June 1, 2015

"Presuming ISIS is ever defeated, no peace can be sustained if Iraqis aren’t committed to preserving it."

Key line in a NYT editorial.

I think it means: There's no point in defeating ISIS.

66 comments:

Humperdink said...

Why don't we just accept the US is completely befuddled on how to deal with this mess.

> Troops are out.
> Bombing just delays the inevitable.
> Peace talks are laughable (see Iran).
> Locals are spineless.
> Containment is just rhetoric.

clint said...

Pity the poor NYT editorial board. ISIS takes over a couple of major cities. The Obama administration announces they'll be staying the course. How are the NYT editors supposed to defend that except by suggesting that there's no point in fighting evil?

They're not even entirely wrong. Look at all the effort we put into Iraq in the last decade -- only to have it all frittered away by those who weren't committed to preserving it. (Reasonable people might disagree over whether those uncommitted folk live in Baghdad or D.C., of course.)

AReasonableMan said...

There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war, which it increasingly appears to be. The only solution will be a negotiated truce between the Sunnis and Shia, which is their responsibility, not ours.

MikeR said...

Missing the point. The key to defeating ISIL is to make them less impressive to young Muslims, by crushing it whenever it appears to succeed.
Radical Islam is a movement, not an organization. It will grow when it looks strong; it will wither when it looks pathetic.

rhhardin said...

The bright spot is that the NYT notices something wrong with ISIS, if only by the reader's inference.

Cornroaster said...

(Reasonable people might disagree over whether those uncommitted folk live in Baghdad or D.C., of course.)

Or both...

Fen said...

Defeated? ISIS is looking better and better every day. When they come to America, one of the first things they will do is decapitate all the "journalists" at the NYTs. I think that's a good start.

Then the gays.

Then the feminists.

Hey, I was all "live and let live" until the Left started playing their perpetual culture war. Having ISIS end all that may be an actual improvement.

Tank said...

AReasonableMan said...

There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war


When you look at the throwing gays off the top of buildings and "marrying off" ten year olds, etc, well, it's more than just a civil war (not that that might not be part of it).

This, and other Muslim radical problems, do not fit neatly into the old state vs state paradigm. We'll need some thoughtfulness to address it. But it must be addressed.

I'm pretty sure the metadata from my phone calls isn't the way to go.

SJ said...

@AReasonableMan,

It's an odd civil war that involves the same force fighting the governments of both Syria and Iraq.

Michael K said...

"The only solution will be a negotiated truce between the Sunnis and Shia, which is their responsibility, not ours."

Yes, it has only been 1300 years and a truce seems to be a reasonable option, unless of course you are a Muslim.

The fact that collateral damage, in the form of Christians and Yazidis, are being massacred is of no interest to ARM.

We had a reasonable chance to bring Muslims into the 20th century, maybe even the 21st, and Obama and the Democrats walked away. Iraq was the best possibility for a modern Arab state. We had gotten to a truce of sorts and all it would have taken is the same presence we have in Germany and South Korea. The political left wouldn't have it. "Neo-Colonialism" or something.

Instead, Obama has hit upon the brilliant policy of importing the Muslim civil war into the US with 30,000 Syrians.

Humperdink said...

I think ISIS has to chuckle when they see the opposition as JF Kerry on bicycle. Must terrify them.

Sebastian said...

"no peace can be sustained if Iraqis aren’t committed to preserving it."

Can it be sustained if US Progs aren't committed to preserving it?

"I think it means: There's no point in defeating ISIS."

Just wait till they discover that IS has a rape culture. Progs will volunteer for duty in droves.

Peace can only be "sustained" and "preserved" if one side loses first, big time.

The short-term question for the US is not about peace but about which side's crushing is better for us.


The Drill SGT said...

One needs to decouple the spinelessness of the Iraqi leadership and ISIL.

ISIL has declared that it is at war with us and the West. Regardless of IRAQ's ability to defend its lands, we have a problem.

