Via CDR Salamander
This essay describes with greater authority than I have what I have been saying about IS containment. The only thing that I would add is that we need to put a land, sea, and air blockade around IS territory to prevent operatives from leaving.
Note: MOAB stands for “Mother of All Bombs”…the most powerful non-nuclear ordinance ever made.
When do you give terrorists exactly what they want?
There is one way to take what the Islamic terrorists did to James Foley – they want to provoke the USA in to attacking them. Why?
From their perspective, they want a broader war. In their minds they are the carriers of the Black Banners of prophecy of the end times.
They are fanatics. They thrive off of war and conquest. They derive their best satisfaction by fighting non-believers (as they define them). The Great Satan has shown weakness as of late, and they are drawn to that; they want a part of demonstrating that weaknesses.
They would like nothing more than for us to try to redeploy large formations of American ground troops on a field of their choosing. In their mind, that would be best – but they have another path to victory – appear to humble the Great Satan, to gain a great PSYOPS victory by threatening him in to inaction.
Those are their two paths, but we really don’t want to follow either one. So far, we seem to be following the early Afghan model (but with better allies in the Kurds) – where we use a few Special Forces and specialized units on the ground to help indigenous ground forces leverage what is our competitive advantage; technology and airpower.
This is the right thing to do – this is the smart thing to do. If we continue to use this model, and adjust as we go, we can give the enemy what they want; greater US involvement, but we should deliver it not quite in the way they want it – and as a result produce our desired effects, not theirs.
By beheading Americans for simply being Americans – IS is calling America out. We should accept the call – but on our terms. If they want this fight, then we should give it to them.
The tactical strikes we have been making are tactically important – but the beheading of Americans is a strategic act of PSYOPS, and we should respond in kind.
The tactical killing by drone, single drops of bombs, etc are good and important too – but we need to make a strategic statement.
Two things that we can do quickly.
1. Used to great effect in both of our Iraqi conflicts based on their superb use in Vietnam: B-52 carpet bombing.
2. A few MOAB will do nicely as well.
No need for press conferences or other spoken or written responses. Just action.
After the first flush, keep the B-52 and MOAB going now and then to keep them jumpy – but keep a steady pattern of death from the air from other air assets as well. If it is done in coordination with Syria or Iranian proxies in a temporary alliance of convenience – that is fine.
We need to accept that the killing that needs to be done in the land between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia will need to follow more Game of Thrones rules of allies and partnerships than nice things done in Vienna, Brussels, or St
via CDR Salamander.