Disclaimer: This blog is a little more emotional than usual. Sorry.
I recently posted a blog about the coming bloodshed in Iraq, but I never expected it to come so soon. The Islamic State has taken over the town of Sinjar – a historical Yazidi home – forcing all in the town to flee for their lives or get beheaded, just like they did in Mosul, only this time, there was nowhere to run to. 40,000 people are now dying of thirst and starvation on the side of a mountain, surrounded by Islamic psychotics, and we sit here doing nothing.
I’ve had it with the dithering. Our damn government is literally trying to decide the pros and cons of delivering water and food to the people about to starve to death. 40,000 men, women and children begging for help. Genocide in the making. What in the world is our problem? There IS NO CON. Start dropping supplies, NOW.
I am ashamed to say I’m an American, while we stand by and allow these people to be slaughtered. I cannot believe we are sitting on our hands while the Islamic State rampages about. It’s time to eradicate them, and I don’t say that lightly, like an armchair blowhard yelling “Kill’em all!” The Islamic State is an abomination to every civilization on earth. They are the pinnacle of evil, and the only language they speak comes from the barrel of a gun. I mentioned in another blog that they were comparable to the motorcycle gang in the Road Warrior, and the more I think about it, the more apt that seems. They are insanely bloodthirsty killers that behead everyone who doesn’t believe like them – literally. It’s like World War Z – and they’re the zombies. They have no diplomacy, no nuance, no redeeming qualities. They have no business walking the earth, yet we still dither. Why? Is it because it’s in Iraq? Hell, pretend it’s in the non-governed badlands of Mexico. Because it very well may be there soon.
I know the talking heads will continue discussing how “complex” the situation is, and that there are “no easy solutions.” I get that. I truly do (Read some of my other blog posts if you think I’m a frothing at the mouth ideologue), but sometimes the answer really isn’t that difficult. Yes, helping the Kurds could engender them to attempt to break away and claim independence. Yes, using airpower with the Maliki government could be seen as us taking sides in a sectarian war. Yes, working with the Iraqis could mean passing intelligence to Iran. Yes, attacking IS could give cover to Assad in Syria, leaving him on the world stage saying, “We’re doing the same thing as the United States.” Yes, the administration will have to look in the mirror and realize that fleeing Iraq didn’t end the war. Yes, yes, yes, to the next fourteen “what ifs” that might happen. At the end of the day, there is one constant: NO OUTCOME WILL BE WORSE THAN THE ISLAMIC STATE. None.
We used the United Nations Responsibility To Protect doctrine to intervene in Libya, and that was based on a paltry 1000 civilians that MIGHT have been killed. We entered that conflict with the President saying, “I refuse to wait until images of slaughter and mass graves appear before taking action.”
And yet here we sit while the Islamic State slaughters with wild abandon. Where’s the R2P doctrine now? Is that only when the decisions are low cost and we can “lead from behind”? Or is it a true doctrine?
Our paralysis reminds me of training for combat trauma. When encountering a severally wounded soldier, it can be hard to determine what to do first, but some things are more critical than others. The guy could be bleeding out from multiple wounds, but what will kill him first is if he can’t breath. Our foreign policy is staring at Iraq and seeing all the wounds, then doing nothing but waving our hands about. The Islamic State has blocked the airway. Fuck all the blood, deal with that first, or the patient will die.
Saudi Arabia – the Sunni focal point – will applaud the decision. Iran – the Shiite focal point – will applaud the decision. Hell, Al Qaida will applaud the decision. The Islamic State is a disease that is the most forbidding thing I have seen in over thirty years of studying war, terrorism and insurgency. It’s time to quit dithering.
The other day, the Islamic State posted a tweet of six men just before they were beheaded. The caption read, “Kill them wherever you find them.”
That’s the only thing IS and I will agree on. Kill those Islamic State sons of bitches wherever you find them. Starting now.
UPDATE 2100 7 AUG 2014
News reports are saying we’re finally dropping supplies. Wow. That must have been a tough decision trying to figure out how those life-saving flights would affect the poll numbers.
