Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hitting Them Where It Hurts

This is a pretty interesting read. To hear R politicians tell it, not only is ISIS about ready to jump out of your closet and slit your throat while simultaneously imposing Sharia law at your local 7-11, President Obama isn't doing a damn thing about it. The article shows otherwise.

Of course, the R talking points are all about scaring the shit out of people, and lying about the president, because what else is there for them to run on? (Surely not Drumpf's "new" health care plan, which is a rehash of boilerplate R ideas, based, among other insignificant things, on tax breaks for people to whom tax breaks are meaningless.) It's always been ridiculous on its face to consider ISIS some sort of existential threat, even if they pulled off the occasional isolated attack somewhere. Nevertheless, the article highlights the fact that not only is Obama not doing nothing, the somethings he's doing are pretty effective, given the complexities, and the fact that "boots on the ground" will make things worse, other than as a Trump/Cruz/Rubio demonstration of testosterone-fuelled superficiality. From the article:

... If ISIS is weaker, why havent the array of forces on the ground, particularly in Iraq, backed by dozens of daily airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, made more headway inten months? The U.S. goal is to shrink the core of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria,” but that still seems a very long way off. 
From where it was in the summer of 2014, ISIL has lost forty per cent of its territory in Iraq. It’s lost Tikrit, an iconic Sunni city. It lost Ramadi. It’s lost its connections between Mosul and Syria, losing Sinjar and a number of critical road connections. ISIL is increasingly shrinking. It takes time. It takes intelligence. It takes relationships. It takes ourselves getting established and re√ęstablishing networks, which we had to do...
And as to finances:

... We assessed that ISIL was taking in about a billion dollars a year: five hundred million dollars in oil and gas and five hundred million in other forms of revenue—taxes, extortion, antiquities, kidnapping. You have to go at it two ways. In the latter pot, you have to take away their territory. In the former pot, we have to determine how they are getting oil out of the ground, how they are moving it around, where it is going, and then how we can effectively target that. It took a great deal of very hard, very detailed intelligence work about how this is all working. It’s not as easy as, “Oh, let’s just go out and bomb the trucks.” That’s not going to be effective. We really wanted to rip out the spine of their ability to generate revenue...
It's a pretty good read. Not that there's no threat; still, as one who believes strongly that sending in troops, or carpet bombing, or "killing their families," as we hear from the nutjobs of the right, will only make things worse, it's reassuring.

[Image source]


Smoothtooperate said...

I am just a grunt Marine. But it's an easy call. Sending American troops into middle eastern war zones is futile. Asking American troops to commit war crimes is insane.

We should do our part. We should not do the whole thing by ourselves for 1.5 decades and trillions of dollars and American lives and wounded and...

The wannabee soldiers in this country love to be the first to scream war and the last to fight. Hiding under a blue tarp is not fighting. Hijacking school buses full of young children is not fighting. Guarding recruiting stations is not fighting. Raiding cabins for 'pickanik baskets' from Ranger Rick is not fighting(It's Yogi Bear and Boo Boo).

All of that stuff and more is the opposite of fighting. Nobody who's actually doing the job needs that crap. The problem is tough enough to solve w/o grandiose pretend warriors insert themselves forcibly, w/o invitation or warning into the situation.

That said...Dressing up in their duck hunting suits seemed to be a great way to get free McDonald's happy meals.

Sidney Schwab said...

What he said.

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