite honestly, the less we do about ISIS the better. Iran has more incentive than we do to intervene. Hell, I'd be ok if we were secretly pumping small arms to ISIS just so they can continue to be a nuisance to the region and Iran in particular. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. So, while ISIS is heinous and no friend of ours, they are also no friends to our enemies and we be best to remember that.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Obama has laid out a strategy now:

    1. As I pointed out, the country needs to come together, specifically with Congress' vote to show a united front. This isn't an 'Obama' effort but an American effort. I am very glad he made this point and he alluded to the political divisions within the US within his speech.
    2. Attack ISIS on multiple fronts, militarily, politically and financially, across all borders.
    3. Help people help themselves - so even though there are Americans there, they are to assist and train. Ensure that Iraq has a strong representative government and to also ensure that Syria is being properly dealt with too.
    4. Form a coalition of other countries to work together.

    Personally, I think this is a good way to do it and politically a very good move. I don't think this is a very easy fix - these guys are still going to be around but what can be done is to remove the mindshare they currently enjoy.

    Thoughts?

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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Obama has laid out a strategy now:

    1. As I pointed out, the country needs to come together, specifically with Congress' vote to show a united front. This isn't an 'Obama' effort but an American effort. I am very glad he made this point and he alluded to the political divisions within the US within his speech.
    2. Attack ISIS on multiple fronts, militarily, politically and financially, across all borders.
    3. Help people help themselves - so even though there are Americans there, they are to assist and train. Ensure that Iraq has a strong representative government and to also ensure that Syria is being properly dealt with too.
    4. Form a coalition of other countries to work together.

    Personally, I think this is a good way to do it and politically a very good move. I don't think this is a very easy fix - these guys are still going to be around but what can be done is to remove the mindshare they currently enjoy.

    Thoughts?
    I believe Obama's speech was just begging more questions than anything.
    1. What is our goal? Defeat IS? That is really a very narrow goal.
    2. Why the sudden change in tactics? Obama never explained why IS is suddenly more of a security interest for the U.S. Just a few weeks ago they were just a regional threat.
    3. A few months ago, the Syrian rebels were a bunch of doctors, pharmacists, and farmers who would be incapable of defeating IS. This was Obama's explanation on why he did not believe the U.S. should arm them. Now he is going to arm them and rely on them... I am confused.
    4. How does helping a regional terrorist group who shares many of the same enemies as we do going to result in improving U.S. interests?

    Here is the bottom line. He yanked our troops out of Iraq when just about every U.S. security expert, including the military, advised against it. I saw a clip from 2007 where G. Bush explained why pulling out early was a bad idea when he was considering whether to implement the "surge" in Iraq. So, while Republicans may appreciate Obama tacitly acknowledging they were right about pulling out of Iraq, it does not change the fact that we are, indeed, out. So, now that we are out, we should stay out. Chaos or not. The truth is outside of some U.S. journalists being beheaded, IS poses next to no threat to the U.S. I think Obama has gotten caught up in the polls based on an emotional response to some really bad people. But, they are not any badder now than they were before the beheadings. I agree with Democrat, John Conyers on this one.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ss-progressive

    As I explained below (prior to Obama's speech), we should essentially stay out. Defeating IS is not a goal. It is a really short-term strategy without any sort of guiding foreign policy doctrine. In Obama's speech, can you tell me what his doctrine is concerning the ME? I cannot. This move by Obama is completely reactive. My gut tells me we will be looking back on this decision in 10 years with regret as a new regional threat emerges that dwarfs IS, but that (not) incredibly sprung from Obama's decisions. As I pointed out below, please give me some past examples where we successfully intervened in a regional struggle with military force.

    Did Obama really just propose on national t.v. that we escalate another clandestine war (see Yemen)?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/wo...eech-isis.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...fighting-yemen

    Are we going to be installing new U.S. bases in Syria? How is Afghanistan working out? We're leaving and the Taliban is set to move back in.
    http://nypost.com/2014/08/09/were-tr...k-afghanistan/

    I don't know if IS was ever the "JV" team as far as terrorist organizations go. I do believe this country is being run by a JV President.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  20. #18
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    2. Why the sudden change in tactics?
    Do you mean why should he (America) have a strategy to contain the chaos ISIS is creating? He seems to be responding to public opinion. After the two journalists were brutality beheaded across the western world's TV screens, public opinion shot up to 75 percent that Syria should be bombed (whatever that means). Before that, the administration didn't seem to have much interest in getting involved and ISIS was just the JV team.

