Free Markets, Free People

What, if anything, do we do about ISIS/ISIL?

In 1917, the United States found a casus belli to enter World War I in the Zimmerman Telegram. Prior to this, President Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of the war.”. A year later we were belligerent in that war.

What we know now is that the European nations had bled each other white since August, 1914. There were already discussions in all the belligerent capitals about a negotiated end to the war that would have ended the war with the status quo ante intact.. America’s entry changed all that, and eventually forced the surrender of Germany. That victory led directly to an unwisely humiliating peace imposed on Germany, which caused the resentments that led directly to the rise of nationalist radicalism. Which nationalism led, in turn, to the Nazis gaining control of the country. Nazi government in Germany led directly to WWII, a war the Nazis planned beginning in 1933. Whatever suffering WWI caused, WWII was substantially worse. An argument can be made that American intervention is the ultimate cause of WWII in Europe.

Similarly, in 1991, America led a coalition to intervene in Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Since then, American forces have been a more or less constant presence in the region of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  By Osama bin Laden’s account, the presence of infidel Christians in Muslim lands was the reason for his dispute with Saudi Arabia and the United States, and the genesis of his animus against the United States. That animus led to 9/11, from which followed the last 13 years of…unpleasantness. One could, if one wished, make a parallel between American intervention in WWI and in the Gulf War.

Intervention has ripples, like pebbles tossed into a still pond, that reverberate long after the event. It can be argued that ISIS/ISIL is the latest ripple in the US’ Gulf War intervention.

So, nasty video images aside, what is it about ISIS that requires a US intervention in the Mideast again? Saddam Hussein ran a particularly nasty terror state, with rape rooms where suspect’s wives and daughters were brutally gang-raped in front of them as they were forced to watch. Dissidents were routinely dissolved alive in acid. Mothers were forced to watch as their children were shot, and their infants had their heads dashed against cement walls. Uday Hussein famously fed people who displeased him feet first into wood chippers. There is no way in which Saddam Hussein’s government was, in any way, objectively more humane or less brutal than ISIS.

ISIS seems to actively want a US intervention in the region, based on their publicly released media and statements. If they desire this, why should we be so keen to do what they wish, without at least seriously examining why they wish us to do it? In fact, I have several questions about a possible intervention against ISIS.

1. In what way is ISIS a greater threat, or indeed as much of a threat, as Saddam Hussein was from 1991 to 2003?

2. Why are both Republicans and Democrats willing to cede the President the authority to intervene in the Mideast again, without explicit Congressional approval?

3. What do we accomplish by intervening in Iraq, and not in Saudi Arabia, from whence ISIS receives funding? Indeed, what do we accomplish at all without cutting of Saudi money to fundamentalists? How do we cut that money off?

4. How likely is it that intervention against ISIS in Iraq will require intervention in Syria to defeat ISIS?

5. How likely is it to defeat ISIS without a substantial ground presence of American combat troops?

6. If ISIS is such a threat, why isn’t Israel doing anything about them?

7. How much of ISIS’ existence is part of a proxy war between Sunni states against Iran, especially as the end result of US intervention was increased Iranian influence in largely Shi’a Iraq?

8. What is the desired end state of US intervention against ISIS? Mustn’t it not simply be ISIS’ defeat, but also foreclose the rise of future ISI-like groups, lest we gain nothing but a little time?

9. Does “fighting them over there” actually make us safer from ISIS over here, or does it simply exacerbate Arab resentment, increasing the chance of terror attacks against the US?

10. How much blood and treasure are we willing to spend, and for what length of time, are we willing to commit to this intervention?

11. Would spending that blood and treasure in increasing border and port security have a greater effect on ensuring our security than military intervention?

12. Has the region become more or less stable since America began intervening in the Mideast in 1991?

13. Has the threat from the region increased or decreased since 1991?

14. Is the current situation the result of the current president’s inaction, or rather, the result of entirely too much action over the past few decades?

Frankly, the result of American intervention in the Mideast seems to have accomplished little. Yes, Kuwait was liberated, and Saddam Hussein hung but at what cost? So far, it’s been 23 years of more or less constant presence in the Mideast, during which the region has become less stable, not more. It seems that the answer to dealing with the results of our intervention in the Mideast has become more intervention.

It’s all beginning to remind me of the War on Drugs. “If only we increase prison sentences, we’ll reduce drug use.” “If only we seize assets, we’ll cripple the drug lords.” “If only we make it hard to deposit more than $10,000 in cash, we’ll shut down money laundering.” Meanwhile, we’re going through more cocaine than Hunter Thompson in Vegas, cops are using SWAT teams to serve no-knock warrants, and people’s legal cash is being seized.

Sure, I’d love to stomp ISIS flat, with a big ol’ American boot on their neck, as they gasp their last breath, while watching us kill their pet goat. I’m not really sure that’s the best answer, anymore, though.


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87 Responses to What, if anything, do we do about ISIS/ISIL?

