On cutting the crap, breaking the Caliphate’s back, and focusing on America

Honoring Paris’s dead and wounded is now being done with crocodile tears, candles, moments of silence, crowds of strangers holding hands, pledges of solidarity, the endless, pro forma singing of national anthems, and bouquets of followers mounded up as colorful, if wilting, temples to the dead.

None of this nonsense honors anyone, it is simply another meaningless iteration of the made-for-TV, post-Islamist-attack “Festival of the Dead,” an event to which Westerners seem to be intensely attached and are now institutionalizing. After all, it’s a chance to get outdoors, walk a bit, and mingle with other self-professed and mourning lovers of humanity. It is, in fact, all hogwash. It allows Western people to feel they have done something to contribute to victory over the enemy when in fact they have done less to honor the dead and destroy their killers than their national governments — and that truly is quite an underachievement.

But there is a time-honored and effective way to honor the Paris dead, as well as the U.S. and Western soldiers whose lives and limbs have been wasted since 2001 by national leaders who did not intend to win. If the United States and the West really do not want to do the smartest thing and encourage a Sunni-Shia sectarian war, then it has the near-term option of destroying all those facilities in Syria and Iraq that are essential to the Islamic State’s effort to build a state or, in their words, rebuild the Caliphate.

Currently, IS is in possession of:

  • Highways and bridges
  • Portions of a railway system
  • Fleets of tanker trucks, construction vehicles and machinery, and farming equipment
  • Cell phone tower networks and overhead power lines
  • Improved waterways and irrigation canals/systems
  • Potable water and urban sanitation systems
  • Hydroelectric dams and reservoirs
  • Airfields
  • Grain silos
  • Mills for processing wheat and other grains
  • Facilities for mining minerals
  • Oil fields, wells, and refineries
  • Gas fields, wells, and distribution systems
  • Pipelines for fuel, gas, and water
  • Factories, government buildings, warehouses, and military bases
  • Farmland that is growing crops
  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Police stations, military barracks, office buildings, and hotels that are used to store arms and house fighters

Each of these things, needless to say, is part of the IS military effort. They are even more important, however, to its effort to build a state, fund an economy, attract foreign volunteers, and feed, employ, and care for a population. They all are also wonderfully visible, cannot be readily moved or hidden, and are just the kind of targets that Western air forces can annihilate in an air campaign of relatively short duration. For the first time since 1996, the Islamists have acquired a large and valuable set of physical assets that they cannot afford to lose, and they are assets that are perfectly suited to the West’s conventional military forces and so will give Western militaries a respite from the folly of trying to defeat IS by killing their fighters one or two at a time.

Destroy the items listed above and you send IS back to being just very good Islamist insurgents; still dangerous, but no longer advancing the reconstruction of the Caliphate.* Moreover, the loss of these productive assets via air attacks, and the high numbers of civilians that surely will die therein, will create an unhappy and restive population prone to rebellion in the regions IS controls.

In such a situation, IS leaders will face enemies in each direction they turn, and will have lost the means of appealing to the young Muslims — and many older ones — with the powerfully alluring idea and nascent reality of rebuilding the Caliphate.

For the West, the pulverized, smoldering ruins of these state-building assets, which IS has preserved because they cannot be replaced, and the moldering corpses of thousands who have cast their lot with IS or are simply present, will amount to its first strategic success against the Islamists since this religious war began in 1996.

For the United States to undertake this campaign as a unilateral mission — let Russian and French warplanes waste ordnance breaking concrete at Raqqah, and the rest of the EU cowers behind cheap bellicosity — would be a chance to, for now, break the back of IS’s caliphate-restoring effort. More important, the mission’s success would allow the United States to truthfully claim it had done its part militarily and return home to a permanent policy of non-intervention, taking none of the resulting refugees, ignoring screeches from the human-rights mafia, the EU, the UN, and the new-age Pope, and spending not a penny to rebuild anything in Iraq or Syria.

