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  1. #1
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    The War On Terror

    Back in my junior year of high school I was given an assignment to write a research paper and present an argument on whether or not I felt the war in Iraq would be another Vietnam.

    I wrote a paper, with the main argument being: "Yes, the war will be mismanaged, the public will turn sour on the operation, and America will leave Iraq in shambles resulting in the destabilization of the region." I was told I missed the point; which I found funny considering I did the most research and answered the question. It turned into a typical left vs right debate and I believe it remained that for the remainder of American involvement. That was about 13 years ago now.

    I've started looking back at region and The War On Terror in general and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts? Of course I'd like to offer mine up front and not cheat you.

    I believe my paper was, for the short term; accurate. However one thing I didn't anticipate was that we'd eventually adapt to this change; and support the war through other means. Arab countries have picked up much of the slack in fighting ISIS, and so far it's been fairly successful. Whether this will come back and bite us in the long run is to be determined; we all know how that played out in the past.

    It's also been interesting to see our shift in allies; we support groups affiliated with the PKK which has enraged our NATO ally Turkey; and we've even opened up to Iran, more so than I ever thought. I'm trying to get more up on this matter especially; it could be that we're now shifting allies to adapt to a changing environment.

    I'm curious as to the opinions of others here. Do you think we're seeing a shift in allies because the region is changing and we're attempting to re-position ourselves. Do you think the conflicts in the Middle East are progressing well, what are you thoughts on our fight against ISIS? Do you believe our strategy of supplying and assisting Arab forces on the ground is an appropriate strategy for the conflict? I'm positive on all of these.
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  2. #2
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    and we've even opened up to Iran, more so than I ever thought. I'm trying to get more up on this matter especially; it could be that we're now shifting allies to adapt to a changing environment.
    This is a short term alliance of convenience. Iran is looking to overthrow Assad so that it can get a "Shia Land Bridge" to the Med. Once that goal is either completely thwarted or completed, that particular non-aggression state will end. The PMF in Iraq, for example, has already started its move south to interfere in Kuwaiti and Bahraini affairs and have begun to position itself such that they can expel us from Iraq post Iranian orders.
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  3. #3
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    Re: The War On Terror

    What are your thoughts on the conflicts in the middle east, I'd make an argument that against ISIS and Al-Qaeda we've made significant progress in pushing back and reducing their forces. It's difficult to get raw numbers on this obviously; but they size of their fighting force is pegged anywhere between 20-30 k fighters depending on what sources you review.

    Source1
    Source2

    I wish I could find the data visualization I watched a few weeks ago; I'll browse youtube when I get home (can't at work).

    I don't think ISIS is as big of a threat to Mid East security as it used to be; maybe in an indirect way as it stands up to more established and traditional powers in the area, and the destabilization it caused; which would be my primary concern.

    What are your thoughts on Turkey? I think it's interesting that NATO allies (The US and Turkey) are at such odds, do you think that Turkey is slipping into a state where they may no longer be our ally? I know over the past few years Erdogan has pushed for more authority, and is in the middle of a referendum right now to extend his power. I know Turkey doesn't like the fact that we're supporting a militia with ties to the PKK. Is this a bump in the road, or the beginning of a break from Turkey?
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  4. #4
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Back in my junior year of high school I was given an assignment to write a research paper and present an argument on whether or not I felt the war in Iraq would be another Vietnam.

    I wrote a paper, with the main argument being: "Yes, the war will be mismanaged, the public will turn sour on the operation, and America will leave Iraq in shambles resulting in the destabilization of the region." I was told I missed the point; which I found funny considering I did the most research and answered the question. It turned into a typical left vs right debate and I believe it remained that for the remainder of American involvement. That was about 13 years ago now.

    I've started looking back at region and The War On Terror in general and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts? Of course I'd like to offer mine up front and not cheat you.

    I believe my paper was, for the short term; accurate. However one thing I didn't anticipate was that we'd eventually adapt to this change; and support the war through other means. Arab countries have picked up much of the slack in fighting ISIS, and so far it's been fairly successful. Whether this will come back and bite us in the long run is to be determined; we all know how that played out in the past.

    It's also been interesting to see our shift in allies; we support groups affiliated with the PKK which has enraged our NATO ally Turkey; and we've even opened up to Iran, more so than I ever thought. I'm trying to get more up on this matter especially; it could be that we're now shifting allies to adapt to a changing environment.