  • As Father Guido Sarducchi used to say, “I think we shou’ nuke ’em”!

    • Absolutely, but neutron bombs are less messy, give the nations that are funding isis a offer they can’t refuse, qatar,saudi arabia, either join us or we will nuke you, your wealthy citizens caused this mess, I want their names and addresses so we know where to put our cruise missles, if they want to be our enemy than kill em all

  • The problem here, is we keep trying to negotiate our way out of this.

    Negotiated peace usually ends up being a serious disadvantage for one side or the other. A close look at North Korea, certainly the product of a negotiated peace and of an antiwar sentiment here in the United States and back in the days of the Korean war, will demonstrate that clearly. I suggest you ask the south Koreans if they think their existence has been a peaceful one since those days. I suspect that they will not.

    Consider also, the negotiated peace of World War One, a point you rightly raise, Dale. What was negotiated, most scholars will advise us, led directly to World War Two, which was an even bigger and bloodier conflict.

    I dare to propose to you, that peace is the product of having overwhelmingly won the war, and of showing the resolve to take on all those who would disturb that peace, thus removing war as an option for them.

    Period.

    As examples of this, let’s look at Germany and Japan in the years following World War Two. I suspect and suppose that there are very few indeed who will complain that the actions and intentions of the German and Japanese peoples following World War Two, were anything but peaceful. Demonstrably, these two countries have been among the most peaceful countries on the planet, and have been stalwart friends of freedom. I suggest this is a direct result of having won the wars against Germany and Japan in overwhelming fashion, and showing a continued resolve to take it on any world power who decides for whatever reason to act unpeaceably.

    The leftist “peace” movement in this country with its call to unconditionally separate us from our ability to respond to war making is in fact exposing us to aggressors, thereby causing more bloodshed, and certainly causing a loss of freedom throughout the world. They would have us negotiating with every tin pot dictator that comes along, in the hope of avoiding bloodshed. The name of Neville Chamberlain pops into mind.

    We are in the situation we are in because we didn’t see the task through… We put someone into power who relied too heavily on diplomacy.. This early withdrawal is something that Bush warned us about, for all his faults, had the naus to warn us about.

    • You cannot negotiate with ISIS.

      But you have to negotiate what the end goal is.

      We are having problems arming the kurds already.

      Who will run Syria.

      Huge diplomatic questions.

      Kerry will be tested.

  • Blaming the US for Germany’s ‘humiliating peace’ is like blaming someone for giving up a seat on the bus for Hitler’s mother allowing her to keep her date with Hitler’s father. You’re assuming there couldn’t have been a victory eventually without us or we our somehow responsible for the moral failings of our allies. If anything the US tried to temper the allies impositions. Its an unintended consequence category at worst.

    Like Erik mentions the US took over the show for Germany after the end of WWII likely not wanting to leave its treatment as well as preventing the next World War in general up to Europe, again. Germany & Japan’s treatment by the US was exceptional, its not the norm and we won’t be afforded the same treatment if we ever lose to an opposing power.

    And the vaunted middle east stability we degraded is was a byproduct of inserted cold war era US strongmen as well as legacy strongman governments from British and other power’s machinations prior. You have to go back to the Ottoman Empire to any kind of self-instilled stable condition for the region.

    Somehow most of you yanks get psychologically damaged in school or something. The idea that the rest of the World is in some static state only moving forward in history and taking actions out of some reaction to a US action is somehow ingrained and dead wrong. The natural extension of this since most noteworthy history is negative is a presumption the world is in some utopian state and the US is the snake in the garden. Believe it or not, the US is not the wellspring of everything including the moral choices of other nations or groups.

    • The rest of the world certainly isn’t static, but most US images of the rest of the world usually includes an image of European “businessmen” going around US sanctions; almost as if the US is inviting them in.

    • I’ve read some stuff recently that suggests that “humiliating peace” trope is at least partly a myth.

      I seem to recall the war reparations were on much more humane terms than a lot of accounts suggest, etc. Wish I could recall where…

      • I’ve read some stuff recently that suggests that “humiliating peace” trope is at least partly a myth.
        I seem to recall the war reparations were on much more humane terms than a lot of accounts suggest, etc. Wish I could recall where…

        It must’ve been a fantasy novel because this is nonsense on stilts. France, by every contemporaneous account, including the accounts of the actual participants at Versailles, certainly intended the peace terms to be punitive, and to reduce Germ,any from a Great power to a second-class state. The Treaty’s announcement was almost universally unpopular in Germany, and the Germans clearly understood it to be both punitive, and, in terms of trying to eliminate Germany as a primary nation in European affairs, humiliating. At the very least, enough people believed it to vote the Nazis into holding a plurality of the seats in the Reichstag, giving Hitler the Chanchellorship.

        • Argue this point all you want but the simple fact was the Germans as a whole simply weren’t put down hard enough to take the war out of them.