Spinelessness WRT ISIL reverberates throughout all our relations with the rest of the world. When the lion is shown to be toothless, the Jackals circle.

F the worms in Baghdad. Go with winners, Arm the Kurds and let them go kick some ISIL butt. Our SF guys managed to partner with the Northern Alliance, which was a lot weaker than the Kurds to toss the Taliban out of Kabul in 6 weeks or so. Some weapons, some trainers, and some tactical controllers and the Kurds can handle anything ISIL has. Not to seize Sunni lands, but protect their own.

PS: The Kurds for some reason like us a lot, given how we have treated them over the last 25 years, I'm not sure why...

The Drill SGT said...

Iraq was the best possibility for a modern Arab state.

M, I don't often disagree, have you forgotten Jordan? It doesn't get much press because things seem to work there.

Curious George said...

Why are we still taking about this JV team?

Coupe said...

Like Ireland, people will kill each other until they decide one day, that their tribe and branch of religion is as screwed-up as the tribe they are fighting against.

Being the leader of a nation of peasants is kind of a shit-job.

PB said...

They might feel differently fairly soon when ISIS teams start forming and growing here. And they will.

Obama calculates that one unified Muslim state will be easier to manage and control than many smaller ones. This is big govt leftism thinking and why they prefer fewer big businesses to many smaller ones (easier to control).

Michael K said...

On Jordan, " It doesn't get much press because things seem to work there."

Remember Black September ? Jordan is weak and depends on Israel since 1967. It just doesn't admit it. Morocco is a better example but both are small.

Drill SGT, have you read "With the Old Breed" by EB Sledge ? What a contrast with our present youth. I'm reading it now.

I had to cleanse my palate after reading "Days of Rage" about Obama's friends.

AReasonableMan said...

SJ said...
It's an odd civil war that involves the same force fighting the governments of both Syria and Iraq.


Not if it reflects the same underlying sectarian conflict. ISIS is getting its support from the people, at least a subset of them. No guerrilla force can function for very long without popular support.

As usual we (and by we I mean Bush) have stepped into a civil war that we neither understand nor have any advantage to gain by attempting to pick a winner.

Gahrie said...


Being the leader of a nation of peasants is kind of a shit-job.

Yet people are literally dying to get it........

The Drill SGT said...

Drill SGT, have you read "With the Old Breed" by EB Sledge ? What a contrast with our present youth. I'm reading it now.

I have not. I just watched "The Pacific" and saw it mentioned in the trailer...

Henry said...

The New York Times plays it's American First card:

"If the Iraqis don’t care enough to defend and sacrifice for their own country, then why should the United States?"

Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota, 1940: "The conflict in Europe [is not] worthy of the sacrifice of one American mule, much less one American son."

It is a world in which everything is tactical, nothing strategic.

Quaestor said...

There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war, which it increasingly appears to be.

Facile, as usual.

GRW3 said...

At some point we need to acknowledge that Joe Biden was right, we should have split Iraq into three countries.

Coupe said...

ISIS is exactly the people we went to war against in the Iraq war (we were wrong then, as now). These are the people who checked Iran. If you defeat ISIS (Sunnis), Iran will prevail.

Bush installed a Shiite dictator, and it was never going to work. The right thing to do, is to let ISIS consolidate power, and push the Shiites back into Iran.

I don't see ISIS as being any more brutal then the Army that created Saudi Arabia. You don't find any world heritage sites in Arabia anymore, and no one gives a shit.

ISIS just hasn't found their Lawrence of Iraq yet.

The only other option, if we want to build a nation, is to create a monarchy. That worked in Arabia, it could work in Iraq. It would cost trillions, and would be cheaper to just nuke them.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM said...As usual we (and by we I mean Bush)

As long as it's Bush's fault, then no need to think, no need to address a problem, no need to go any further with any analysis, really.

BTW, #Arms4Kurds should be trending any day now.

jr565 said...

