US support for ground war ticks up


Graeme Wood at The Atlantic has posted a powerful, comprehensive introduction to ISIS which reviews the nascent movement’s recent history, stated goals, and current status. It is highly recommended for anyone with even casual interest, and especially to those concerned we may we well be in the middle of a real war here shortly. The short cliff-note version is that ISIS is a real brand of fundamentalist Islam working to bring ancient values, from over a thousand years ago, in to all aspects of their modern culture culminating in a war of civilizations. The final battle — or one of the final battles — will occur near a Syrian town near the Turkish border, where Jesus Christ himself will ride to the rescue of the good Islamic guys and join the fight against the evil might of vast Roman armies:

What ISIS really wants — There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.

Note that those videos we keep seeing are not like when we were kids, they’re not something inadvertently caught in frame by a terrified photo-journalist in a foreign war zone. They are slickly produced Youtube features ready to slot into social media, purely intended to produce a known effect: piss off the west and thus goad us into action, and recruit Jihads in the Middle East to meet us in battle. The strategy may be working. A new poll now finds a small uptick in US support for a ground war and larger, growing frustration with events in the region.


  1. busterggi says

    Its almost as if Dubya didn’t accomplish the mission of making the middle-east a democratic zone.

    Next thing you know Russia will become a threat despite having been vanquished by Saint Ronald decades ago.

  2. says

    Yeah, that “domino theory” of how the US’ building a US-style puppet democracy in Iraq, which would ripple out to the entire middle east… Myth: Busted.

  3. StevoR says

    So, Stephen “DarkSyde” Andrew – & Marcus Ranum, busterggi, and y’all; what do you think we should do now and how do you think we should respond here?

    What are the consequences of your alternative choices (assuming you have any!) and where do you think they lead us and the innocent people who don’t deserve to be killed in the region?

  4. colnago80 says

    Re StevoR @ #3

    We should keep doing what we are now doing, using air power in close air support missions to support ground troops, at least in Iraq where there is a credible ground force, namely the Peshmerga. Under no circumstances should US ground troops be committed based on the failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Slow but steady progress is being made against the ISIL. More worrisome is the situation in Egypt where the Egyptian military is fighting a guerrilla war against ISIL allied terrorists in the Sinai and another set of ISIL allied terrorists in Libya. I am concerned about the EAF becoming overextended in a two front war. Until the situation in Libya blew up, they were making slow but steady progress against the terrorists in Sinai but if redeployment to the Libyan border occurs, that progress may be lost.

  5. StevoR says

    Now for an old but, I think, still powerfully relevant article that you may not have read already and that wasn’t referred to in this very opening post. It is by Jim Wright of the always excellent ‘Stonekettle Station’ blog and worth reading and musing over :

    If we’re going to get involved, we should know the cost.

    If we’re going to stay out, we should know the cost.

    It isn’t simple, it isn’t easy and there are grave consequences including people who don’t deserve it being killed and maimed and suffering horrifically whichever way we choose.

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