        • The Treaty of Versailles confiscated 10% of Germany’s territory but left it the largest, richest nation in central Europe.

          It was largely unoccupied and financial reparations were linked to its ability to pay, which mostly went unenforced anyway.

          The treaty was notably less harsh than treaties that ended the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and World War Two. The German victors in the former annexed large chunks of two rich French provinces, part of France for between 200 and 300 years, and home to most of French iron ore production, as well as presenting France with a massive bill for immediate payment.

          After WW2 Germany was occupied, split up, its factory machinery smashed or stolen and millions of prisoners forced to stay with their captors and work as slave labourers. Germany lost all the territory it had gained after WW1 and another giant slice on top of that.

          Versailles was not harsh but was portrayed as such by Hitler, who sought to create a tidal wave of anti-Versailles sentiment on which he could then ride into power.
          http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25776836

          Lightweight, perhaps. Refute each claim, if you can, Dale.

          • *shrug* So what. Germans, on the whole, in the interwar years, believed they had been humiliated at Versailles. Practically every German political party to the right of the Social Democrats campaigned for 15 years on overturning the treaty.

            You throw these empirical figures around as if they were in any way relevant to what mainstream German thought was in the interwar years…and they just aren’t.

            In regard to Germany’s total defeat…sure it worked. Then again, the Germans didn’t, as a whole, believe that Naziism was ordained by God. You may have noticed that centuries of pogroms and inquisitions didn’t destroy Judaism. Perhaps religious beliefs are more resistant to defeat than polities and political cultures.

            You might want to examine Ireland or the former Yugoslavia for instruction on that point.

          • Wow, that was WEAK.

            All you do is tell us…without any authority in support…how Germans are SAID to have FELT.

            Empirical numbers be damned. So, according to your doctrine, NOTHING would have made any difference. If the purrrr Germans felt ill used…regardless of reality, that is what would have made a difference in causing WWII. Sorry. That’s irrational.

            Then you just veered off into total irrelevance. A red herring.

          • “Wow, that was WEAK.”

            Yet, somehow the Nazi’s used than sentiment to gain power in Germany. How terribly odd.

            We KNOW what happened in the interwar years in Germany. Don’t make doltish arguments. Read Shirer. Hell, do a Google search. Disguising your historical ignorance as contempt does you no service. Trying to handwave away the German electorate’s feelings about the Treaty of Versailles is simply dumb, and historically illiterate.

            http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/historian/hist_mommsen_02_versailles.html
            http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/CarlosTreaty.htm
            http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/germanyversailles.htm#.VBC6MfldUp8
            http://books.google.com/books?id=DZzxIL83j68C&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=germany+humiliated+versailles&source=bl&ots=WaCvxf9AoQ&sig=piOWJdqd6Yuwtoh9v1X9ShpLr3Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OroQVIy4CY30igL_hYGIAQ&ved=0CB0Q6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=germany%20humiliated%20versailles&f=false

          • Hmmm…

            So, you are going to a resort to historians who all recite the same “German butt-hurt” theory, regardless of the FACTS.

            OK. I’m good with that. Now, prove they would not have been AS butt-hurt about losing the war, and they WERE losing the war.

            THEN, you should explain the effect of the world-wide depression, and the catastrophe of the Wiemar Republic, and the cultural collapse of those years.

            NONE of that had any effect on ushering in the Nazis, huh?

            I’ll just call bullshit on your whole thesis as over-simplistic and trite.

          • Alsace and Lorraine had German speakers, and they were border provinces.

            Napoleon probably had his hand in claiming them. Yes, Napoleon the guy who marched through Germany and Prussia.

            German anger at France didn’t magically appear in 1870, and its not a coincidence Napoleon III got beaten.

          • “financial reparations were linked to its ability to pay,”

            “Versailles was not harsh but was portrayed as such by Hitler,”

            That certainly differs from what I have read.

            I doubt that Hitler convinced the German people that Versailles was harsh so much as the German people agreed with Hitler.’s characterization of it as such.

          • I again posit that Germans would have been all butt-hurt in any event.

            They were sold a HUGE bill of goods by the war-promoters at the onset of hostilities. They were by-gawd Germany, after all.

            It is just true that Germans felt…with some justification…that Germany and German ways were the crown of creation. In the day, if you were a serious student of any science or medical discipline, you HAD to read and write German. The arts were dominated by Germans, too. And German ideas about social matters were sweeping the Western world (sadly).

            They were NOT supposed to get whipped, and they had been. The Jutlands was a terrible, awful, really bad humiliation, and left them a U-boat and small craft naval war (which was not making them many friends internationally).

            The German ground offensive planning simply failed on the Western Front, and they didn’t seem able to adapt well when their offensive-loving doctrine had been stymied by the French and British. At home, real privation was felt by the populace, I think. Again, this was not how it was “supposed” to be.

            But, in the main, the Germans were still proud, and still imbued with the Germanic myth of superiority.

