Thursday, May 11, 2017

Seven Months into a Compassionate Battle

The battle for Mosul is slow. Why? Because we and our allies don't go along with our enemies who are brutal thugs who should be killed whenever they can be separated from the human shields they use.

It takes time to defeat an enemy that fights contrary to the rules of war:

The Islamic State fighters herded a group of civilians into a house in the city of Mosul and locked them inside as Iraqi forces advanced. Moments later, the militants entered through a window, lay low for a few minutes, then fired their weapons. ...

What the militants did not realize was that U.S. advisers partnered with Iraqi troops were watching the whole thing on an aerial drone feed. No air strike was called - and the propaganda coup Islamic State would have reaped from the deaths of innocent people was averted.

The ISIL gunmen fired and then fled to an adjoining building through a mouse hole carved in the wall.

The enemy's ploy didn't work--this time. But if it had worked the usual "human rights" groups would have wrongly (but enthusiastically) slammed America and Iraq rather than ISIL for the deaths.

The battle for Mosul has gone on longer than I expected. ISIL's morale to fight and die has regenerated after many retreats from cities in Iraq that led me to wonder about their morale.

On the other hand, the plan was so long in the making that morale had time to recover, the Iraqis interdicted lines of retreat, and the Iraqi offensive has failed to stress out the defenders sufficiently by attacking with more speed and from unexpected directions.

But in the world we live in, more casualties per day over a shorter period of time had the offensive gone faster will never be seen as superior to a longer offensive with fewer deaths per day that ultimately results in more dead.

Ah, nuance and false compassion.