UPDATE 2130 7 AUG 2014
President Obama has promised airstrikes “if ISIS continues its march on Irbil. We have started humanitarian assistance to the people on Mount Sinjar….” WTF? “If” they move towards Irbil? What about the Kurdish terrain they already own? So are we going to continue airdrops on a mountainside, giving the people there the life of a caveman for the forceable future? This sounds like another false red-line. Break the damn siege. At least crack open a lane to let them flee. He spent so much time trying to convince the American public of the necessity of action it made me wonder if I was the only Soldier in the United States who thought the fight was just. He mentioned the greater political struggle inside Iraq, which is the bleeding I I talked about earlier. Iraq is a hard, hard Rubic’s cube, but the Islamic State is NOT. Kill them. Now. The entire town of Sinjar has fled. Anyone looting on the streets of that town is the enemy. Kill them. Break the siege.
I appreciate that we, as a nation, are war-weary. Trust me, after nearly a decade at it, I get that, but the enemy gets a damn vote. At the end of the day there’s a reason we are the United States. It isn’t about polls, it isn’t about opinions. It’s about leadership. I applaud President Obama for initiating operations, but I wish it were more. Foreign fighters are flooding into Iraq because all they see is success. Give them some pain. Force a future foreign fighter to decide if it’s worth it. All they see are tweets with IS men holding the heads of a Shia or Christian.
The President said, “I will not allow us to get dragged into another war in Iraq.”, but that’s not completely in our hands. The enemy has a vote. As he said at a press conference earlier, “We don’t control the world.” We do control something, though. Give the Islamic State an alternate future.
One where they’re a smoking body.
UPDATE 1400 8 AUG 2014
It looks like Kurdistan is now going on the offensive against IS. Before, they were in a defensive mindset, but Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region, released a statement after losing Sinjar, in which he said, “we decided to go beyond the defensive position and fight the terrorists to the last breath. We have ordered the Peshmerga forces to attack the terrorists and the enemies of the people and the land of Kurdistan with all their power.” Welcome news. Now, if we’d only help him do it.
That would be even more welcome.
Brad, I’m with you, however my junior officer status as a USAF viet nam era reservist leaves me underqualified to expand in detail on the most effective type of tactical solutions to erradicate this scourge. Carpet bombing the desert, neutron bombing the cities, strafing the convoys, come to mind. Are these IS jokers congregating repeatedly en masse or scurrying like cockroaches? With all their black flag regalia, it seems precision directed weaponry can be brought to bear on their rally sites. It also seems air power alone would indeed bring some pain, but will it exterminate the masses, kill the root?What effective tactical efforts do your recommend deploying, coming from your extensive background? In addition, how would they jibe with your above yes, yes and yes realities of the region? I wecome your insight. Alan
I realize it’s easy to sit here four thousand miles away and demand action, and the problem set is convoluted, but it’s not impossible. I don’t think there is a single magic bullet. It will have to be a comprehensive strategy focused on IS – without all the attending baggage of “what ifs”. Airpower is a definite component, but so is providing military support to the Kurds – something they were begging for and we didn’t provide, which has led to the direct result of IS taking over the largest dam in Iraq and enabled the current humanitarian crisis in Sinjar. Yes, that will have second and third order effects, but I don’t believe they are worse than the status quo. In the end, there are enough people inside Iraq that do not like the IS. We don’t have to enter the fight on the ground, but there are a plethora of things we could do before crossing that rubicon. Out of all of the “yes,yes,yes” from above, the only thing that would be worse than IS is an all out sectarian blood-bath – but that’s coming whether we’re in the fight or not. In fact, in my view it’s more liable to happen in our absence. The bottom line is that we are the only non-partisan participant that can help. Like it or not, the Sunnis trust us much, much more than they do Iran, and ceding the influence over the Maliki government to them is a mistake. The only good thing about IS is that they always overreach. Slaughtering the people of Sinjar may be enough to unite Iraqis, closing the sectarian divide. Unknown at this point, but if Maliki – even with his broken government – asks for military help in the form of airpower or just bullets so that he can attempt to push back the tide, I say let him have it.