            The “German street” would have thought ANY resolution of the war outside of winning a treachery by the leaders who concluded it. IMNHO.

        • The basis for the Nazis went back long before (Germanic and Ayranian myths) WW1.

          WWI was a convenient excuse, but anything would have suited the Germans.

        • I once saw a photo of French troops in Germany pulling down telephone poles to bring back to France after Germany couldn’t make reparations.

          I suspect if I were German, that would anger me greatly.

    • Huh — it was just a month and a half ago when the Obama administration begged Congress to prevent it from going to war in Iraq.
      Now they say they don’t need Congress to act.

    • You’re assuming there couldn’t have been a victory eventually without us…

      I think it’s well-nigh inarguable that there wouldn’t have been, especially after Russia’s withdrawal from the war, and massive mutinies in the French army over the sheer futility of the thing.

      Its an unintended consequence category at worst.

      Yes. Those pesky unintended consequences. In fact, you could say that my entire point was about unintended consequences. Though, you seemed somehow to have missed that point.

      • You failed to mention the very successful blockade by the British Navy, and the German mutiny when they were expected to suicidally go out to try to break it.

        Why wouldn’t this have led to the same…or very similar…armistice terms as those at Versailles?

        • Because the allies were already discussing an armistice that would return Europe to status quo ante in 1917. Withdrawal of German forces from France, and restoration of the German guarantee of Belgian neutrality would have sufficed. Especially as the allies would have faced a Germany liberated from a two-front war against Russia.

          The entry of America ended those discussions, and extended the war until the kaiser’s abdication and exile to Doorn in 1918, and the subsequent German surrender.

          • The German mutiny started in 1918, too.

            Discussions do NOT an armistice make. Do they?

            I think it interesting to play “what if” games all you’d care to. But they are just games. There are WAY too many variables, though you’d like to short-circuit that for your argument, it appears. OK. Play that game! I’ll play mine, and each is equally valid.

      • EVERY fairly complex human action has unintended consequences. EVERY.DAMN.ONE.

  • The best that can be said is that the wars in the Middle East have produced better results and the War on Poverty.

  • John Hinderaker of Powerline writes:

    The problem, in my view, continues to be the difficulty of defining “success.” As the President warned, even if the new approach is “successful,” our television screens will be filled with scenes of violence. But that is precisely what, until now, has been defined as failure.
    So let’s see what happens. The administration has bought itself a window of time, at least until the 2016 campaign heats up, to try to achieve discernible signs of progress. While the new strategies sound to me like good ideas–one wonders why some of them weren’t implemented some time ago–the more important factor, I think, is sheer persistence. The President will persist; let’s all hope and pray that he succeeds.

    … Oh. Sorry. That was supposed to be “… until the 2008 campaign heats up”

  • We are not prepared to do what it takes to win, so I don’t actually support anything being done in half measures.

    They are a direct threat to us, as we will find out to our regret on Sept 11th 2017 or so. But for now i don’t support throwing around bombs simply because it polls well

    • To quote James Lileks from several years ago:

      Now I am resigned, in advance, to the loss of an American city by a nuclear weapon.

      That (among other things) is what we’re trying to stop, and half measures are not going to do it.

      • The public and political class has neither the balls nor the attention span to do it.

        I don’t think that would change even if we lost a city.

        • I disagree, based on 9/11 it will –
          Liberals will blame guns and tea partiers and Republicans in Congress and immigration (if we created more citizens people wouldn’t hate us so much, border control later)

          Congress’s answer to ‘secure our freedoms and our way of life’ will be, in short
          take away our freedoms and way of life to protect us.

          No one will be as mad as the President.

          • It will likely lead to a deeper, more encroaching police state in which targeting Muslims is even more stringently verboten (you know, so as not to piss them off and encourage them to blow up another city).

          • I have an answer they’d use if they could –
            Glass – miles and miles of glass – we can slant drill to drink the milkshakes.
            .
            And no need to worry which direction Mecca is
            because the dust will have settled EVERYWHERE.

    • As a rule (violated for Libya because of President Letme ShowI’mtough), we tend to throw around bombs based on how cute and cuddly we think the foreigners dying in droves actually are. If you can find a nation of sad looking children with big eyes, we’ll be johnny on the spot to bomb if someone steals their rice pudding.
      .
      People of generally darker skin hacking each other up while screaming in unintelligible foreign languages we tend to overlook until Bono and Sinead try and shame our leaders into getting involved. We may be inspired on our own when the death toll reaches the 10’s of thousands, but that can be iffy.

      It’s like the damn Bomber General/Marshalls won WWII. You can bomb all you like, unless you’re willing to bomb everything dead you won’t ‘win’. You’ll just be back later to do it all over again.

    • Not sure I want to save a place where THIS kind of crap can occur.
      http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/26491600/army-officer-is-told-he-cant-enter-his-daughters-high-school-because-hes-wearing-his-uniform

      24 years! ‘He might offend someone’
      JHC!

