Dark Excuses for US Failure to Defeat ISIS


Dark Excuses for America’s Failure to Defeat ISIS

By: Brandon Huson

In recent weeks, more and more discussion has focused on the failed US efforts to defeat ISIS, contrasted with the successful efforts of Russia. 

Since the Paris terrorist attacks a few weeks ago, it has become apparent that a new impetus for defeating terrorism is overtaking the Western political scene.  Or is it. 

While the US military has had to confront its failure against ISIS, mostly as a result of Russian success, recent explanations offered by military spokesmen and government officials for the US failure to defeat ISIS have been incredible and show an extreme willingness to play with three-dimensional reality.  That being said, this is nothing surprising or new.  But it should be noted what these excuses are so that it can be clearly seen who the US military/political establishment would have you blame for the failure to defeat ISIS.

One of the culprits hampering the American military defeat of ISIS is the immense US respect for civilians …

I know a few you just fainted, but I’m serious and this has been said publicly. “It’s insane. Seventy-five percent of those combat missions return to base without dropping a weapon,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stated to the Hill recently.  So the US is just too damn cautious and humanitarian to wage a successful campaign against ISIS?

In the same article Lt. Gen. John W. Hesterman III affirms this reason by stating that

“That’s been true for about the last 10 years, by the way — you know, based on the way we do conflict,”.

Of course, moral warfare is our only way of warfare.

The only problem with this is that it’s not true.  Recently, four servicemen who served a combined 10 years within America’s drone warfare program in various countries around the world, all surfaced to criticize the program.  In this Guardian article, they together blame the Paris terrorist attacks and others like it on the drone warfare campaign and the tendency of it, in up to 90% of cases, to result in the death of non-combatants.  How does one square the reports of these whistleblowers that the drone program alone, not to mention other airstrikes, is killing so many civilians that it is in part responsible for the fertile recruiting grounds for jihadists, while in the sphere of ISIS, the respect for human rights goes so far as to make the war against ISIS completely toothless? Clearly no such pressure exists on our allies such as Saudi Arabia, who are in the middle of a historically brutal air bombing campaign against the Yemenis population.

The next excuse that has emerged is that:

The US is using too much ammo and has exhausted their supply

So, in a mission where up to 75% of all missions return without firing any missiles, they have exhausted their missile supply? In addition, Air Force commander Mark Welsh has used this fact as evidence to justify his recent request to the Congress for more money toward the ISIS mission.  Though much has been made of Obama’s “cuts” to the military budget, any organization that has been called out for losing $8.6 trillion (since 1996) can unequivocally be cited as crazy for thinking that somehow their struggles are the result of a lack of resources.  This claim is both ludicrous on its base, but is of course even more absurd when one considers the actual relationship between the US and ISIS, and how US “failure” is anything but.

What both of these claims explaining US “failure” to defeat ISIS illuminate is the cynical nature of the US political and military establishment.   As the Russians and many others in the alternative media have been saying since the emergence of ISIS in mid to late 2014, there is no war ON ISIS, only a war WITH ISIS as the key protagonists and agents for US strategy.  This has also been elaborated extensively by Vladimir Putin who has recently provided several examples of photo evidence on the Turkey (NATO member)-ISIS connections following the recent downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish forces.  While the US role in the establishment of and continued support for ISIS is routinely mentioned in international press such as Russia Today and Telesur, it is scarcely mentioned in the mainstream American press.  Given the actual role of the US as supporters and not combatants of ISIS, their reasons for “failing” to combat ISIS come out looking even more absurd.

So while the US seems to be ‘running out of ammo’ in their war against ISIS, ISIS itself will become richer and is astonishingly well-armed and trained and being cited as dangerous due to its growing influence worldwide, even as they suffer setbacks in Syria.  This is occurring according to American officials who have recently warned of the expanding threat ISIS poses to the US homeland.  CIA director John Brennan has stated that ISIS has become transnational in scope and that he “would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline.” This is combined with comments from the future Democratic presidential candidate (President?) Hilary Clinton that war against ISIS is a “long-term” struggle.

Should the war against ISIS indeed be long-term with more planned attacks carried out against American or other Western targets, the US political/military establishment has already headed off two potential arguments against future draconian security measures carried out by an already out of control police state.

Humanitarian concerns regarding civilian safety can be disregarded more openly as this very humanitarianism has already been propped up as a reason for failed/ing US operations in Syria.  Lastly, anyone who attempts to question the US military’s take in the budget has also had a seat reserved for them at the (very unpopular) pro-ISIS table as someone who supports terrorism.  The arguments are ready to be made to objectors on either of the above grounds, wasn’t that how we failed to stop ISIS in the first place?

Brandon Huson is a PhD candidate in political science and geopolitical researcher with a focus  on alternative social systems and practices, economic development in the developing world, world politics and media.

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