    I'm curious as to the opinions of others here. Do you think we're seeing a shift in allies because the region is changing and we're attempting to re-position ourselves. Do you think the conflicts in the Middle East are progressing well, what are you thoughts on our fight against ISIS? Do you believe our strategy of supplying and assisting Arab forces on the ground is an appropriate strategy for the conflict? I'm positive on all of these.
    I think we immediately set ourselves up for failure as soon as we use the term "Terror" in describing the enemy. Interestingly, I don't disagree with your conclusion about our involvement in Iraq. However, I think your premises may be off target. Why are we fighting ISIS? Why did we engage in Iraq? More currently, why are we engaging in Syria? I am not claiming we shouldn't engage with any of these entities, but without a clear purpose/target, what will our engagement achieve?

    I do not think we are seeing an actual shift in alliances. What we are seeing is how a lack of clear purpose has rendered alliances meaningless (or at least diminish their usefulness). When our enemy was the aggressive axis of fascist powers and we clearly identified those nations, then our alliances were also fairly obvious. When the enemy was Communism and those nations who sought to expand that ideology through force, then, again, our alliances were fairly clear. Now, we use this vague term "terror" to describe the enemy, but terrorism (i.e. terrorists) are not an ideology. They are not a collection of state actors. Syrian's Assad has labeled every group that opposes him as terrorists. Russia identifies Chechnyans and anti-Russian Ukrainians as terrorists. The North Koreans identify us as terrorists. It is a term without any clear meaning. We are fighting a war, therefore, without meaning. Whether we are dealing with Iraq, Libya, or Syria, without a clear purpose, we can never have a clear target nor a clear ending. Without identifying what we are fighting, Russia may be just as good an ally as Britain or any other NATO country. I was hoping Trump's admin would change this, and maybe his admin will do this yet.
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  5. #5
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I think we immediately set ourselves up for failure as soon as we use the term "Terror" in describing the enemy. Interestingly, I don't disagree with your conclusion about our involvement in Iraq. However, I think your premises may be off target. Why are we fighting ISIS? Why did we engage in Iraq? More currently, why are we engaging in Syria? I am not claiming we shouldn't engage with any of these entities, but without a clear purpose/target, what will our engagement achieve?
    I really think this is a good point; as it gets to the heart of the challenges these types of conflicts bring up. Your next point follows this up well; "We're fighting the Nazi's" it's a very clear enemy with borders, an economy, and a conventional military force.

    It gets to the heart of the problem; why and who are we engaging?

    If we want to debate the merits of invading Iraq you won't find me on the side that said "it was justified", or the side that claims it wasn't justified. I don't view things in this light; I tend to look at the problem at hand and consider the best options for dealing with it. I sincerely don't care "why" we invaded Iraq; only that we did, it resulted in situation X and we now are confronted with this problem. How do we handle this problem?

    This was the key point I made all those years ago; and throughout college. Whether or not the war was justified, morals, or the reasoning behind it, are not that important to me. It's not that these points don't deserve attention; it's more like "Our houses is on fire! What should we do!" "I told you to stop smoking in the house! Now look what happened!" "Yeah well you always leave the stove on!" I don't care who is to blame; or even WHY the fire started at this point. I care about the best methods to extinguish it.

    I think ISIS is a direct result of this conflict; in fact many of the leaders spent time in our prisons during the conflict in Iraq.

    I'd like to take a stab at the questions you posed; at least from my perspective.

    Why are we fighting ISIS:

    My own personal view is this: ISIS is a threat to the region, and to a smaller extent the globe (I don't think they're reach is as long as we think). If ISIS isn't stopped and they are allowed to grow with their current ideology, then we could see a new state that would be a long term enemy. ISIS needs to be stopped or contained because it poses legitimate threats to our national interests. I believe the methods we've been using have, for the short term, helped beat them back. It's important in these types of conflicts, that the people of the region engage and eliminate the threat. I believe our method of supply and support has worked well; perhaps longer term we might need to do more, but I'm not 100% sold we need more direct US involvement.

    Why are we engaging in Syria:

    This is a bit more difficult for me to answer; partially because ISIS is there and the rebels fighting Assad are also fighting ISIS. So this is a friendship of convenience, much like our relationship with Al-Qaeda in the 80's. We have an interest in seeing stability in the region; so its important that this happen.

    To sum up: the conflicts we're engaging in now are a direct result of our operations in Iraq. I can't justify the engagement in Iraq, so I won't try. The biggest reason is to maintain a US presence and authority. We have an interest in projecting power, and our own political will. All nations do, look at China in the South China Sea. We can't isolate ourselves from global matters and conflicts, I don't believe isolationism is a solution, and in order to stay at the big boy table we need to be involved in these conflicts.

