Showing posts from August, 2014

We have met the enemy and he is us; how bumbling created ISIS

Air Force General Curtis LeMay, whose successful leadership in the World War II air war against Japan and Germany, made him an iconic figure in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. He has been often been quoted as having said, “We should bomb Vietnam back into the stone age”. The general later denied having said this, but nevertheless  it represents an attitude in modern American military thought that wars can be won through air power without ground troops.  One problem was that Vietnam was more or less in the stone age already.
If the US feels it can win a struggle with ISIS primarily with air-power, it should consider the lessons of Vietnam (even with troops on the ground and a major air campaign, the war can be lost against an indigenous and highly motivated enemy) and more recently the record of air war in Libya (you can pound them all you want from the air and still end up with a complete mess).
The ground keeps shifting under the feet of the United States in the Middle East. They kn…

Mosul and Gaza: Genocide is the continuation of politics by other means.

Carl von Clauswitz was a 19th century Prussian strategist and theorist of warfare. He stated that war is the continuation of politics by other means. Now in the 20th and 21st centuries the line between warfare and genocide has been blurred, but it is clear that the wholesale use of terror and murder to gain the goals of a political movement or a state have generally been seen as beyond the pale of civilized behavior.

ISIS, or the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria, has used wholesale murder of Shiites, Alewites, Yazidis, and Christians, as well as anyone that opposed its aims to gain territory and power over resident populations. It has just turned its genocidal tactics against Kurds in the vicinity of Mosul and is posed to unleash floods of water on Iraqi cities below the critical dam it has just captured. The reputation of the Peshmerga, the formidable armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan has been tarnished by defeats by ISIS.

Israel also, seems to have allowed the distinction between milita…