We as a nation have been fighting a jihad for almost 20 years….and what have we really learned from the experience?
The outcome if studied carefully screams….NOTHING!
War serves itself if there is no strategy to guide and constrain it. The purpose of strategy is to fulfill a political purpose and that purpose should relate to an end that sees a better peace than before the war began. The means and methods, or the instruments of power and the ways they are employed, should align to achieve the political object sought at the costs and duration the state is willing to bear. If war brings more enemies and perpetual war, strategy is flawed.
The U.S and its allies have been fighting terrorists and insurgents for almost 16 years. America has the best-equipped, most-seasoned, and best-led forces in its history. The forces of Team America have won a number of battles, conducted a host of strikes, and killed or captured many terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. Yet there are more murderous Islamist groups around the globe today than there were on 11 September 2001, and there is a strategic stalemate in Afghanistan. Team America is adept and upbeat about doing lethal actions to kill and capture militants. But, Team America does not have a viable strategy.
I have been harping for years that we need to understand the jihad mindset….not worry about other aspects….learn what they are thinking to better fight their creeping ideas….
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on July 20, Maj. John Spencer wrote:
“The battle for Mosul represents the future of warfare — and it wasn’t pretty … A rag-tag army of a few thousand Islamic State fighters managed to hold the city for months against some 100,000 U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces.”
There are a few myths about the US declared War on Terrorism….the reality is that this “War” is not as successful as some would have us believe….
As I argue in my recently published policy analysis here at Cato, the American-led war on terror has clearly failed. Unfortunately, rather than accept the obvious fact that the campaign was badly misguided and focusing homeland security efforts in more fruitful areas, the Trump administration appears ready to embrace, and perhaps even to escalate, the American commitment in the Middle East. Though President Trump himself has frequently voiced concerns about nation building in Iraq and the mission in Afghanistan, few of his senior advisers appear to share his worries. And sadly, few voices from the foreign policy establishment have questioned the need for continued American intervention.
The near total lack of debate begs a simple question: Why do so many smart people support the continuation of a strategy despite its abject failure over sixteen years and in the absence of anything even remotely approaching a new theory of victory?
The one aspect that all should remember…..we can kill the body but not the idea.
Maybe there is a good starting place for the formulation of a plan.