    Letting Russia and Iran develop their interests in the Middle East isn't our best solution. However, as we learned in Iraq throwing American boots on the ground isn't the end all be all either. I believe the long term goal here is to keep American interests on the table; as well as continuing to be a decision maker globally and in the region.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I do not think we are seeing an actual shift in alliances. What we are seeing is how a lack of clear purpose has rendered alliances meaningless (or at least diminish their usefulness). When our enemy was the aggressive axis of fascist powers and we clearly identified those nations, then our alliances were also fairly obvious. When the enemy was Communism and those nations who sought to expand that ideology through force, then, again, our alliances were fairly clear. Now, we use this vague term "terror" to describe the enemy, but terrorism (i.e. terrorists) are not an ideology. They are not a collection of state actors. Syrian's Assad has labeled every group that opposes him as terrorists. Russia identifies Chechnyans and anti-Russian Ukrainians as terrorists. The North Koreans identify us as terrorists. It is a term without any clear meaning. We are fighting a war, therefore, without meaning. Whether we are dealing with Iraq, Libya, or Syria, without a clear purpose, we can never have a clear target nor a clear ending. Without identifying what we are fighting, Russia may be just as good an ally as Britain or any other NATO country. I was hoping Trump's admin would change this, and maybe his admin will do this yet.
    I don't think we have a lack of clear purpose anymore; in fact I'd argue the opposite. We certainly had a lack of purpose when we invaded Iraq; it's evident in the drastic strategic changes we made throughout the war. It wasn't because the field was so dynamic it was difficult to follow. It was because we misunderstood the conflict; as we did in Vietnam.

    I think now we have a clear purpose: prevent the spread of ideologies such as ISIS in the Middle East and ensure our seat of power. I don't see our efforts failing as they did in Iraq. In fact; we've seen the territory ISIS controls shrinking; along with their fighting force. They're making the same mistakes we made in Iraq, alienating the people they have authority over; which will ultimately lead to their inability to grow and progress.

    I don't think we need to put more American forces into the region right now; but it may come to that in the future. My biggest concern is that the support we are providing right now to organizations fighting ISIS will come back to haunt us 20 years later. It's difficult to forecast who our friends will be that far in the future, and I'm not sure if it's something we should worry about right now if it can't be predicted.
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  6. #6
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I really think this is a good point; as it gets to the heart of the challenges these types of conflicts bring up. Your next point follows this up well; "We're fighting the Nazi's" it's a very clear enemy with borders, an economy, and a conventional military force.

    It gets to the heart of the problem; why and who are we engaging?

    If we want to debate the merits of invading Iraq you won't find me on the side that said "it was justified", or the side that claims it wasn't justified. I don't view things in this light; I tend to look at the problem at hand and consider the best options for dealing with it. I sincerely don't care "why" we invaded Iraq; only that we did, it resulted in situation X and we now are confronted with this problem. How do we handle this problem?

    This was the key point I made all those years ago; and throughout college. Whether or not the war was justified, morals, or the reasoning behind it, are not that important to me. It's not that these points don't deserve attention; it's more like "Our houses is on fire! What should we do!" "I told you to stop smoking in the house! Now look what happened!" "Yeah well you always leave the stove on!" I don't care who is to blame; or even WHY the fire started at this point. I care about the best methods to extinguish it.

    I think ISIS is a direct result of this conflict; in fact many of the leaders spent time in our prisons during the conflict in Iraq.

    I'd like to take a stab at the questions you posed; at least from my perspective.

    Why are we fighting ISIS:

    My own personal view is this: ISIS is a threat to the region, and to a smaller extent the globe (I don't think they're reach is as long as we think). If ISIS isn't stopped and they are allowed to grow with their current ideology, then we could see a new state that would be a long term enemy. ISIS needs to be stopped or contained because it poses legitimate threats to our national interests. I believe the methods we've been using have, for the short term, helped beat them back. It's important in these types of conflicts, that the people of the region engage and eliminate the threat. I believe our method of supply and support has worked well; perhaps longer term we might need to do more, but I'm not 100% sold we need more direct US involvement.

    Why are we engaging in Syria:

    This is a bit more difficult for me to answer; partially because ISIS is there and the rebels fighting Assad are also fighting ISIS. So this is a friendship of convenience, much like our relationship with Al-Qaeda in the 80's. We have an interest in seeing stability in the region; so its important that this happen.