    Obama never explained why IS is suddenly more of a security interest for the U.S.
    Probably because they are not sure. However, some Muslims are now using social media to recruit for ISIS.

    3. A few months ago, the Syrian rebels were a bunch of doctors, pharmacists, and farmers who would be incapable of defeating IS. This was Obama's explanation on why he did not believe the U.S. should arm them. Now he is going to arm them and rely on them... I am confused.
    This one threw me into a loop, too. I'm not sure how smart it is to give military tanks to doctors, pharmacists and farmers??

    Here is the bottom line. He yanked our troops out of Iraq when just about every U.S. security expert, including the military, advised against it. I saw a clip from 2007 where G. Bush explained why pulling out early was a bad idea when he was considering whether to implement the "surge" in Iraq.
    You mean this one:

    Bush: “I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”



    So, while Republicans may appreciate Obama tacitly acknowledging they were right about pulling out of Iraq, it does not change the fact that we are, indeed, out. So, now that we are out, we should stay out. Chaos or not.
    Bear in mind, chaos with a purpose in the region does not mean chaos with a purpose will stay in the region.

    IS poses next to no threat to the U.S
    ISIS Is A Threat To U.S. Interests, Top Official Says.

    U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that the extremist group the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is a threat to America and must be confronted.

    "ISIL has shown a level of danger that constitutes a threat to our vital interests as a nation and to others in our coalition that is being assembled right now -- such that the only responsible thing to do is to take them on," Johnson said during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    The truth is outside of some U.S. journalists being beheaded, IS poses next to no threat to the U.S. I think Obama has gotten caught up in the polls based on an emotional response to some really bad people.
    I agree, but what can we learn from this dilemma? I think this circumstance could and should of been contained by the current administration before the JV team became the varsity team. They had the intelligence. But since 'should've would've could've' are behind us, we just can't pretend the problem will now go away by itself. We can't pretend the consequences of unwise leadership judgment calls are insignificant. Technology has made our world much smaller and more accessible and I think irrational chaos left unchecked in one region of the world affects us all in one way or another. A malignant cancer in one region is not confined to that region.

    Did Obama really just propose on national t.v. that we escalate another clandestine war (see Yemen)?
    Last year Obama said that the U.S. military doesn't do pinprick strikes when he was talking about the plan to go against Syria and the chemical weapons redline. Pinprick strategies haven't worked in Yemen and Somalia. I also don't know how smart it is to compare ISIS to Yemen and Somalia or even use them as a model for his plan.
    Last edited by eye4magic; September 11th, 2014 at 01:55 PM.
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  21. #19
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Policy Objectives
    1. Keep the nation safe from large scale threats
    2. Keep individual Americans safe at home and abroad
    3. Help relatively Innocent victims of large scale mortal violence attain increased security
    4. Protect american economic interests
    5. Maintain american diplomatic power/clout

    For my money, these are the true objectives we are or should keep in mind in more or less this order. Many would swap 4 and 3 and put american economic interests before the lives of foreigners but I'm a bit of an idealist when it comes to putting lives before dollars, at least when the lives are threatened by death/dismemberment.

    Right now ISIS is a threat to 2-5. I don't think many threats exist to #1 these days. China and USSR perhaps but they are not really active threats. ISIS doesn't rate in that category. Long, long term perhaps, but I doubt it.

    Justification for War
    War is a nightmare. When we use our weaponry people die. Sometimes our people but more often other people. If you are going to start killing the benefit had better be significant. The longer you have to kill, the more you need to justify the benefit. We can kill on a scale that would make ISIS shudder in horror were we of a mind to. Since pure defense is not one of our goals here, we have to weigh what we can achieve vs the damage we do.

    War itself is here, ISIS saw to that in this case. (Yes in the past we were the aggressors in Iraq.) So they will kill regardless of weather we do or not and those who they have invaded will be killing them. If we can end this conflict sooner then we should have achieved an overall better situation. I think we can all also agree than nearly any government would be better than ISIS, democratic or no so them loosing is better than letting the others loose this fight.

