Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y BorrásNote 1
U.S. President Obama's plan to counter ISIS is to
- Form a coalition (the better to share the blame when things go wrong - and they will)
- Add aerial attacks on ISIS (only)
- Add U.S. "advisors" on the ground
- Train "moderate Islamists" in Saudi Arabia (did anyone ask the Saudi royalty if it will welcome Islamists?)
- Arm "moderate Islamists" to combat ISIS
Read military history
Obama and his yes men (and women) are determined to defeat ISIS - but only ISIS, not any other Islamists terrorist group - by sending drones and presumably naval aircraft to seek out ISIS troops and, although the U.S. is appalled when Israel does it, to assassinate ISIS leaders in their vehicles, in their bunkers, in their homes; where ever they are found.
Good intentions, I learned early on, "pave the road to hell."
Arming & Training
The U.S. armed the Taliban to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The Taliban, having pushed the Soviets out, then turned the U.S.-supplied weapons on - surprise - U.S. personnel.
The U.S., having unseated Saddam Hussein in Iraq, trained and armed Iraqi "police" who turned the weapons on fellow Iraqis and - surprise - U.S. personnel.
The U.S. also armed and trained "Palestinian" police who turned the weapons on - hardly a surprise - Israeli civilians.
Advisors in theater
Former President and 5-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. military personnel into Vietnam as Military Advisory Groups to help out the South Vietnamese. Advisors, not combat troops. Those who followed "Ike" into the White House sent in more and more combat troops - not enough to win the conflict, but enough to replace those Americans killed in 'Nam. Despite being a 5-star general, Ike apparently failed to keep up with (then) "modern" history; he failed to remember what the Vietnamese did to the French (they chased them out).
MAGs - like subcompact cars - seem to grow like a kid's balloon being filled from a high-pressure gas station air pump.
Obama is taking credit - perhaps deserved - for drawing down U.S. troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan which have become "Vietnam 2" and "Vietnam 3." In both cases, his predecessors in the White House got the U.S. involved in conflicts that did not - at least directly - involve the U.S.
Unfortunately, control of air space and the ability to strike an enemy almost at will will not - as any grunt (foot soldier) knows and the Israeli military is relearning - suffice to control movements on the ground.
Obama, or his successor, will need to commit to long-term aerial attacks and be prepared to accept civilian "collateral damage" - the same "damage" for which the world condemns Israel.
Syria's almost-internal war
IMO, the U.S. has NO business taking sides in Syria's sectarian battles, for that's what it boils down to: Sunni vs. Shia vs. Alewites vs. who knows.Note 2 Kurds?
Syria's conflict spills over into Lebanon where Hezbollah holds forth. So far, Syrian combatants have been mostly successful in keeping the shooting on the Syrian side of the country's border with Israel, and Israel's government has, so far, managed to keep out of Syrian politics - a lesson the U.S. should adopt.
My chutzpah, my suggestions to Obama
One: Limit U.S. attacks on Islamist terrorists groups that blatantly threaten the U.S. or its citizens.
Two: Order all U.S. citizens out of Syria and Iraq; failure to remove to a safe place could result in their being "collateral damage" that, like the citizens of Gaza, were warned by Israel to relocate before an attack.
Three: Tell U.S. "intelligence" people - who seem to have no clue of Muslim mentality - to buy their information from sources that DO understand Muslim mentality. That may not be the Israeli government since, since Begin, it seems it lacks this knowledge.
Four: Train, if we must, "moderate Islamists" if any can be found; "moderate" should NOT mean "less of a blustering threat than ISIS" or "any group that has not beheaded anyone lately."
Five: DO NOT ARM anyone; remember the Taliban; remember the Iraqis; remember the Palestinians. Giving arms to Islamists is giving arms to people who will turn them against Americans.
Six: Finally, NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND - the war in Syria and Lebanon is mostly a civil war, an internal affair even though combatants are coming from all over the world. It is NOT the U.S.' fight. (True, some of the blame for the current upheaval can be laid to Obama's door for encouraging and supporting the "Arab Spring." )
If any organization should interfere in Syria it is the Arab League (or however the organization is known today). But, Mr. Obama, please note that no Muslim states are lining up to support ANY side in the conflict. Take a lesson from your Muslim kin and stay out of Syria.
Go after Islamist terrorist wherever they are found, invited or not, but do NOT involve the U.S. in civil conflicts.
President James Monroe was right.Note 3
1: If you prefer, “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.”
2: From Wikipedia
Sunni Islam Shia Islam, Sufism, Ahmadiyya Islam, Kharijite Islam, Quranism, Moorish Science, Nation of Islam, Mahdavism, Messiah Foundation international, Zikri, Five Percenter
3: Read President Monroe's 1823 Message to Congress at www.ourdocuments.gov