    To sum up: the conflicts we're engaging in now are a direct result of our operations in Iraq. I can't justify the engagement in Iraq, so I won't try. The biggest reason is to maintain a US presence and authority. We have an interest in projecting power, and our own political will. All nations do, look at China in the South China Sea. We can't isolate ourselves from global matters and conflicts, I don't believe isolationism is a solution, and in order to stay at the big boy table we need to be involved in these conflicts.

    Letting Russia and Iran develop their interests in the Middle East isn't our best solution. However, as we learned in Iraq throwing American boots on the ground isn't the end all be all either. I believe the long term goal here is to keep American interests on the table; as well as continuing to be a decision maker globally and in the region.
    Already, from your answers, I am not quite seeing the clear nature of the enemy. None of the reasons you offered really explain clearly why we are engaged in hostilities with ISIS. You explain that ISIS is a threat to the region. Ok. So is Iran. So was Iraq. So is Palestine. There are a host of state and non-state actors in that region who have expansionist designs and which could be considered a threat. Why is the U.S. engaged there? You do start to touch on the issue, but for some reason, back off. You specifically mention ideology, but kind of as a throw-away line. ISIS isn't half the threat that Russia is, but we are not dropping bombs on Russian soldiers. Why? Ideology. At the present time, anyhow, ISIS is built within an aggressive ideology that has designs on spreading its empire. This is the crux of the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I don't think we have a lack of clear purpose anymore; in fact I'd argue the opposite. We certainly had a lack of purpose when we invaded Iraq; it's evident in the drastic strategic changes we made throughout the war. It wasn't because the field was so dynamic it was difficult to follow. It was because we misunderstood the conflict; as we did in Vietnam.
    And why I disagree with your opening premise here. In Vietnam, our issues were due to political fear. Our engagement and purpose was quite clear. We were engaged in a war against Communist expansion based on the domino theory. Had the political will to win, despite the deaths, existed, it was a winnable war and Vietnam wouldn't be communist right now. On the contrary, we went into Iraq and Libya fighting without a clear purpose. Regime change based on the idea that we opposed a certain kind of dictator, but without clearly identifying which sorts of dictators we couldn't tolerate nor how that kind of dictator was a national interest. So, we removed a couple of dictators and had nothing planned for their replacement. No idea on what would be better or what our bottom line would be. We've understood the ME conflict since the end of WWII. We've just been unwilling to name it properly for various reasons. Currently, our reason is that we have major elements within a political party which is actually sympathetic to segments of the enemy we need to eradicate.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I think now we have a clear purpose: prevent the spread of ideologies such as ISIS in the Middle East and ensure our seat of power. I don't see our efforts failing as they did in Iraq. In fact; we've seen the territory ISIS controls shrinking; along with their fighting force. They're making the same mistakes we made in Iraq, alienating the people they have authority over; which will ultimately lead to their inability to grow and progress.

    I don't think we need to put more American forces into the region right now; but it may come to that in the future. My biggest concern is that the support we are providing right now to organizations fighting ISIS will come back to haunt us 20 years later. It's difficult to forecast who our friends will be that far in the future, and I'm not sure if it's something we should worry about right now if it can't be predicted.
    Look, until we are willing, as a nation to unite behind the single idea that we are in a war and that our enemy is nation-states and non-state actors who ascribe to fasco-islamic ideologies, then we have no reason to fight at all. Our enemies should be very clear. We are at war with Iran and all the little neo-Islamic fascist groups which have sprouted from them, including Al-Queda and ISIS. This includes Hamas and Hezbollah. Our first war is with Iran. They are head. They provide a great deal of the funding. We also need to clearly isolate those entities in Saudi Arabia and Egypt which subscribe to these views and weed them out by force or with cooperation. And as we start building a case against the various actors in the region, it is pretty easy to see why we have been so squishy. It is a big deal. Millions will die when it is all said and done. The longer we wait, the more the cancer grows. I honestly just don't see a happy ending here without a lot of pain and misery first. And we cannot even name the enemy yet. So, right now, we are in a holding pattern.
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  7. #7
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Already, from your answers, I am not quite seeing the clear nature of the enemy. None of the reasons you offered really explain clearly why we are engaged in hostilities with ISIS. You explain that ISIS is a threat to the region. Ok. So is Iran. So was Iraq. So is Palestine. There are a host of state and non-state actors in that region who have expansionist designs and which could be considered a threat. Why is the U.S. engaged there? You do start to touch on the issue, but for some reason, back off. You specifically mention ideology, but kind of as a throw-away line. ISIS isn't half the threat that Russia is, but we are not dropping bombs on Russian soldiers. Why? Ideology. At the present time, anyhow, ISIS is built within an aggressive ideology that has designs on spreading its empire. This is the crux of the issue.
    I'm not sure exactly how to respond to this. I don't disagree with any of your statements; and nowhere in my reasoning did I say Iran, Iraq, or Palestine did not pose threats. You asked me why ISIS was a threat and why we would engage them.