    I think this gives us our next set of more specific Goals

    More Specific Goals
    1. Defeat the organization known as ISIS
    2. Give control of the territory ISIS holds to another group(s) that can secure it who will be more humane and peaceful

    So then we have to decide who it is we want to hold that territory when ISIS is defeated and we have to decide the best way to defeat ISIS and the two are related somewhat.

    Right now they control parts of Syria and Iraq.
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...ideo.html?_r=0

    In Syria we already have a conflict between various rebel factions and the Assad government. Assad is backed by the East, mainly Russia and is fighting ISIS and more moderate rebels as well as other Islamic groups, Kurds, and tribes. Assad has been holding his own but clearly doesn't have the muscle to control the country, only hold the rebels off.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templat...r_detailed_map (You should really look at this map/mess!)

    In Iraq we have a weak government more or less put there by us, that has just changed hands but may or may not have any legs with a military that is apparently in terrible shape despite years of training and a great deal of US equipment handed over to them. The country is demographically split between Kurd in the north, Sunni in the west and Shiite in the east. Some Sunni have chosen ISIS over the Shiites who were in power which made ISISs Iraq sweep pretty easy for them. The Shiite are pretty aligned with Iran who we are not so fond of and are generally a Islamic minority but for this area. ISIS is Shiite but has allied with many Sunni in the area.

    We could of course try to control these areas but we are pretty far apart culturally, widely disliked in certain respects, and aren't all that inclined to imperialism in the formal sense.

    In Syria, Assad would be the practical choice. We would have support from Russia, the opposition is fairly weak, and they have the infrastructure and institutions in place. I don't think we have the stomache for it though.

    In Iraq we kind of have to go with what we put in place, a half as coalition government with a Shiite majority aligned with Iran. So far they have proven pretty useless. The Sunni more or less switched sides and quickly won their part of the country back but with the burden of ISIS in command who isn't naturally an ally of theirs. The Kurds pretty much are going their own way and only part of the alliance so we stay happy and support them. The kurds (setting female general mutilation aside for now) are about the only group we have much in common with and have been good stewards of their territory and given ISIS some resistance as they seek to spread out.

    Of course we also have the neighbors like Turkey, Iran, Jordan, and the Saudies. Mostly Sunni, about half on decent terms with us and half not. None of them especially equipped or inclined for invading their neighbors, and all keen to avoid invasion.

    So who do we want in charge?
    In Syria I think we have to take out Assad and put in some kind of group moderate enough to amalgamate the factions. I think we have to establish outside control first, then make the transition to hand picked leaders with a transition plan to a democratic one. (say after 5 years of rebuilding). We need to get this coalition worked out before invading so they are ready to statrt taking control. It will cost boatloads of money which we need to start collecting ahead of time and we need the international groups to control the purse strings initially rather than the locals.

    In Iraq I think we need to divide Iraq into three regions for each of the three power bases. More autonomous than our states but still sharing oil profits for overall national infrastructure. Each region should have its own security forces but contribute to a national force as well. Each needs to get enough autonomy to discourage the desire for rebellion but enough shared interest to keep them from splitting up and going to war over the territory.

    OK. that is all a bit iffy but I'm not really an analyst.. now the how....

    How do we defeat ISIS
    In an ideal world you help the folks you want to be in charge to take things over, but in Syria no one is strong enough and in Iraq... well no one is strong enough. In Iraq I could see buying time, using american command and control to rally the Shiite and Kurds. If you are lucky you can get a kind of Sunni rebellion.

    In Syria the rebels just aren't that strong and they are very divided (from what I read). You can send them some guns and support but they just arn't going to take over. ISIS is about the only ones who could and they are the ones we want to defeat. Assad could with our help but we are dead set against that. I think that leaves us no choice but to invade ourselves (or with some coalition) if we want to end that fighting large scale. This is also where ISIS is really rooted at the moment so that works pretty well.

    Military strategy wise it should work like this... We base in the Kurdish region of Iraq and with Turkey to secure the north and we come in from the coast where Assad's power base is. We have rebels come in from the south where the most friendly ones are. Then with Assad backed down, we try to assimilate as many of his allies as possible and push into ISIS controlled territory.

