Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just Stop That

Our mission in Iraq, as best as I can tell, is to defend the Iraqi government by defeating ISIL. So the question of whether we will or should commit our ground troops to combat is not a matter of "mission creep."

Just stop writing this:

Obama has ordered 1,600 soldiers to Iraq since Islamic State fighters swept into the country in June but is seeking to avoid mission creep as he cobbles together an international coalition to "degrade and destroy" the jihadists who want to form of a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.

It is not mission creep to commit US ground forces to degrade and destroy ISIL any more than D-Day was mission creep in our attempt to force the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

Mission creep is when you send in troops to Somalia to feed starving people and gradually start to think of the mission as creating a viable Somali state without really discussing that much greater mission and the means to achieve it (let alone the wisdom of attempting that larger mission).

So stop that inappropriate use of the term "mission creep." What is going on is a debate about means to achieve the objective.

Perhaps what we should be debating is whether a policy of gradual escalation to achieve a mission just gives an enemy time to adjust to our increased means of achieving the same objective.