    I don't think I failed to answer this question. It does answer it; very clearly and you even agree. They are a threat to the region and to some extent the globe. I didn't say other threats didn't exist, and I didn't claim that ISIS was the greatest. If you want to discuss these other threats I'm more than willing to; I don't think your points are unrelated or unfounded. But to say I didn't provide a clear answer is outlandish.

    So why don't we engage them? Well that answer should be obvious; alliances that could result in a much larger and more destructive war. If we just go banging on the door of Iran and kicking them around Russia won't be too happy; and while Russia's economy is still weak it's not some pushover country that we can simply ignore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    And why I disagree with your opening premise here. In Vietnam, our issues were due to political fear. Our engagement and purpose was quite clear. We were engaged in a war against Communist expansion based on the domino theory. Had the political will to win, despite the deaths, existed, it was a winnable war and Vietnam wouldn't be communist right now. On the contrary, we went into Iraq and Libya fighting without a clear purpose. Regime change based on the idea that we opposed a certain kind of dictator, but without clearly identifying which sorts of dictators we couldn't tolerate nor how that kind of dictator was a national interest. So, we removed a couple of dictators and had nothing planned for their replacement. No idea on what would be better or what our bottom line would be. We've understood the ME conflict since the end of WWII. We've just been unwilling to name it properly for various reasons. Currently, our reason is that we have major elements within a political party which is actually sympathetic to segments of the enemy we need to eradicate.
    I think I need some further clarification on this. I think you might be confusing the question I was asked "would Iraq become another Vietnam" as me stating "they are the same". I simply argued that the results of the conflicts would play out similarly.

    My premise doesnít match up with what youíre pitching here:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd
    We were engaged in a war against Communist expansion based on the domino theory. Had the political will to win, despite the deaths, existed, it was a winnable war and Vietnam wouldn't be communist right now.
    This isnít related to anything Iíve said so far. My points on Vietnam are a misunderstanding of the conflict. My point on Vietnam is summed up below:

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John
    "Yes, the war will be mismanaged, the public will turn sour on the operation, and America will leave Iraq in shambles resulting in the destabilization of the region."
    Iraq and Vietnam share these similar traits. Iíve made no claim that we did, or did not, have a clear political goal in Vietnam. Only that due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the conflict we would eventually lose.
    Iím literally arguing that we misunderstood the nature of the war; not that we didnít have a clear political goal. I donít think that premise is inaccurate. We misunderstood the conflict, and as a result executed poor strategies that resulted in the ultimate failure of the conflict.

    But fair enough, you can say the goal was to "stop the spread of communism" but does that really carry any more weight than "stop the spread of radical Islamic ideals"? We could argue we had the political will to win in Iraq, and you could argue it was winnable. Believe me, we had and still have the capacity to ďwinĒ these operations. I donít think this point of yours holds anymore water.

    There were plenty of other Communist countries that did awful things to their own people that we ignored. But we focused on Vietnam? Why? Doesnít that seem awfully similar to what is happening here? There are plenty of other Islamic extremists we could focus onÖ