      • The school district super overruled all the lower pond-suckers. The super was a vet., too. I wonder how much this was a “Dearbornastan” effect…???

        • Now see if christians were as tolerant as the religion of peace, I’d probably be fatwa’d for the “JHC!”

    • I think I would require more information.

      Is the Iraqi army getting re-vamped? How’s the new coalition?

      There is some likelihood that the Iraqi army can be re-constituted and with our airpower and the Kurds take back everything far faster than people think.

      Then again, ISIS is doing well against Asad, too.

  • Banks.
    War Profits.
    Societal Control.

    The Rothschild’s have funded both sides of every major war in the last 250 years and profited handsomely. It’s a no-lose bet.
    So long as the military-industrial complex calls the shots, there will be shooting, there will be profits, there will be bloodshed.

  • What do we do about ISIS? My preference is nothing as long as Obama is in charge. I can’t imagine that the gang that can’t talk straight will accomplish anything constructive or effective or have a consistent policy.

  • ISIS/ISIL et. al. are the current manifested symptom of something larger.

  • To address each of your numbered points…

    1. Yes, ISIS is a threat equal to…or perhaps greater than…Saddam’s Iraq. It is supported from all over the world, where Saddam had few overt supporters (the corrupt UN bureaucrats notwithstanding). ISIS has no functional air force in the conventional sense. It doesn’t need one, and that could be shut down immediately by American air power and doctrine. I DOES have potential to BUY air assets for an attack on the US at will.

    2. The is a valid argument on both sides of the president’s ability to wage war. It has been on-going for decades. You may have a favorite position, but that does not mean a damn thing wrt which side is correct. I frankly dunno. I would seek Congressional approval if I were President, but I ALSO would act to defend the nation if I didn’t get it. You?

    3. ISIS gets support from GB, too. There are things that can, and must, be done to cut off financing that goes to ISIS wherever it is identified.

    4. We will need to kill ISIS wherever it exists.

    5. Ground troops are required.

    6. Israel does all it can. If Jordan is involved, Israel will have to deal with THAT threat, too, in addition to all the others it has to juggle. WTF does that have to do with us?

    7. I’d be delighted to use Iranians as cannon fodder in this fight.

    8. No. You kill one threat at a time. There is no way in hell to foreclose another threat from arising. But you kill the threat. Sinto imperialism never made a come-back, did it?

    9. ISIS seems to be doing a good job creating “Arab resentment”. Millions of refugees are displaced. Yes, killing jihadists on THAT ground is FAR superior to giving them the assets and leisure to plan and execute operations here.

    10. How much for WWII? This is an idea that has to be drummed into the minds of MODERN Americans. We are in a LONG war. We CAN shorten it by fighting it the ways we fought WWII, which means much less dainty ideas of the way wars need to be fought.

    11. No. Both have to be done. “Blood” needs not be spilled on the border or in our ports. A lot of vigilance, yes. That also does not require much treasure. But merely defensive stuff won’t be enough.

    12. According to your argument…that is questionable. So is your argument. Would a resurgent Islamism have been a success without the U.S. in the region? We WERE in the region, as were the British and French. Your argument truncated history rather badly.

    13. Dunno. Nobody could say that with any certitude. What if Saddam had swept into Saudi Arabia and the Emirates? What if he had developed nuclear weapons or bought them and ballistic missile capacity…or just con-cans on ships? What if he’d been displaced by really bad Islamists? Maybe fun for a novel, otherwise a vacuous exercise, IMNHO.

    14. Yes, it is the result of stupid, delusional thinking on the part of Barracula. Had he left a force in Iraq, ISIS could have been stopped by now. ALSO, had he been less virulently ANTI-American and ANTI-war, he could have fostered an international resolve to sustain the infant Iraqi government that would have been HIGHLY useful in killing the ISIS hatchling.

    Hope the clears things up for you…!!! 🙂

    • So, I’ll just put you on the list to put 20 million men in uniform, shall I? I mean, if we’re gonna do the whole “fight like WWII” deal against 1 billion Muslims…

      I’m getting a real “land war in Asia” vibe about this whole thing.

      • You DO remember how we got into the Japanese land war in Asia thingy, right, Dale?

        (Hint: we sat on our hands until we were attacked on our soil, and our Pacific Fleet all but disabled.)

        I like that whole “proactive” idea within bounds. BTW, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT as far as your snarky crap about the uniform. I’d wear it again, too.

        • Actually, I was thinking of Korea and Vietnam. Nice try, though. it’s as effective as your denial of modern German history.

          • Well, be clear. I can’t read your mind, especially when you are playing a game.

            Did we lose in Korea? Did we lose in Vietnam? Not militarily. And in NEITHER were we fighting the way we warred in WWII, either. True or not true?

            Are we constrained in fighting ISIS the way we were when we had to worry about Chinese and Soviet nuclear war?

            I dun tink so, Luuuuucy. Different or the same?

