For John, BLUF: People are getting antsy about ISIL and when people are antsy the want to do something, even if they haven't thought it through. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Over at Foreign Policy Magazine we have a good article, by Naval War College Professor Thomas G Mahnken, "The Three Decisions Obama Has to Make in His Strategy for the Islamic State".
Early on Professor Mahnken gives us this quote from Dead Carl:
The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish ... the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.In the case of ISIL this is especially important. While we are fighting a military force, we are also fighting an idea. That idea is a vision of Islam. Not the common vision, embraced by the vast majority of Muslims, but a vision that can excite young believers to go out and kill non-believers in strange and terrifying ways.
Ideas are not defeated by bombs and bayonets, but by better ideas. In the case of ISIL those better ideas have to come from within the Sunni side of Islam. Ideas from Saudi Arabia and Jordan and other Sunni states.
That doesn't mean that the United States doesn't have to have its own idea or ideas to guide its policy and strategy. We most definitely need to understand our long term vision for the United States. In this new world, this 21st Century World, who are we and what is our vision?
Our Senior Senator here in Massachusetts, Ms Elizabeth Warren believes ISIL should be our number one priority. As reported by Jesse Byrnes in The Hill, "Warren: Destroying ISIS should be 'No. 1 priority'".
"ISIS is growing in strength. It has money, it has organization, it has the capacity to inflict real damage. So when we think about a response we have to think about how to destroy that," Warren told Yahoo's Katie Couric.On the other hand, Senator Warren is quoted in the same article as saying:
Warren agreed that "time is of the essence."
"We need to be working now, full-speed ahead, with other countries, to destroy ISIS. That should be our No. 1 priority," she said in a wide-ranging interview promoting her latest book, A Fighting Chance.
"We can't get pulled into another war in the Middle East," she said. "We need to be working with others to close ISIS down."The problem is, the less you contribute to the fight, the less weight you have in the councils of war. We don't get credit for looking good or for our Bill of Rights. We earn our place in the councils of war by doing.
The other thing is that destroying ISIL means discrediting an idea, a vision of a better world, however corrupt and corrupting that vision might be.
Regards — Cliff