By attacking and then walking away, the United States would have lessened the IS threat for all and leave it up to Putin, Hollande, Cameron and any other Western leader to decide if he or she wants to stay engaged in the fight against IS instead of getting out, cleaning up the Islamists in their own nations, and letting the Shia-Sunni sectarian war flourish while watching the two sides devour each other.

So following, for the United States, is a doable, unilateral, and non-time consuming plan with which to execute the just mentioned campaign, permanently extract the United States from the Muslim world, and let that world go to the hell it has been preparing for itself for a millennium. Let me admit that I have no military experience, but, hey, look where the West Pointers have us after nearly twenty years of failed war fighting and abject loses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  1. The U.S. president orders the U.S. military to prepare an air campaign against the targets listed above. If the U.S. military is worth the money taxpayers have invested — at this point, an open question — all the targets on the list will already have been located and prioritized. A little time will be needed to move additional aircraft into range, say, three or four weeks.**
  2. When the U.S. military tells the president it is ready to attack, the president directs the secretary of state to officially recognize the Islamic State regime as a legitimate nation state and warmly welcome it into the vicious jungle that has been created by that useless, effete, and war-causing entity called the “International Community.”
  3. On the next day, the president calls a joint session of Congress to meet within 48 hours.
  4. When the session convenes, the president asks for a declaration of war against the Islamic State and is given that constitutionally required declaration.
  5. The president then orders the military to attack, and remains silent until the military reports its mission is accomplished.
  6. With that victory in hand, the president addresses the nation, announces victory and the end of America’s war in Syria/Iraq. He then describes what the campaign accomplished, what the campaign cost in lives and money, and why Americans would no longer see their government militarily intervening anywhere in the world unless the United States is attacked or an imminent threat needs destroying. He should end the speech by saying to Americans, “Good night, God bless you, and God Bless America First”.

All told, such a U.S. air campaign ought to succeed as it plays to the U.S. military’s skills and will keep U.S. casualties low. If successful, it allows the United States to bid farewell to the Middle East — leaving it to whoever is stupid enough to want to be involved — and begin to focus on genuine U.S. national interests, like reducing the debt, controlling the borders, rebuilding the conventional military, severely limiting immigration, withdrawing from NATO, evicting illegal aliens, eliminating domestic Islamist organizations, and generally minding our own business.


*IS and al-Qaeda will still have forces elsewhere in the world and so will be troublesome. But the lesson taught by the above U.S. air campaign — which is, and ought to be, Americans are overwhelmingly powerful, indiscriminate killers, and a little bit crazy — will not be lost on the Islamists. They will keep contending for Yemen, which the Saudis have made a mess off and should be left to fix; Libya, which is a poisonous gift to Europe from the UK and France — Clinton and Obama simply playing adolescent morons whose democracy mongering gave cover to the Europeans — ought to be left to them to resolve; Egypt, where the Russians seem eager to take on a losing situation; and Afghanistan, where both the Russians and Chinese have no choice but to fight to keep the Islamists out of Central Asia. Regarding Europe, the Islamists have the upper hand there and may win, but only because the Europeans seem to have no pride in their national identities, no respect for, or passion to preserve what their civilization has accomplished over more than two millennia, and no real will to kill the bad guys and save themselves. In non-Maghreb Africa, Americans must attain energy self-sufficiency and thank God for the eternal presence of the Atlantic Ocean.

**The only American opponents of such action would be U.S. oil companies who lust for oil and gas from the fields IS holds in Syria and Iraq; U.S. arms makers who sell weapons in the region; Neoconservatives and Israel-Firsters who want endless U.S. engagement in the region so American blood can be shed to protect Israel; and the media, the so-called Peace Movement, and the college campuses, all of which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. Opponents like these are all the more reason to undertake the campaign, win, and then come home to democratically or otherwise defeat the vermin.

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.