Monday, November 16, 2015

What kind of half-assed war are we fighting?

Has our military gone all squishy between the ears or is it their civilian handlers who are too busy playing with dolls to conduct a proper war? 

Think about it....Al Qaeda is admittedly hard to hit.  They are a rag-tag group of individuals with small arms.  They can duck into a building or a hut or a cave anywhere to escape the prying eyes of aerial surveillance.  If you can't see 'em, it's hard to hit 'em.  But the terrorist group ISIS isn't Al Qaeda.  ISIS owns territory.  They have tanks and trucks.  They control producing oil fields that make millions of dollars (?) to fund their operations.

It seems to me it should be be a fairly simple thing to see a tank in ISIS territory.  If you see a tank, and it isn't one of ours or our allies, it's theirs.  Push the damn button!  Boom!

They have convoys, complete with flags.  Push the damn button!  Boom!

They even have victory parades.  Push the damn button!  Boom!  *I know, I know....collateral damage*

This morning I read this:  "Our spokesperson Colonel (Steve) Warren previously stated that we were going to start going after ISIL's financial abilities."  

"START" to go after ISIS financial abilities?  Shouldn't we have done that on the first hour of the first day of our "war" with ISIS?

Have you ever seen a producing oil well?  They're NOT stealthy.  They have pump jacks, and storage tanks, and pipelines, and manifolds.  If it's in territory ISIS controls, it's theirs.  Push the damn button!  BOOM!

Yesterday French bombers attacked ISIS command and control facilities, weapons depots, training facilities, etc in their "capital" of Raqqa, Syria.  We shared our intelligence information with the French identifying the target's locations.   So if we knew where they were, why didn't WE bomb them weeks / months ago?   

Even the hacker group Anonymous has jumped in:   "Anonymous said Sunday that more than 2,000 ISIS-related Twitter accounts had been taken down in Operation Paris (#OpParis)."  So ISIS has had 2,000 Twitter accounts open until now and we didn't take them down?  Anonymous can find them but we can't?  REALLY?

If I'm going to get in a fight with someone, I'm NOT going to just flick 'em on the ear.  No, I'm going to hit 'em square in the face as hard as I can.  "Fair" and "war" don't belong in the same sentence.  I would lie, cheat, and steal to win and get it over with.

I'll admit I'm not a military man.  If any of you are, and can tell me why we haven't been fighting this "war" with a 100% effort, I'd like to hear from you.  As it is now, I just don't get it.



  1. The short answer is: I don’t know. But remember that Islamic State is CLAIMING territory in Syria and Iraq. They have vehicles and weapons there. They’re not a country. They don’t have a capital. They appear to be pretty mobile. And of course they are moving among civilians – the Syrians who are being killed in the fighting, and who are (and have been) fleeing the area. Where are they getting their oil money from? Again, I don’t know, but I’m assuming that those oil wells are not literally owned by or are being operated by IS.
    Also Syria does have a government. They are fighting rebels and the rebels are fighting them – as far as I know this is a completely distinct conflict. For example the Russians are backing Assad, while the West is not (though the West are not too keen on toppling Assad either, having at last learned the lesson about power vacuums being filled by the Wrong People). Remember that while we tend to think of the fighting as being us versus them, there are several groups involved, and some (the Kurds, for example) are regarded as our allies – or at least we have a common enemy.
    And I doubt very much if the matter is as simple as we are sometimes led to believe. Remember the US airstrike on a Medicins sans Frontiers hospital that killed many aid workers and patients at Kunduz? That was in Afghanistan, but it’s still an example of how things can go appallingly wrong, modern technology or not. The bombing went on for more than half an hour, despite officials raising the alarm, with an AC-130 circling the area gunning down anyone who attempted to flee. Not a very nice business, even if it was a mistake.

    In recent days I have tried to follow what’s going on, but it’s hellishly complicated, which is presumably why there’s not been a simple “Hey, let’s invade Syria and Iraq. That will solve the problem!”

    The link below may help give some idea of the complexity of the matter.

    1. Thanks for the link, Simon. You're right, the order of battle in the region is ridiculously complicated, but the one constant is that they ALL hate ISIS....ISIS has no allies. Nothing is simple, particularly something like regional power in the Mid East. And of course ISIS isn't a formal country, and they don't have a capital in the Western sense, but they do control territory, and Raqqa is generally considered to be their "home base". The down side to controlling territory is that you also have to ADMINISTER territory....keep the lights on, pick up the trash, make payroll for public workers, etc. All that takes money, and from what I've read, in addition to extorting the locals into paying exorbitant "taxes", ISIS relies on oil revenues from the oil fields they control. Yes, taking out their oil revenues may cause hardship for some in the region, but given the choice of creating a hardship for some or forfeiting the lives of others (Parisians and whoever is next), I'd save the lives.

      Combatants must have both the will to fight and the MEANS to fight. Making their lives miserable might diminish their will to fight, and destroying as much of their hardware as possible should reduce their means to wage war. We're not going to get every single Kalashnikov, I realize that, but I'd take away their heavy armament and make them walk. We should do as much as we can as soon as we can. That's all I'm saying.

    2. You’re right, of course. It just seems that whatever is done, ordinary people – men, women and children who want no part in this power struggle – will suffer. But such is humanity. We will always have wars, and it is always the weakest and most vulnerable who will suffer most. And of course to add to this, as you’ve already pointed out, people are now starting to hate the refugees too.

  2. No matter what we do in that area it will be wrong, so as long as we are going to do the wrong thing anyway we should choose where ever possible pushing the damn button. Unless of course that would offend someone.

    And in case you are an ignorant racist I feel the need to remind everyone that not all Muslims are terrorists, some are nice people. You just can not stress that enough!

  3. Sure looks like a U.S. tank those ISIS guys are parading around in.

    1. True, much of their equipment is stuff we left behind for our Iraqi allies, which they in turn abandoned. But we should know where our allies in the theater are operating, and if we see a tank in an area where our allies aren't....BOOM!

    2. Agree. Just a damn shame to blow up what we paid for. Lesson not learned.

    3. Lesson NOT learned? Of course not. We have always enjoyed re-inventing the wheel.

  4. Replies
    1. Not sure what that means. 'Splain, please.