Sunday, April 17, 2016

Colonel Warren Gets to Enjoy His Job

This Department of Defense briefing on operations in Iraq and Syria had an exchange with a reporter that I hope Colonel Warren enjoyed as much as I did.

First the Question:

That -- does the pressure [on ISIL] that they're taking in Iraq, especially and in Syria, does that not force more cells of fighters into North Africa and Europe?

Ah, the stupid that will not die. Here we get more of the "fighting jihadis just creates more jihadis" nonsense. So the assumption behind the question is that it would be better to let the jihadis be secure in their haven and that they will be more likely to remain there.

Like they did in Afghanistan in 2001, I suppose.

And to Hell with the people that have to live under ISIL rule. Now that's compassion.

Anyway, on April 13th, Colonel Warren got to address that bizarre and stupid notion rather than go back to his office and complain about the stupid:

We're talking about systematically dismantling all of their systems. Whether it's the ability to generate weapons, generate money, build truck bombs, command and control themselves, communicate amongst each other and to hold a controlled territory. Remember, ISIL, it exists to be a so-called caliphate. Right? So as we gobble up more and more territory, they are less and less of a caliphate until eventually they won't be one anymore. Then they'll just be another group of terrorists, which is a different problem set, fair enough.

But it is a significantly reduced problem set that an organization that has safe haven in an area where they can sit and freely plan their external operations around the world. So this idea that somehow by beating them that they're becoming more dangerous is, in my view, ludicrous. I mean, it's stupid. Nobody is really thinking about it.

The problem is, a lot of people outside of the military do indeed really think exactly that, notwithstanding the stupidity.

In reality, as I've often mentioned, fighting ineffectively creates more jihadis. And while I remain frustrated that we are taking too long to defeat ISIL, we do seem to have inflicted serious damage on ISIL in Iraq, we have taken back territory, and I do think ISIL's high water mark was the seizure of Ramadi last summer.

I just wish we'd wrap up producing PowerPoint presentations about the perfect plan to inflict a killing blow on the ground against ISIL and get on with their destruction as a proto-caliphate.

Sadly, because of a strange ideology of belief, we are in a long war to fight Islamist killers.

And the ability of jihadis to fight to the death makes it longer, too.

Anyway, my thanks to Colonel Warren. I enjoyed that. I hope he did, too.