    Look, until we are willing, as a nation to unite behind the single idea that we are in a war and that our enemy is nation-states and non-state actors who ascribe to fasco-islamic ideologies, then we have no reason to fight at all. Our enemies should be very clear. We are at war with Iran and all the little neo-Islamic fascist groups which have sprouted from them, including Al-Queda and ISIS. This includes Hamas and Hezbollah. Our first war is with Iran. They are head. They provide a great deal of the funding. We also need to clearly isolate those entities in Saudi Arabia and Egypt which subscribe to these views and weed them out by force or with cooperation. And as we start building a case against the various actors in the region, it is pretty easy to see why we have been so squishy. It is a big deal. Millions will die when it is all said and done. The longer we wait, the more the cancer grows. I honestly just don't see a happy ending here without a lot of pain and misery first. And we cannot even name the enemy yet. So, right now, we are in a holding pattern.
    I donít necessarily disagree with this. But I think thatís easier said than done; and I donít know if alternative methods would suit the situation better.
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I'm not sure exactly how to respond to this. I don't disagree with any of your statements; and nowhere in my reasoning did I say Iran, Iraq, or Palestine did not pose threats. You asked me why ISIS was a threat and why we would engage them.
    I think, and correct me if I am wrong, but you stated that we should engage with ISIS. Your reasoning was that they were a national security threat due to their violent and expansionist goals. However, I think you stopped short of really naming their exact ideology which we can/should be applying to much more than merely ISIS. Defeating ISIS (however one wishes to define that) does not solve the greater issue of the purveyors of the ideology itself. It would be like naming the SS as our enemy and wiping them out with the idea that such a victory would achieve the end of Nazi fascism. It is simply too specific a target and does not properly identify the larger problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    So why don't we engage them? Well that answer should be obvious; alliances that could result in a much larger and more destructive war. If we just go banging on the door of Iran and kicking them around Russia won't be too happy; and while Russia's economy is still weak it's not some pushover country that we can simply ignore.
    Sure. This isn't disputed by me. However, and this is where naming/identifying the problem is so key. At some point, the threat posed by Islam-fascism is so great that the risk of Russian/Iranian military entanglement isn't enough to remain disengaged. However, if we simply never name the threat, then we can never justify the action. I think, politically, this is where we are at. It is much easier to claim we are fighting "terrorism" and go after groups like ISIS then to name the real enemy where the risks are, of course, much greater.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I think I need some further clarification on this. I think you might be confusing the question I was asked "would Iraq become another Vietnam" as me stating "they are the same". I simply argued that the results of the conflicts would play out similarly.

    My premise doesnít match up with what youíre pitching here:


    This isnít related to anything Iíve said so far. My points on Vietnam are a misunderstanding of the conflict. My point on Vietnam is summed up below:



    Iraq and Vietnam share these similar traits. Iíve made no claim that we did, or did not, have a clear political goal in Vietnam. Only that due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the conflict we would eventually lose.
    Iím literally arguing that we misunderstood the nature of the war; not that we didnít have a clear political goal. I donít think that premise is inaccurate. We misunderstood the conflict, and as a result executed poor strategies that resulted in the ultimate failure of the conflict.

    But fair enough, you can say the goal was to "stop the spread of communism" but does that really carry any more weight than "stop the spread of radical Islamic ideals"? We could argue we had the political will to win in Iraq, and you could argue it was winnable. Believe me, we had and still have the capacity to ďwinĒ these operations. I donít think this point of yours holds anymore water.

    There were plenty of other Communist countries that did awful things to their own people that we ignored. But we focused on Vietnam? Why? Doesnít that seem awfully similar to what is happening here? There are plenty of other Islamic extremists we could focus onÖ
    My point was that Vietnam and Iraq share very little in common. There are, of course, some similarities militarily, but otherwise, they are very different beasts. In Iraq, our goal was regime change to depose a dictator who we believed may have been holding WMD's. Our goal was aimed at a personality. Hussein was, in general, a secular dictator. Removing him didn't really have any specific chance of stabilizing the region, even if it made Iraq a little bit safer. In Vietnam, we were clearly aimed at bottling up Communism which, at the time, was focused on expanding its influence under both Chinese and Russian communist rulers. Our goal was not merely to depose some ruler, but to maintain the region's collapse and envelopment by the Communist sphere of influence. Now, we can argue whether the domino theory was wise or whether it was necessary, but our failure in Vietnam was purely political. In Iraq, our failures were both strategic and political. We achieved our military goal in Iraq and still didn't achieve any sort of political or regional victory.


    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I donít necessarily disagree with this. But I think thatís easier said than done; and I donít know if alternative methods would suit the situation better.
    No doubt. I am not trying to insinuate anything is easy or simple. It is the unbelievable complexity and risks which is why we are unable to properly define our enemy. However, bringing this back full circle, it is our inability to define our enemy which has made defining our allies so tricky.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  9. #9
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I think, and correct me if I am wrong, but you stated that we should engage with ISIS. Your reasoning was that they were a national security threat due to their violent and expansionist goals. However, I think you stopped short of really naming their exact ideology which we can/should be applying to much more than merely ISIS. Defeating ISIS (however one wishes to define that) does not solve the greater issue of the purveyors of the ideology itself. It would be like naming the SS as our enemy and wiping them out with the idea that such a victory would achieve the end of Nazi fascism. It is simply too specific a target and does not properly identify the larger problem.
    I apologize it's taken so long to get back to this; work's been hectic.