Areasonableman wrote:
There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war, which it increasingly appears to be. The only solution will be a negotiated truce between the Sunnis and Shia, which is their responsibility, not ours.

OR Isis just kills enough people where they take over Iraq.

jr565 said...

AReasonableMan wrote:
said...
It's an odd civil war that involves the same force fighting the governments of both Syria and Iraq.

Not if it reflects the same underlying sectarian conflict. ISIS is getting its support from the people, at least a subset of them. No guerrilla force can function for very long without popular support.

As usual we (and by we I mean Bush) have stepped into a civil war that we neither understand nor have any advantage to gain by attempting to pick a winner.

how is it a civil war when ISIL is an outside force? ISIS is not native to Iraq, they are OCCUPIERS. As for sectarian conflicts. Which sectarian conflict in your mind doesn't have support from a subset of people? What kind of standard is that? Even if the subset is only as large as ISIS, it's still a subset of people.
ISIL is distinct from Iraq.

jr565 said...

GRW3 wrote:
At some point we need to acknowledge that Joe Biden was right, we should have split Iraq into three countries.

maybe into 4 parts. Since we need a section for ISIS too. Or maybe ISIS will unify the whole country under ISIS rule.

jr565 said...

ARM wrote:
ARM said...As usual we (and by we I mean Bush)

ISIS didn't exist when Bush was in charge. Bush passed off an Iraq that was peaceful enough where we could withdraw all troops. Obama took a victory lap over Iraq. This movement came to fruition under Obamas watch. And so, if they are predominant he is responsible for a response. Stop passing the buck. This is Obamas war to win or lose or not fight. And by that I mean, lose.

Coupe said...

ISIS didn't exist when Bush was in charge.

Not true. ISIS is the remnants of the Iraq the USA defeated. When Bush installed the Shiite Dictator, these people were defeated. They expected to be given power in the new government, as well as oil money.

They got neither.

Meanwhile Iran started moving in to Iraq and Syria. They are already in Lebanon and Gaza.

Right now Gaza is beginning to see ISIS, Lebanon is seeing ISIS, and Iraq and Syria are seeing it. You can see where this is a war against Iran.

The USA would be stupid to fight ISIS. It is what we need to defeat Iran. Sure it's brutal, but America wasn't created by giving Indians ice cream.

Birkel said...

How does Althouse attract commenters like "garage mahal" and "coupe" with their vast knowledge, complete confidence and amazing intellect?

/sarc

damikesc said...

It means the ME will only be peaceful if colonized by civilized countries.

The Drill SGT said...

damikesc said...
It means the ME will only be peaceful if colonized by civilized countries.


Or turned into glassy rubble.

Lucien said...

Of course it's not our job to defeat ISIS. Why would it be? ISIS is a magnet sucking in Jihadist assholes from all over the world to Syria and Iraq, where they can kill and be killed by the local grown-ups in that neighborhood -- which will happen once they know the US is staying out, thereby removing the "moral hazard" grounds for Arab dithering.

Once we say, basically, "we're not involved in this fight, but every time you kill an American, we'll drop some drone strikes on you" ISIS will have less of a reason to target Americans and their interests.

The "Pottery Barn Rule" is cute, but what is the underlying rationale for it?

William said...

Some time back I read a biography of Walter Lippmann. During the Korean War, he felt that the South Korean government was too corrupt and authoritarian for the United States to support in good conscience. He recommended that we cut our losses and leave the country. I don't think that was the year he won his Pulitzer, but it might have been.......Two options can both be bad, but both cannot be worse. Bush screwed up in Iraq. So did Obama. I don't know by what metric you can judge their failures. Bush caused more American casualties. Obama caused more Middle Eastern casualties and refugees. If Saddam had stayed status quo, I'm pretty sure he also would have a fairly large body count.

The Drill SGT said...

Once we say, basically, "we're not involved in this fight, but every time you kill an American, we'll drop some drone strikes on you" ISIS will have less of a reason to target Americans and their interests.