          • YOUR version of modern German history…??? Yeah. I WILL deny that. I’m no more prone to eat your bullshit than anybody’s. Call me a contrarian.

          • Did we lose in Korea? Did we lose in Vietnam?

            Is there still a N. Korea? Does the Kin family still run it? Does S. Vietnam have a government?

            Are we constrained in fighting ISIS the way we were when we had to worry about Chinese and Soviet nuclear war?

            *shrug* so how many Americans are we gonna have to put in uniform to fight it like WWII? How many years of occupation should we prepare for? How much rationing should we prepare for as we turn civilian production to military production? How do we pay for it?

            After all, you seem like a guy whose got it all figured out.

          • YOUR version of modern German history…??? Yeah. I WILL deny that. I’m no more prone to eat your bullshit than anybody’s. Call me a contrarian.

            You misspelled “dolt”.

          • *shug*

            We don’t fight anything like we did in WWII with massed troop concentrations. Do we, Dale?

            Haven’t we developed much more lethal, much smaller formation war-fighting doctrine? Yes or no, Dale.

        • “(Hint: we sat on our hands until we were attacked on our soil, and our Pacific Fleet all but disabled.)”

          Hint: Beginning in 1939 we abrogated the 1911 Commercial Treaty, engaged in an embargo on Japan, denied them petroleum and industrial metals, and froze all Japanese assets in the US.

          “Sat on our hands”, indeed.

          • And how effective was any of that, Dale? Did it stop Japanese imperialism anywhere?

            You really need to stop now. You raised some good, thought-provoking issues. There aren’t going to be a lot of people who will agree with the idea that ISIS should be left to do what they want until they’re in a position to really bring it to us. I am one.

          • Yeah, ’cause you think we should have been fine with that whole Manchukoa thing.

            Is it only in international relations, Dale, that you don’t think actions should see incentives and disincentives?

            Or with your idiocy about market failures, is it really everything you think whould be planned?

            How long will it be before you go all Charles “Chuckles”Johnson (Little Green Footballs) on us?

      • I’m just putting in an opinion here, but I think ISIS has horrified some in the Islamic world. I think that’s a good thing in many ways.

        Its also made some other people wake up and wonder if maybe Islam isn’t the religion of peace after all. This is also good.

      • So we’ll just put you down for not having civilian control of the military.

        The chickenhawk argument is morally when Code Pink does it.

        You too, Franks.

        • Ok the phrase is “morally bankrupt” how does voice to text delete a word?
          I suppose I should be glad it didn’t turn it into “burnt turnip”.

  • ” Sinto imperialism never made a come-back, did it?”

    (Shinto?) No, and there’s another reason for that: the American occupation FORBADE teaching it in Japanese schools.

    • Not gonna happen with Islam. That’s the religion of peace you know.

    • I don’t think that’s correct. Shinto as the state religion was ended. It is still practiced in several nations, including Japan.

      • you’re right:

        “Such processes continued to deepen until the Sh­õwa period, when State Shinto became a main force of militarism, finally coming to an abrupt halt in August 1945 when Japan lost the war. On 1 January 1946.

        After World War II, the Allied Occupation separated Shinto and the state and this break was written into the new constitution…
        The emperor issued a statement renouncing all claims to divinity and the use of Shinto symbols for nationalistic purposes was forbidden…”

        http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/religion/shinto.html

      • Islam, for all practical purposes, IS the state in many Islamic countries.

        • And what’s funny is that it has gotten WORSE over the last four or five decades, displacing modernist, secular cultures in many Muslim nations. Seems some kinda madness cycles around every so often.

          • Yeah, there was a photo of some students at a Cairo college – back in the 70’s there were girls in shorts no less – a more recent photo shows fewer women, now in burqas.

          • I’ve seen photos of 60-70s Afghanistan with kids shopping for Beatles records with the girls wearing totally Western dress and the guys in flat-tops. Could’ve been Birmingham or Seville.

      • The Japanese Constitution;
        “Article 20. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.
        No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.
        The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.”

        I’d say that last sentence is a prohibition of teaching Shinto in public schools.

  • The NYTimes site had this : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/world/middleeast/tim-arango-iraq-reddit-questions.html

    Q. How do you rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq? — eragon38

    It’s not my job to rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq. But I will tell you that after 2011, the administration basically ignored the country. And when officials spoke about what was happening there, they were often ignorant of the reality. They did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left Iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012, as violence was escalating, I wrote a story, citing U.N. statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s national security guy, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor saying that violence was near historic lows. That was not true. Even after Falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about Mr. Maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. So there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of Mosul — that Iraq was collapsing.

  • Dale: You misspelled “dolt”.

    Looks like I win in the exchange of rational opinion.

    Surprising. And disappointing.

    • Then you probably should deny obvious historical facts. That simply proves you can’t be argued with rationally. Your choice.

      • No, Dale. I won’t accept your predicates, and I’ve stated why. That just galls the shit out of you.

        Sorry, pard. Deal with it.

