Korner: Can the U.S. Defeat ISIS?
who let the dogs out :: woof, woof-woof, woof-WOOF


... well, General Mattis thinks we can.  Which is something like Bill James saying, "Sure, I think we can identify who belongs in the Hall of Fame."  It's a source worth considering.

A great question came up:  What can Trump do to defeat ISIS, that hasn't already been done?  My answer:  I'd give my generals 30 days to draft a plan to annihilate - not contain - ISIS.  There are still Nazis and drunk drivers, but it's not as cool any more.  :- )  Firm resolve is half the battle.

Trump's Executive Order on ISIS (delivered his second day in office) detailed that Secretary of State Mattis must deliver,


“(A) a comprehensive strategy and plans for the defeat of ISIS;

(B) recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law regarding the use of force against ISIS;

(C) public diplomacy, information operations, and cyber strategies to isolate and delegitimize ISIS and its radical Islamist ideology;

(D) identification of new coalition partners in the fight against ISIS and policies to empower coalition partners to fight ISIS and its affiliates;

(E) mechanisms to cut off or seize ISIS’s financial support, including financial transfers, money laundering, oil revenue, human trafficking, sales of looted art and historical artifacts, and other revenue sources; and

(F) a detailed strategy to robustly fund the Plan.”


Point (B), for example ... if you ask a U.S. Servicemember what is the key to defeating ISIS, the first thing he'll say -- guaranteed -- is that he needs harder rules of engagement.  Hence the language of point (B) above.  U.S. Soldiers say again and again that their hands have been tied.  No swipe against previous years intended; it's just an illustration of the way that civilian (Presidential) attitudes can bring impactful changes to the way the military does business.

As we discussed in the other thread, there is also the question of engaging governments on non-military levels -- of supporting their good guys and discouraging their bad guys.  But Trump's EO spells out the fundamentals of what Mattis would do.

How effective will it be?  Good question.


It would make a good Konspiracy Korner to discuss each Executive Order, probably (though we don't want to wear people out).  The language of an EO can serve as a primer on an issue.





tjm's picture

Sorry I'm late to this discussion which seems to have gone completely haywire without my gentle guidance.

BUT does anyone think there is a strategy regardless of rules of engagement with which we could eliminate ISIS? Does anyone think the two terms of Bush and two terms of Obama were not spent pursuing some - any - strategy to combat radical Islam? Does anyone think battlefield tactics are anything more than trivial to this effort? If we could win this fight on the battlefield it would already be over. What part of asymmetric warfare are we missing here?

There's not a commander in the US military who thinks this isn't more an issue of hearts and minds than bombs and bullets. There is a problem deep within the heart of Islam that has to be addressed a resolved. You ain't gonna do it with rules of engagement.


I am sure there are several people who believe:

1. Bush could have done things better

2. Obama could have done things better

3. Trump and his 30 Generals have a better plan

Unfortunately, I agree with you that this is a religious war, where all the sides believe:

1. at least one side is the Great Satan or being manipulated by Satan

2. all sides have their own book - Bible, Talmut , Koran - that states that their Lord will come and completely destroy the non believers

3. all sides are always recruiting at levels no propaganda can stop   


...one of those faiths turns is home countries to utter trash piles wherever it is in majority rule...the others do not. 



Certainly one is free to believe in moral equivalence simply because both are religions. If you believe religion is "fake news," and all religion is dangerous and destructive to the social progress of an enlightened society, then the distinction between which religion is better becomes less important. I describe this as the Star Trek paradigm. Religions are quaint (and sometimes not-so-quaint) relics of pre-scientific minds accourding to this viewpoint.

But if you believe, as I do, that religions are not all created equal, and that there is indeed a special, revealed, historically transmitted truth in the Bible not characteristic of other religions, then the distinction between Christianity and Islam in general and Islamic jihadism in particular is fundamental and vastly important.

I don't expect those who take the other side to agree with me, but I think the distinction between the two religions at this point in history is unmistakable. In other words, in my view both approaches can look at the situation and see that there is obviously no moral equivalence, unless they are determined not to see it.


I completely agree with you and Matt.

I was just trying to lightly touch on religion without getting religious... since I'm one of those whole Bible believers who is just waiting for Damascus to be destroyed over night and for Isreal to expand it's borders without having to use a wall. 


Thanks for clarifying, Tacoma. Can't remember whether or not I was responding directly to you, but I completely get that you want to help us understand where you are coming from.


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