Up that to an ARCLight Strike and I'm onboard...

For those too young...B-52D, 108 500 lb. bombs, or a mixed load of 64 500 lb. bombs in the bomb bay and 24 750 lb. bombs on underwing pylons.

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...

There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war"

Manifestation of a war between civilizations. Fixed it for.

Rusty said...

I think a more apt metaphor, ARM would be revolution rather than civil war. Civil wars are meant to unite countries. This is a religious revolution designed to dominate every country.



"I think it means: There's no point in defeating ISIS."


The point is letting ISIS win? What is it about western civilization people do who have this attitude don't like?

jr565 said...

Coupe wrote:

Not true. ISIS is the remnants of the Iraq the USA defeated. When Bush installed the Shiite Dictator, these people were defeated. They expected to be given power in the new government, as well as oil money.

They got neither.

BUsh didn't install a dictator. they were able to get him out through the electoral process, set up by the Iraqis, with Bush's help.

AReasonableMan said...

jr565 said...
ISIL is distinct from Iraq.


But not from Iraq Sunnis. Just look at the areas it has captured, almost complete overlap with those regions where Sunnis predominate. If it is an outside force, outside from where? Not Iran obviously since ISIS is fighting against the Iranian backed forces.

jr565 said...

ISIL is drawn from the remanints of AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq, which had Jordanian Zarqawi as its leader.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Drill and Michael K: you referenced ED Sledge--fascinating guy. A featured player in "The Pacific." Was a professor of ornithology after the war and IIRC a winner of the Navy Cross at Pelieu. Thanks for reference--Both the Pacific is a good series and Sledge's books are great.

As for Iraq? I also agree with the poster who said Joe Biden was right--We should have encouraged a tripartite solution. If Mountbatten could carry it off on the sub-continent, surely we could have carried it off in Iraq (well--there was that Bangladesh thing, but the has apparently resolved itself as well.)

The Drill SGT said...

If it is an outside force, outside from where?

Syria, though arguably, some of the founding fathers were Baathists that fled to Syria after the invasion.

jr565 said...

We decimated AQI through destroying the organization through war. THat's how you destroy such organizations. But then we allowed them to regroup, and former baathists joined the organization.
It was us letting up on the violence that allowed them to regroup and recruit.

The Drill SGT said...

jr565 said...
We decimated AQI through destroying the organization through war. THat's how you destroy such organizations. But then we allowed them to regroup, and former baathists joined the organization.
It was us letting up on the violence that allowed them to regroup and recruit.


and the problem with letting up has two parts:

1. The survivors are just that, survivors. The Darwinian process of war selects the fittest to breed.

2. Play chess against World Masters long enough and your game improves. Survive against the US Army and you learn tricks that work...

jr565 said...

Drill Sgt. Obaam may have been right that they were a jv team. Until he ingored them. If you don't do anything they grow. As before, the only way to defeat them is to defeat them. THis time, don't let them regroup.

jr565 said...

Drill Sgt. Obaam may have been right that they were a jv team. Until he ingored them. If you don't do anything they grow. As before, the only way to defeat them is to defeat them. THis time, don't let them regroup.

jr565 said...

"Survive against the US Army and you learn tricks that work.." The only trick they need to learn is survive when we ignore them. Which is a pretty easy trick for them to learn. And we shoudl learn that if we ignore them and they grow stronger, maybe we shouldn't.

PB said...

NYT is dhimmi.

Jason said...

Let me correct some myths going around...

ISIS are not the 'same people we defeated in Iraq.' Some of the old Baathists may have joined up out of opportunism, but the Baathists would have been ISIS's public enemy no. 1. Baathism is a secular movement (inasmuch as such a thing is possible in the Islamic world). ISIS and Al Qaeda both regarded them as anathema and hopelessly corrupt. Saddam was able to cut a side deal to get Al Qaeda to leave him alone, being more willing to fund terrorism directly than the Saudi Royal family. Remember it wasn't long ago that Saudi security forces were having running gun battles in the streets of Riyadh with Al Qaeda forces who were sworn to kill the Saudi Royal Family, whom they regarded as decadent and corrupt (they're right about that!).