  • After your second paragraph, I would like to have seen the chain of consequences continue to the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe and the Cold War. (I’ll continue reading….)

  • So basically only show measures will be taken until the public gets bored with the show and it starts to poll badly.

    Seems about right for this public.

    Thread over ?

  • 1. Saddam Hussein was unlikely to sanction any effort on American soil which could be traced to him, for fear of our doing something effective with him. Like the Taliban being uncaring of exactly what binLaden was planning–or actively participating in what bin Laden was planning–ISIS left to develop will be a nation which strikes us here, and maybe with more effect and imagination that AlQaeda managed.

    2. Because generically they expect the executive to deal with quickly emerging threats.

    3. Saudi Arabia supplies no funds to ISIS at this time, and arrests its citizen who evade its restrictions. To the extent as a matter of maintaining contacts and minor influence contra Iran, Saudi directly supports ISIS, I’m fine with giving them a bye–their counterterrorism efforts have in other ways been exemplary.

    4. 100%, any place we chose not to go, they will refuge and fester.

    5. What’s substantial?

    6. How do you know they aren’t. Why shouldn’t suppose we are ISIS’s primary external focus–they likely have been told by Iran that Iran’s nukes are the plan for Tel Aviv.

    7. Iranian influence in Shia Iraq only became unacceptable owing to the power vacuum we left behind by improvidently leaving.

    8. What is the desired end state of US intervention against ISIS? Mustn’t it not simply be ISIS’ defeat, but also foreclose the rise of future ISI-like groups, lest we gain nothing but a little time?

    9. Forget Arab resentment, it’s Moslem resentment, and their approach to the West has been the same for 1400 years, kill and conquer us when they can, gather strength when they can’t. Don;t you know any history!

    10. Either we are wiling to do what can work, or they win.

    11. No, because the bomber always gets through. Again, don’; you know any history!

    12. Far less, we left a power vacuum. We shouldn’t have.

    13. Same as 12. Again, don’t you know any history.

    14. The current situation is 100% the result of Obama’s not forcing an acceptable SoF on Iraq which kept us there in strength for decades.

    “Frankly, the result of American intervention in the Mideast seems to have accomplished little.”

    That’s because we abandoned our gains.

    I’m honestly ashamed for you Franks, that you wrote this sh!t.

    • I hope you’ll excuse my typos, I posted in a bit of ahste.

      You irritated me immensely with your thought/perception free post.

      • I found it to be thought provoking.

        1. In what way is ISIS a greater threat, or indeed as much of a threat, as Saddam Hussein was from 1991 to 2003?

        ISIS is a potential threat – higher than Saddam in terms of terrorist attack, and maybe even higher in terms of affecting the oil supply if they were to grow in Saudi Arabia. But I agree that beyond the terror threat, the other is far more hypothetical.

        2. Why are both Republicans and Democrats willing to cede the President the authority to intervene in the Mideast again, without explicit Congressional approval?

        Short term politics. Its really weird.

        3. What do we accomplish by intervening in Iraq, and not in Saudi Arabia, from whence ISIS receives funding? Indeed, what do we accomplish at all without cutting of Saudi money to fundamentalists? How do we cut that money off?

        ISIS is funded by Qatar actually, which is amazing because we have a frickin’ base there!

        4. How likely is it that intervention against ISIS in Iraq will require intervention in Syria to defeat ISIS?

        100% likely.

        5. How likely is it to defeat ISIS without a substantial ground presence of American combat troops?

        This is the crux. Can we get an Arab coalition? Can we fix the Iraqi army? Can we use the Kurds I’m betting we have tons of trainers right now figuring this out. We are not totally without experience in this arena.

        6. If ISIS is such a threat, why isn’t Israel doing anything about them?

        Because they are keeping Syria and Iran busy? ISIS is a godsend in some ways. For now. If they took over Jordan? Not so much.

        7. How much of ISIS’ existence is part of a proxy war between Sunni states against Iran, especially as the end result of US intervention was increased Iranian influence in largely Shi’a Iraq?

        That is a complicated question.

        8. What is the desired end state of US intervention against ISIS? Mustn’t it not simply be ISIS’ defeat, but also foreclose the rise of future ISI-like groups, lest we gain nothing but a little time?

        Yes. If we really want to do this, and I’m not sure its a good idea, we would be back to pre-2011 where we have to have constant presence, though maybe not ground troops. Obama was so stupid he actually pulled out our intel people in 2011. We stopped having intel people in Iraq and sharing with Iraq. This seems incredibly stupid.

        9. Does “fighting them over there” actually make us safer from ISIS over here, or does it simply exacerbate Arab resentment, increasing the chance of terror attacks against the US?