    You're trying to get to a war on Islam; not that you're trying to start one but let's cut to the chase and discuss that, as it seems like we're leading to this. First I'd like to say I believe this is an important conversation to have. To say that, to a great degree, we are at war with Islam, is not totally unjustified. ISIS represents a small portion of what we are truly up against; and this is fair. However, I think you're making it out to be simpler than it is.

    I'd argue that while you're not necessarily incorrect in pushing this point I think the answer is even more complicated than your comparison of SS - Nazi. The SS was very clearly a Nazi instrument; ISIS isn't an Islamic instrument, Islam isn't a uniform and unified group that we can simply declare war on.

    Kurds, Houthi Rebels, Shia, Sunni, the complexity of this is far deeper than SS - Nazi, Vietnam - USSR. Is there a conflict between us and Islam? Yes, to some degree this is a fair statement; and I would even go so far as to say to some degree we're in conflict with a majority of the Muslim faith. However, the issue is far more complex than "Muslim = Enemy".

    Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, these are all players and enemies/friends/neutral parties.

    You're correct, dismantling ISIS won't sooth this conflict; but it will make handling the greater conflict easier. It also ensures we keep a seat at the big boy table. To ignore ISIS is to become an isolationist; and I don't believe this is a viable solution.

    This is a fair point; and I think we should expand on it. I'm willing to accept this point and find it valid. I do think, however, that addressing this concern isn't as easy as saying "Islam".


    Sure. This isn't disputed by me. However, and this is where naming/identifying the problem is so key. At some point, the threat posed by Islam-fascism is so great that the risk of Russian/Iranian military entanglement isn't enough to remain disengaged. However, if we simply never name the threat, then we can never justify the action. I think, politically, this is where we are at. It is much easier to claim we are fighting "terrorism" and go after groups like ISIS then to name the real enemy where the risks are, of course, much greater.
    I think this is a fair point; but again more complex than you're making it out to be. Can I agree that Russia/Iran and even to some degree Islam on the whole are a "threat"? Absolutely. Does that mean I should label them all as such and begin a campaign against them?

    Maybe; but far more analysis needs to be done than simply "they are the enemy". I think you and I can agree on the common theme; and I'm willing to concede that it does go much deeper than ISIS. But I think simply by naming the threat; we can cause the situation to spiral.

    There mere fact that you and I are discussing Islam as a legitimate threat to the US would be seen by some as racist. Whether or not that's true is irrelevant. Much like Tesla's stock shoots up despite the fact that it's fundamentals don't justify it, the impact the "market" has is serious. Handling it delicately is very important.

    Can we agree on this?


    My point was that Vietnam and Iraq share very little in common. There are, of course, some similarities militarily, but otherwise, they are very different beasts. In Iraq, our goal was regime change to depose a dictator who we believed may have been holding WMD's. Our goal was aimed at a personality. Hussein was, in general, a secular dictator. Removing him didn't really have any specific chance of stabilizing the region, even if it made Iraq a little bit safer. In Vietnam, we were clearly aimed at bottling up Communism which, at the time, was focused on expanding its influence under both Chinese and Russian communist rulers. Our goal was not merely to depose some ruler, but to maintain the region's collapse and envelopment by the Communist sphere of influence. Now, we can argue whether the domino theory was wise or whether it was necessary, but our failure in Vietnam was purely political. In Iraq, our failures were both strategic and political. We achieved our military goal in Iraq and still didn't achieve any sort of political or regional victory.
    Again, the goals are irrelevant to me; and I think you've touched on this. I'm not, nor have I ever made the claim that Iraq and Vietnam had similar goals, but that a fundamental misunderstanding and handling of the conflict ultimately lead to a public opinion drop, and ultimately the failure of the campaign.




    No doubt. I am not trying to insinuate anything is easy or simple. It is the unbelievable complexity and risks which is why we are unable to properly define our enemy. However, bringing this back full circle, it is our inability to define our enemy which has made defining our allies so tricky.
    I agree on this 100%, but I honestly don't know the best approach. I do believe the election of President Trump has shown that to some degree America is tired of the "left" and their unwillingness to sit at a table and discuss whether or not Islam is a problem.

    However, I think addressing this question and concern, while important, is difficult.