As for the antipathy and hatred between Baathists and ISIS, you don't have to look that far: The Assad Regime is Baathist, and ISIS is determined to have his head on a pike, after they force him to watch ISIS fighters have a bit of fun with his wife.

Further, you cannot use ISIS and "Sunni" interchangeably. ISIS has as much in common with Sunni and is about as representative of them as the KKK is of Democrats. Probably less so. ISIS is slaughtering Sunni in large numbers, looking to intimidate or cow them into submission.

A lot of good Sunni sacrificed their lives in the struggle against Al Qaeda, and had their families murdered. And that's happening now in the struggle against ISIS. Do not paint with such a broad brush.

The Shia and Iranians are happy to let ISIS do their dirty work for them in killing Sunni in Hit and Ramadi and other Sunni areas, Just like Stalin pulled up short and let the Nazis destroy the troublemakers behind the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. ISIS is destroying the Sunni power structure in these places, too, just as brutally as they have in Shia areas. ISIS is less trouble to Iranian interests than the moderate Sunni interests that actually have some pull in Baghdad.


Paco Wové said...

"Having ISIS end all that may be an actual improvement"

I think this is what they call "Cutting off your head to spite your face."

William said...

Besides the Israelis and the Kurds, is there any group in the Middle East that doesn't hate us? It's hard to root for one side or the other when they're all so hostile to America and its values. Beyond that, they're all so self destructive. They're as committed to their victimhood as junkies are to their next fix. They find validation in blowing themselves up, and, if they can take a bunch of women and children wth them, so much the better. Exterminate the brutes,

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

William said...
Besides the Israelis and the Kurds, is there any group in the Middle East that doesn't hate us?


There are pro-Western Lebanese (Francophiles to be specific, but generally pro-American)

There are pro-Western Jordanians (Anglophiles to be specific, but generally pro-American)

The Moroccans like us. But that's not exactly ME.

We used to have more friends, or at least fewer enemies, but that was before all the hope and Change reset our diplomacy with our new BFF, the Persians...

lgv said...

Blogger Humperdink said...
Why don't we just accept the US is completely befuddled on how to deal with this mess.

> Troops are out.
> Bombing just delays the inevitable.
> Peace talks are laughable (see Iran).
> Locals are spineless.
> Containment is just rhetoric.


The first post covered it well.


Blogger AReasonableMan said...
There is no point if ISIS is a manifestation of a civil war, which it increasingly appears to be. The only solution will be a negotiated truce between the Sunnis and Shia, which is their responsibility, not ours.


I disagree on both points. First, it is not a civil war. It is much broader than that. Secondly, their will be no negotiated peace. Just some non-negotiated pauses. Shia are not true Muslims. They must die.

What you are leaving out are Sunnis that don't want to live under Shariah or in the new Caliphate.

jr565 said...

Jason, you've highlighted how fungible a lot of these orgs are. People get displaced from the first terrorist organization because it gets decimated, then join the next one. Or they merge. They may even be former baathists who are now agaisnt baathists. But are in the new group because they like fighting and that group is the one that is spreading the ideology and seems to be winning.
A lot of these jihadis are simply mercenaries who go where the fighting is. If ISIL gets torn apart they'll wind up wit the next group that has views they can fight behind.

jr565 said...

"
""Presuming ISIS is ever defeated, no peace can be sustained if Iraqis aren’t committed to preserving it.""

Why presume ISIS will ever be defeated, consdiering we arent' doing much to defeat them.
The preserved peace is jumping the gun though. Iraqis can't commit to preserving peace if jackals are taking over territory and they dont have the strength to fight them off.