        This time I am not so sure. Somehow between 2011 and now, ISIS has managed to make Americans look like good guys. This is part of the reason this intervention is popular – inexplicably, ISIS has rehabilitated Americans soliders as do-gooders. I find it bizarre that some crazy killings and few beheadings makes ISIS scarier than AQI was…oh, and by the way, the pro-Baath insurgents linked up with them. These are the same guys we were fighting, with more foreigners added in. Now they become worthwhile bad guys/enemies instead of heroic freedom fighters to the media.

        THE FRENCH ARE JOINING THE FIGHT THIS TIME FOR GOD’S SAKE!

        10. How much blood and treasure are we willing to spend, and for what length of time, are we willing to commit to this intervention?

        I don’t know, but we should be aware we have other commitments in Europe and Asia that cannot be put on-hold while we do this…

        11. Would spending that blood and treasure in increasing border and port security have a greater effect on ensuring our security than military intervention?

        Actually, I think killing those guys with drones and air power probably is more effective.

        12. Has the region become more or less stable since America began intervening in the Mideast in 1991?

        This is hard to assess because several dictators were aging. Saddam and Mubarak cannot live infinite lives. Once they die, you can get a lot of instability. Also, someone else noted that Saddam himself often lost control of parts of his country, as did Asad Sr. The regimes appear stable but are not that stable.

        13. Has the threat from the region increased or decreased since 1991?

        I actually think anything that makes the Arabs in-fight and keep on their toes is good. ISIS ideologically is a bigger threat to the Saudis, but militarily less so.

        14. Is the current situation the result of the current president’s inaction, or rather, the result of entirely too much action over the past few decades?

        Definitely inaction. We should have kept some troops in Iraq and definitely our intel people.

        And let’s face it. If we had started bombing in November 2013, we would have disrupted ISIS’s Mosul offensive. That was not some spontaneous campaign but massively pre-planned. If you’re busy dodging drones you aren’t having time to plan offensives.

        That said, at some point you have to truly leave or truly stay. Obama has a big decision.

        • A couple of points…

          ISIS is doing quite well funding itself, it would seem.

          The U.S. seems to be inadvertently funding ISIS rather briskly. There was a blub up yesterday about 43 brand new Toyota trucks we provided to the Syrian whatevers that wound up in ISIS hands.

          Which sorta undercuts that whole “coalition with…” BS that Barracula was peddling last night and for some time.

          • I think the Qatari funding was more important in the early days. But Saudis and UAE are not happy about it. So, its something.

            I agree that the “moderate” rebels in Syria are a big problem.

    • 14. The current situation is 100% the result of Obama’s not forcing an acceptable SoF on Iraq which kept us there in strength for decades.

      How dare those bloody wogs act as if they have a sovereign government empowered to make its own decisions!

      Forget Arab resentment, it’s Moslem resentment, and their approach to the West has been the same for 1400 years, kill and conquer us when they can, gather strength when they can’t. Don;t you know any history!

      Yeah. See there are about a billion Moslems. So, how many million Americans will we need to put into uniform to fight the Muslim world? Because if your answer is true, then we’ll need to do that.

      Maybe you’re not the poster boy for thought/perception.

      • The Iraqis wanted us to remain, Dale. Don’t you read?

      • “How dare those bloody wogs act as if they have a sovereign government empowered to make its own decisions!”

        Yes, how dare they? How dare you think they owe their sovereignty to any good use they’ve put it, as opposed to our blood and treasure–which use in fact well merited our killing them until they quit, and recently at that.

        “Yeah. See there are about a billion Moslems. ”

        And if we don’t do something effective about them at their worst–like you want us not to do with ISIL–then either we change that number substantially downward, or they win.

        “Maybe you’re not the poster boy for thought/perception.”

        Says the fool who thinks market failures are real things…

  • I liked this wording I came up with, so I will repeat it:

    ISIS is a bigger ideological threat but a smaller military threat to the region.

    Also, I think I’m getting the common masses viewpoint:

    Any mass killing of civilians out in public and on camera is bad.

    So Qadaffi has to go, ISIS, etc.

    Saddam doing it off-camera in a cell block…no biggie. North Korea, also off camera in camps.

    Israel on camera in Gaza = bad. America in Iraq/Afghanistan = on camera thus, bad.

    I still don’t get the sudden anger at beheading Foley.

    Uh, Daniel Pearl? Killed by the hand of KSM who we “tortured” afterwards – GOOD HE DESERVED IT.

    Berg in Iraq? Beheaded by Al-Zarkawi, AQI’s head. A sign we should leave Iraq.

    But you behead a journo when Obama’s president – well, that’s unacceptable! (Or was it the constant other executions on camera and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back?)

  • I’m going to add a few other facts I have gleaned from the radio:

    1) Obama not only pulled our troops, he also pulled all intel cooperation with Iraq. This is why he (and Iraq) was blindsided by the IS surge.

    2) Saudi Arabia and the UAE both recalled their ambassadors from Qatar because Qatar funds ISIS. Saudis have since sent back their ambassador. UAE has not. (Methinks Dubai would not do so well under IS control.) UAE also bombed in Libya. I find that interesting indeed.