    Meanwhile we do what we can to incentive the Sunni militants to throw off ISIS by promising political autonomy in their part of Iraq and a share of the oil from the whole country while we slowly press from the east with the re-constituted Iraqi main force and hold the line or incur in the north from the Kurdish region.

    We have to take the coast of Syria to cut off ISIS oil shipments since that is their main source of funding and they can move it on the rivers they control. But if we can stop the export we can cut much of their resources.

    Then what?
    We have to get serious about getting these nations secured so they can deal with insurgencies themselves. That will take time and it will take money and we will need to build up infrastructure and weed out the type of graft economies that dominate these regions.

    We can't just use local people to manage the money. We should give them political control but all incoming foreign money needs to filter through non local hands. Democracy should come in once people have things like electricity and running water, not hot on the heels of war and conquest.

    Prior to rolling in we need to get some kind of peace and alliances worked out among all the players we want to have be in control of these regions with a, "You will agree to this and like it or don't get to hold power" type of ultimatum.

    Done for now
    So that is my strategy. Lots of holes and issues. What to do about Russia, how to not become a pariah for invading Syria. Actually managing it all well this time around. And not to mention the massive cost in lives and money to set up nations that probably can never really repay the cost we'd put out.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  22. #20
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    Re: What strategy for ISIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I believe Obama's speech was just begging more questions than anything.
    Of course there are going to be questions. This was a speech about strategy, not tactics.


    1. What is our goal? Defeat IS? That is really a very narrow goal.
    That's one goal - the other is to deal with Syria; the third is to ensure that Iraq can defend itself.

    2. Why the sudden change in tactics? Obama never explained why IS is suddenly more of a security interest for the U.S. Just a few weeks ago they were just a regional threat.
    We have already run humanitarian missions, which is a money sink. If we don't deal with the source of the problem, then we could be at it forever. Or we leave these atrocities to continue and likely scale up. ISIS is clearly something we need to finish.

    3. A few months ago, the Syrian rebels were a bunch of doctors, pharmacists, and farmers who would be incapable of defeating IS. This was Obama's explanation on why he did not believe the U.S. should arm them. Now he is going to arm them and rely on them... I am confused.
    I don't believe that we should let people behead our own citizens without some sort of response.

    4. How does helping a regional terrorist group who shares many of the same enemies as we do going to result in improving U.S. interests?
    At that point we have to choose the lesser of two evils.

    So, now that we are out, we should stay out. Chaos or not. The truth is outside of some U.S. journalists being beheaded, IS poses next to no threat to the U.S. I think Obama has gotten caught up in the polls based on an emotional response to some really bad people. But, they are not any badder now than they were before the beheadings. I agree with Democrat, John Conyers on this one.
    I agree that we should stay out but at the same time, when our own people are attacked with impunity then no citizen will be safe. It won't take much to escalate this - when they start behead an American child, then will you begin to attack? If not, then how many children will it take?

    Clearly, Bush's lack of an exit strategy also included leaving an Iraqi army that runs aways at the merest prod. They were supposed to be defending their own country and if it were just their own country, other than humanitarian missions, they deserve whatever they get: they should have created a proper representative government and they should not have been surprised by ISIS and they should not have run away.


    As I explained below (prior to Obama's speech), we should essentially stay out. Defeating IS is not a goal. It is a really short-term strategy without any sort of guiding foreign policy doctrine. In Obama's speech, can you tell me what his doctrine is concerning the ME? I cannot. This move by Obama is completely reactive. My gut tells me we will be looking back on this decision in 10 years with regret as a new regional threat emerges that dwarfs IS, but that (not) incredibly sprung from Obama's decisions. As I pointed out below, please give me some past examples where we successfully intervened in a regional struggle with military force.
    Our options are limited. We clearly can't do nothing since ISIS will just keep going and the goal is not merely just defeating IS. It is really defeating extremism and their call to arms around the world. We have never stopped the 'war on terror' so this is merely another front in that.

    I don't know if IS was ever the "JV" team as far as terrorist organizations go. I do believe this country is being run by a JV President.
    Undermining our president at this point in time with your lack of confidence helps no one.

 

 
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