Brad, You nailed this one. Having waited painfully for my son to return home from a few tours in the Hindu Kush I know the fears that many Americans have at this time. With that said, I think the fact that we first left Iraq in the manner we did helped set this up and second have been remise allowing the to continue without any action. If this is allowed to continue and spread, the entire region will be in jeopardy. Action needs to happen now and that need to be more than a few missiles fired and bombs dropped. Thanks for you continued attention to this crisis. TTS
So glad a cousin of mine, who is also a cousin of yours, told me about your site. It is fascinating to read. It is such a sad thing to have to admit that an entire people need to be wiped out but there is just no reasoning with them. They are force fed hate directly into their hearts from birth. So unfortunately it is them or us and I prefer us! What has Islam given the world compared to what Christianity and Judaism? Maybe all that hate is just a big old inferiority complex!
I look forward to reading your future posts.
Thanks for the post, but I want to be clear, I’m not against all Muslims. I hope this post didn’t indicate that. I’ve worked with Muslims of all stripes for many years, and have absolutely no heartburn with most. In fact, some of my best deployments were with the Kurds, where religion took a backseat to everything. ISIS is an abomination, and absolutely no reflection of the Muslim Ummah write large. It just seems that way because they make the news with decapitated heads and other atrocities. But they’re no more a reflection of Islam than Breivick in Oslo is a reflection of Christianity. Both are insane.
It’s a really sad state of affairs there. And I fear that Afghanistan might turn out similarly once the US completely pulls out of there. It might be back to August 2001 once the US troops are out of Afghanistan.
On one hand you have the Iraqi government actually considering help from Iran, and Mexico gradually going up in flames but on the other you have the MSM and the general public absolutely unaware of the sheer anarchy in Iraq, with all of their attention focused on the “Evil” Israelis and their brutal oppression of the free people of Palestine (Just being sarcastic).
Both of these make for a rather disastrous combination. The US needs to stop leading from behind here. There is still time, they can still un-fuck the situation of they moved in FAST. But without public support on US home soil for action against ISIS, you can expect a little more feet-dragging by the US govt. in future.
On a side note, the Israeli unit in Days Of Rage was awesome and really well-written. Israelis know best how to deal with terrorists ! Great ending as well.
A cousin of yours in Idaho provided me with your link.
I couldn’t agree more with what you have written.
The single best way to resolve the problem in Israq-Syria would be to support the Kurds. Not only are these a ‘real’ people who deserve their own country, but also they are the only gorup in the entire area who are taking in refugees from all of the oppressed peoples. By supporting the Kurds with both equipment and air support, they will provide the feet on the ground and I believe they have both the will and the ability to stop the ISIS scourge that is now sweeping the area. If ISIS is not stopped now, they will spread their disease first to the rest of the Muslim Middle East, then Israel and then…
Y’know, if people are running away out of Iraq and into SYRIA, of all places, then you know that shit just hit the fan for real this time. They’d rather face the horrors of Syria than face the genocide waiting to happen in Iraq.
What is absolutely hilarious is that the Obama administration is still claiming that ISIS has no plans to carry out attacks against the US homeland.
I may be a bit old-fashioned (ok I’m a young 70) but if we have the “greatest military” ever, why has a rag-tag group like the taliban kept us in a war almost as long as WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam wars added together? I’d bring back the draft and scare the crap out of the kids of Congressmen and the rich kids too. Send a half-million troops into middle east and clean house once and for all. I often wonder what guys like General Patton and MacArthur would think not OF our military BUT how we use them. Thank you for allowing me this to vent a little.
You should go back and read your history. It took our SOF Soldiers (primarily SF) weeks to dislodge and overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan. Brad’s former unit had UBL dead to rights in Tora Bora. However, our political leaders decided to extend the war and then neglect Afghanistan altogether while we invaded Iraq and let UBL escape into Pakistan. Our military did their job then have been asked to do it again and again while our political leaders run around without a strategy for the future. Do not lay the extension of the war at the feet of the military. If we had an FDR/ Churchill in office this shit would have been over a long time ago.