U.S.-vs-Islamic State: As IS-held cities fall, America must come home, avoid the next, far harder war

We are likely to hear much crowing about the martial prowess of the U.S.-Europe trained, Iranian-led, and Shia-dominated Iraqi Army as IS withdraws — if only temporarily — from Ramadi and Fallujah. Cities, however, do not equal power in an insurgency. They more accurately impose a significant burden, one that requires the expertise to manage a not always supportive population, provide social services, potable water, electricity and gas, road repair, garbage collection, etc. It also requires something close to a trained bureaucracy, police force, and conventional army and air force for effective defense.

IS leaders knew these realities from the start, having been taught most cogently by Osama bin Laden, and having seen the disastrous city-occupying experiences of the Red Army, Afghan Islamist commander Ahmad Shah Masood, and post-2001 U.S. leaders in Afghanistan. IS chose, however, to throw the dice and take a chance by seizing the cities prematurely, believing that a credible effort to begin making their Caliphate project a reality, and not only an aspiration, would maintain and probably increase the Islamic world’s financial, spiritual, and manpower support for their jihad. IS leaders may be losing its cities, but with them they are losing their greatest liability, garrisoned cities that are sitting ducks for enemy aerial attack.

Shed of the cities, IS will return with a vengeance to its strongest suit, nationwide insurgencies in Iraq and Syria, and — thanks to the liberal multiculturalists, diversity mongers, and nation-builders who run Western foreign, immigration, and refugee policies — an enormously expanded international military capability. Though IS took it on the chin and heart in seeing its initial Caliphate-building projects slip away, this defeat is not nearly as serious for IS as the West is and will be claiming that it is.

How was the Islamic State removed from the cities? Well, as the superb IS media will tell the story, certainly not by fellow Muslims. IS media will simply use the truth in its messages, which is that the Syrian and Iraqi armed forces — mostly apostate Alawites, Shiites, and treacherous/money-grubbing Sunnis — were trained and armed by the infidels, the Unites States and most of its NATO allies; led by Iranian and Russian general officers and advisers; and supported by the air forces of Russia, the United States, some NATO countries, and the apostate/traitorous Arab tyrants. Using what is a factual description for much of the Sunni world and anyone willing to face facts, IS media will use the tried-and-true bin Laden script; namely, that in war you win some and lose some, but the important thing is to stay in Allah’s fight and keep fighting so that Allah eventually will allow the mujahideen to win. Indeed, bin Laden never enjoyed an array of scripturally exploitable and Islam-and-Caliphate-hating enemies that remotely resembles that which IS confronts.

If the cities are lost to IS, the war will revert, for a time, to a more traditional Islamist insurgency, one which U.S., NATO, and Russian forces have long ago proved they cannot defeat. The U.S. government ignored the one chance to reduce IS to the point where those it threatens — Israel, the Arab tyrants, the EU, and Iran and the Shia world — might be able to defeat it. As was noted here before, the IS decision to seize and hold cities gave the U.S. military a chance to do things at which it has historically excelled; namely, (a) the complete destruction of a nation’s economic, industrial, social, electricity, and transportation infrastructures, so that everything has to be rebuilt from scratch, and (b) the indiscriminate slaughter of the greatest possible numbers of IS leaders, fighters, and their civilian supporters. The U.S. national government ignored this winning combination and chose — as Obama always does — to be effete and feckless, and so IS will live to fight another day, and, once regrouped, will be more than a match for any foe still in the field.

Now is the time — listen up, Mr. Trump — for the United States to get out of the Middle East as quickly and completely as possible, certainly before the IS post-cities insurgency resumes in Iraq and Syria. There is nothing left in that theater for the United Sates except additional costly and U.S. Marine-killing defeats. While we are at it, the republic should both withdraw from Afghanistan — the prototypical “lost cause” — and recall each of the numerous penny-packets of U.S. Special Forces from Africa that Obama has deployed for domestic political impact and not anti-Islamist military affect.

The U.S. national government’s war against the Islamists — overseas and perhaps at home — is clearly lost, and just as clearly out of either its control or the control of any Western power or Russia. As Obama and his NATO sidekicks remain bore-sighted on Iraq and Syria, for example, Islamist forces — both IS and al-Qaeda — are gaining power in the Balkans, the North Caucuses, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen, and Pakistan, and are building manpower and organization in Europe, western China, India, and Bangladesh. Moreover, IS and al-Qaeda are waging war and contesting for power in Libya, the other North African states, West Africa, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania, and appear to be gaining toeholds in central and Southern Africa.

A three-continent war against the growing Islamist movement is something only a delusional madman would want to ensnare the republic, so naturally that is exactly what Obama and Hillary Clinton did. Fortunately, the entire Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-made mess can be sidestepped by the national government if it would do the only thing it is elected to do — protect America and its citizenry first and stay out of other peoples’ wars. And the first requirement of that duty is fourfold; (a) close and control U.S. borders; (b) end all immigration to the United States for five-to-ten years, thereby negating the simpering, teary-eyed cries of discrimination made by clueless people like Paul Ryan, all Democrats, and most pundits and academics; (c) bring U.S. forces home to prepare to fight the Islamists domestically in what will be a tough, costly struggle against a foe that already has killed or wounded many more U.S. civilians inside the continental United States than were killed in all of America’s wars since 1917; and (d) urge all Americans to arm themselves with the most powerful weapons they can afford, having seen how Obama’s administration has made it impossible to cope with the domestic Islamist threat via law-enforcement agencies alone.

Now, this commonsense approach will be hard on the bipartisan governing elite’s interventionists, so to let them down easy I think it would be a grand thing to create an armed, volunteer battalion — perhaps the “Battalion of the Expendable”? — of those who want America to wage unending interventionist, nation-building wars and who want to void the 2nd Amendment and so deny U.S. citizens the ability to defend themselves against the Islamists, an incompetent, cowardly, and/or PC-palsied national government, and the many former U.S. military personnel — all partially responsible for America losing two wars to the Islamists — now urging unconstitutional gun-control measures so the citizenry cannot defend itself against either the Islamists or the oppressive national government that has created a shadow army of 200,000 heavily armed bureaucrats to use against them.

Start this project with the 51 State Department employees who want their fellow citizens to wage a nation-building war in Syria because the poor, dear little things find Asaad’s regime repugnant; add the staffs of the National Review, Washington Post, New York Times, Commentary, and the Weekly Standard; mix in arrogant and sniveling anti-Americans like Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos; throw in experienced but always defeated soldiers like General McChrystal and other military retirees who want to unconstitutionally deny weaponry to Americans whom they and the U.S. military have proven incompetent to defend; and complement this group with a Hodge-podge of John Bolton, Charles Krauthammer, Mark Levin, Senators McCain and Graham, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, George Clooney, George Soros, and the top-tier leadership of AIPAC, the Council of Foreign Relations, and anyone else who wants to start unnecessary, interventionist wars that will kill and maim other people’s kids, not their own. Once gathered, dress them in camouflaged uniforms, give each of them an AK-47, ammunition, and some MREs, and provide them transportation — after relieving each of his or her U.S. passport — to the war zone of their choice. Then, as they fly off to their death-by-nation-building, rejoice in the knowledge that for once, in the long, bloody, and financially ruinous history of unnecessary U.S. interventionism, the people who truly deserve to die will be doing the dying.

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.