Keeping boots on the ground was meant to allow Iraq the time to allow Iraqis to in fact commit to preserving said peace. WHich is why everyone at the time was saying, dont' withdraw until facts on the ground dictate its ok to leave. Fundamental to that is the question of whether Iraq could secure itself.

Apparently, it can't.

Biff said...

"Responsibility to Protect" sure is meeting a bloody death, isn't it?

damikesc said...

We used to have more friends, or at least fewer enemies, but that was before all the hope and Change reset our diplomacy with our new BFF, the Persians...

And our BFF hate us, too...

Jack Wayne said...

ARM will say whatever he needs to say to deflect any criticism about Obama over his policy failures. So, ARM, you've deflected about Iraq with your Civil War crap. What's your deflection for Obama's War in Afghanistan? Or, if you want something newer, what about his kowtow to the Chinese over the Sandcastles? Or his RESET with Russia? Face it, your Dear Leader is an incompetent, Civil Wars not withstanding.

Tarrou said...

People, I tell you true, from someone who spent years over there. There is no "Iraq". There are Kurds. There are Sunni Arabs. There are Shia Arabs. There are Shia Persians. There are no Iraqis. The country is a mass delusion held together only by the fear of a Hussein or the brute force of an occupier. If we were to "defeat" ISIS, they would only rename, become even nastier, and come right back, because the people of the area want blood. We hear all about these poor people victimized by ISIS. There aren't any. There are the Shia death squads, their supporters and families, the Kurds, their supporters and families, and the Sunni ISIS, their supporters, clans and families. There will never be peace because the population doesn't want it and never will. You can defeat an organization. We are not prepared nor willing to defeat a people.

Unknown said...

So...three? Or should they split into those 18-19 provinces Saddam used to talk about? I actually guess I don't care as long as the spice flows. Only problem is getting Iran to break up the same way else they are unbalanced.

zefal said...

Henry said...

The New York Times plays it's American First card:

"If the Iraqis don’t care enough to defend and sacrifice for their own country, then why should the United States?"

Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota, 1940: "The conflict in Europe [is not] worthy of the sacrifice of one American mule, much less one American son."

It is a world in which everything is tactical, nothing strategic.
6/1/15, 8:40 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Funny how they never use the term "isolationists" on themselves.

The washington post during the first Gulf war when Patrick Buchanan was opposed to it didn't describe him as an "isolationist". But then when he was opposed to clinton's war on Serbia all of a sudden the post called him an "isolationist". Then when Buchanan was opposed to the second Gulf war the post termed him an"anti-war Republican". It's almost as if they only use that term on hen they are opposed to a war they are for.

Oppose to war that the left is for = Isolationist

The left is oppose to war = peace activist

For war they are oppose to = warmonger


phil donahue raged on leading up to the first Gulf war how George H. W. Bush was "defying the will of the American people" because (if memory serves) around 65% were opposed to military action to expunge Iraqi forces from Kuwait. A majority support deployment to Saudi Arabia to thwart any threat against Saudi Arabia. Then after the war and Bush had a 93% approval rating phil accused Bush of during it because Americans are for war and "let's go in there and bomb them" mentality. Then comes along Serbia and guess what phil says to heck with Congressional approval! To heck with the UN! To heck with public opinion! We need to go and bomb the Serbs!

I had already understood by this time how two-faced these "liberals" were so it wasn't a revelation just more confirmation.

Tarrou said...

@ Unknown,

There is no "solution". You can minimize the damage, which has basically been done by giving the kurds autonomy. Eventually they'll probably declare a state. The Sunni and Shia will kill each other until either one side is eliminated or a dictator arises even more terrible than ISIS to put an end to things. You can pause this bloodbath by inserting US forces in the middle, so all sides can attack them instead of each other (like in 2005). But it will resume the minute we leave, as it did. America does not have the political will or stomach to deal with the middle east the only way it can be dealt with. Vote Tarrou 2014, I'll take us back to the policies of the last dude to pacify the area. Tamerlane.