Obama vs. Islamic State: Here comes more debt, more death, and another lost war

“Will you never look at the facts rather than at those who put them to you?”

Titus Livy

“You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

General William T. Sherman

The sheer incompetence and ignorance of so much of the American media is appalling, and Livy’s damning question, noted above, ought to be asked by all Americans of their country’s journalists.

We have heard endlessly from U.S. officials, generals, and politicians from both parties that “there is no military solution” to the war the Islamists are waging on the United States. This is, of course, the purest nonsense. There is always a military solution if someone, some group, or some nation-state attacks you. The question should never be, “Is there a military solution to this problem,” it should always to be, “Is this problem a legitimate threat to genuine U.S. national interests that requires war?” (NB: The IS beheading of two journalists, or fifty for that matter, poses no threat to genuine U.S. national interests.) If the answer to the second question is yes, then military solutions are available, and not to use them is plainly a case of criminal negligence by the president, the congress, and the U.S. general officers corps. Why, then, have we almost never heard a journalists ask one of these charlatans why there is no military solution?

Last week Americans heard a refinement of the “there is no military solution to the Islamist problem” mantra from the admiral who is a public spokesman for the Pentagon. This wise fellow told a gathering of journalists something akin to, “We are fighting an ideology, and military power cannot defeat an ideology.” Again, at least as far as I have been able to tell, not a single one of the brilliant journalists present asked a question that challenged this admiral’s rank piece of stupidity. One must conclude that neither the admiral nor the journalists have ever heard of an ideology called National Socialism — Nazism for short — that was utterly defeated by the military power of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain. And, closer to home, did the just-mentioned gathering of geniuses ever hear of the American Civil War wherein fellows named Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan used unrelenting military force to annihilate the purveyors of an ideology whose pillars were secession and the right of people to own other human beings? Perhaps the admiral and all his auditors were educated at Ivy League schools. That would explain a lot.

On Wednesday, Americans are to hear President Obama’s 3-year strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (IS) (NB: Five will get you ten that IS will be” contained” in time for Obama to pretend we won before the 2016 election.) My guess is that we will hear some form of the phrase “there is no military solution to this problem,” and again it will be a lie. The Islamic State is right up the U.S. military’s ally. While our politician-palsied military is not worth a tinker’s damn in fighting the mujahideen on the ground, we have in IS an organization that holds a large array of physical assets that can be more or less permanently destroyed from the air. In Iraq and Syria, IS controls oil and gas fields and refineries; cotton and flour mills; power plants and dams producing electricity; and other industrial and agricultural facilities. All of these produce substantial profits for IS operations, and Obama, Kerry, McCain, Cameron and other NATO leaders have all portrayed the current wealth and significant money-making potential of IS as the chief reason we in the West need to be afraid of this particular brand of mujahideen. If this assertion is true, then the supposedly non-existent “military solution” is immediately — and quite obviously — at hand.

So listen to Obama when he speaks and if you do not hear that his strategy is the simple one of having U.S. air power — with or without our vaunted allies — annihilate the profit-making physical assets of IS, as well as whatever IS personnel and civilians who are in the way, you will know that Obama and the Republicans again do not intend to win the war they are getting us into, and that more debt will be accrued and more of our military men and women will be killed and maimed for nothing. It will also mean that Obama and our bipartisan political elite are not seeking to destroy IS, but rather to appear to be doing something about IS while ensuring they do not alienate America’s makers of prosthetic devices or raise the ire of the effete Europeans, the clueless U.S. media, and those so badly educated that they cannot grasp that war means killing the enemy until he is eradicated or gives up.

None of the foregoing should be construed as an endorsement of a U.S.-led war against the IS organization; as long as Washington keeps intervening in the Muslim world, U.S. borders are open, and we are aligned with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and any Shia-dominated Iraqi regime America will be virtually undefended no matter how many mujahideen we kill. And anything more or less than the campaign of annihilation-from-the-air against the targets noted above, means that Obama and both parties are sending the U.S. military not to defend genuine U.S. national interests, but to do the bidding of foreigners and to lose another war, an event that will further motivate Muslims to join and fund IS, al-Qaeda, and other militant groups.

Because under Obama and Bush the United States has been deliberately impotent in the military sense — only fools think America has used its full military power against the Islamists — our best defense at the moment is to do everything we can to encourage but not become involved in the emerging Sunni-Shia sectarian war in the Arab world, and especially that part of it occurring in Syria and Iraq. We must delight in seeing the two Muslim sects tear each other’s guts out, and pray that it long continues. This will give American voters a short window to search for and elect candidates who know that: (a) bipartisan U.S. interventionism and democracy crusading have gotten us into this mess in the Islamic world; (b) that genuine U.S. national interests are few in number, are material matters not abstractions like freedom and women’s rights, and are rarely threatened, so few U.S. wars are necessary; and (c) that when forced to fight, as General Sherman explained, America and mercy are best served by the overwhelming application of lethal force to eradicate the enemy and his supporters in the shortest possible time.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.