    I don't think we fundamentally disagree on the threats and the problem. I agree, not being able to define our enemy does make it difficult; however defining them carefully is important. If we push public opinion away then we can't effectively engage in a campaign.
    Witty puns...

  10. #10
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    Re: The War On Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I apologize it's taken so long to get back to this; work's been hectic.

    You're trying to get to a war on Islam; not that you're trying to start one but let's cut to the chase and discuss that, as it seems like we're leading to this. First I'd like to say I believe this is an important conversation to have. To say that, to a great degree, we are at war with Islam, is not totally unjustified. ISIS represents a small portion of what we are truly up against; and this is fair. However, I think you're making it out to be simpler than it is.

    I'd argue that while you're not necessarily incorrect in pushing this point I think the answer is even more complicated than your comparison of SS - Nazi. The SS was very clearly a Nazi instrument; ISIS isn't an Islamic instrument, Islam isn't a uniform and unified group that we can simply declare war on.

    Kurds, Houthi Rebels, Shia, Sunni, the complexity of this is far deeper than SS - Nazi, Vietnam - USSR. Is there a conflict between us and Islam? Yes, to some degree this is a fair statement; and I would even go so far as to say to some degree we're in conflict with a majority of the Muslim faith. However, the issue is far more complex than "Muslim = Enemy".

    Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, these are all players and enemies/friends/neutral parties.

    You're correct, dismantling ISIS won't sooth this conflict; but it will make handling the greater conflict easier. It also ensures we keep a seat at the big boy table. To ignore ISIS is to become an isolationist; and I don't believe this is a viable solution.

    This is a fair point; and I think we should expand on it. I'm willing to accept this point and find it valid. I do think, however, that addressing this concern isn't as easy as saying "Islam".




    I think this is a fair point; but again more complex than you're making it out to be. Can I agree that Russia/Iran and even to some degree Islam on the whole are a "threat"? Absolutely. Does that mean I should label them all as such and begin a campaign against them?

    Maybe; but far more analysis needs to be done than simply "they are the enemy". I think you and I can agree on the common theme; and I'm willing to concede that it does go much deeper than ISIS. But I think simply by naming the threat; we can cause the situation to spiral.

    There mere fact that you and I are discussing Islam as a legitimate threat to the US would be seen by some as racist. Whether or not that's true is irrelevant. Much like Tesla's stock shoots up despite the fact that it's fundamentals don't justify it, the impact the "market" has is serious. Handling it delicately is very important.

    Can we agree on this?




    Again, the goals are irrelevant to me; and I think you've touched on this. I'm not, nor have I ever made the claim that Iraq and Vietnam had similar goals, but that a fundamental misunderstanding and handling of the conflict ultimately lead to a public opinion drop, and ultimately the failure of the campaign.






    I agree on this 100%, but I honestly don't know the best approach. I do believe the election of President Trump has shown that to some degree America is tired of the "left" and their unwillingness to sit at a table and discuss whether or not Islam is a problem.

    However, I think addressing this question and concern, while important, is difficult.

    I don't think we fundamentally disagree on the threats and the problem. I agree, not being able to define our enemy does make it difficult; however defining them carefully is important. If we push public opinion away then we can't effectively engage in a campaign.
    Seeing that we largely agree, let me clarify my position briefly. I noticed that you inferred Islam from Islamo-fascism. I believe these are related, but different things. We are in a conflict with certain Islamic elements which, I believe, we can positively identify as Islamo-fascist. Those Islamic elements which do not fall under this umbrella are not our primary concern. However, when we fought the fascists of Germany or Italy, it was understood that there would be instances where Germans or Italians who were not identifiable as fascists would be involved in the conflict on one side or another. We can/should expect that there will be members of the Islamic population who, while not supporting Islamo-fascism outright, will be sympathetic and will side with them over non-Islamic actors.

    Finally, I am not proposing a resolution here. We both agree that the situation is beyond complex. I think my main point in all this (and I'd have to go back and reread old posts which have faded from memory to confirm), was that we need to simply take a positive start and name the enemy we face. Using amorphous terms such as terrorism or extremists simply paints the wrong picture. It misleads the public and, to address your actual question, it allows us to mislabel our friends and foes. Enemy or ally depends on the threat. If we do not correctly identify the threat, or simply refuse to identify it, then picking sides becomes a matter of random chance or pure bias. Either way, we are not selecting wisely.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

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    Re: The War On Terror

    Any body who's interested, there is an interesting documentary on this topic titled "Hubris."
    A divided minority will always beat a divided majority.

 

 

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