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On strategy (because all we have right now are tactics)...

 We may not have much of a strategy, but we do have books full of tactics. Throw enough at it, and you get an effect.

This, however, is engaging the 25m targets. A strategy is what sets the guidance for the targets ten years down the road - to focus on where we want to be, which guides how we get there, and gives order to the FLAILEX we find ourselves in.

As Clausewitz observed, "In war, everything is simple. It is also difficult."

So is it true of strategy. Too easy to fight the alligators, vice figuring out why and how to drain the swamp.

Iraq: ISIL On The Defensive
September 8, 2014: The American air attacks have increased and put ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) on the defensive. There have been about 150 American air attacks since they began on August 8 th and now occur everywhere ISIL has forces in Iraq. Thus in the last month ISIL has lost control of a major dam, a refinery and major oil fields around Kirkuk. ISIL is also losing control of the oil smuggling operation it had established in Syria and western Iraq. The attack against the Haditha dam includes local Sunni tribal militiamen who have refused to join ISIL. Many Sunni tribes backed away from supporting ISIL or agreed to work with the government. Haditha is the second largest dam in the country in terms of hydroelectric power and water supply.

It would be nice if we had something in place for "What Next?" but that woudl be strategy.  The President is supposed to bloviate about this tonight - an actual strategy, vice tactics.  We'll see.  one can olny hope.

7 Comments

It would have been nice if the Dubya administration had thought out what it was going to do with Iraq before he went in. Looking back on things, I'd go in now, but the nation building stuff was idiotic and took far too long. Sending Saddam's Army home was an act of insanity. One thing that people don't much think about is how Germany was stabilized so quickly after the war. Because of the Soviet Union's games, we quickly reconstituted the German Armed Forces so they could defend the FRG against the east block, and many, if not most, of the Officer Corps had been "Nazi" officers. Hans Speidel, Rommel's chief of staff in Normandy, ended up as deputy commander of NATO forces. Nothing of the sort was done by Dubya and the Iraqi Army. Had Dubya reconstituted the Iraqi Army and kept the Officer Corps and showing them that their future was completely tied to the Regime, then ISIS would not be anywhere near where it is now. But, forethought and FedGov simply don't go together. It's a part of the leftist disease that has completely infected the country.
 
 Quartermaster, you raise some interesting points, but how do we weave them into a strategy for this mess?

Everybody knows that after the first shot, all plans, tactics and strategies are subject to change without notice. What is the first thing that we should do in the development of an overall strategy for this region? I don't think either party has any room to brag about this situation, right or left. The first thing we should do is this, to do our homework before we plan on doing anything. We are never going to get the right answers until we ask the right questions. As I look at it, we need to be very skeptical before we start. Yes, this is a quagmire that is worse than 'Nam, we will never get out of that place. The question becomes this, is there anything that we can do and not make the situation any worse. It almost appears that they have learned from our military history and used it against us. Yes, I am thinking about Normandy. On the other hand, do we have the liberty to just sit this one out? Sadly, it just may not be an option. So what do we do? We need to honestly find out who our allies are and who our enemies are, we need to identify them by name and tribe. I don't care which political party, the President of the US comes from. The same is true of the members of Congress. In times like this, the President should never move unilaterally, but only under the provisions of the US Constitution and the requirement for a national Declaration of War. Our founding fathers put this function back in to use. My personal belief is this the only way we were intended to go into a protracted war. Any time that you have the time to do all of your homework and plan your attack with the calling up of troops to be deployed to a foreign nation, then you have the time to declare war in a US Constitutional precedent. If we are attacked, then and only then, do we have the opportunity to use the "Authorization to Use Military Force and that is only valid until the Congress can share in its own responsibilities to such an endeavor. This means the whole Nation goes to war and not just the Military. I believe this was the primary failure of George W Bush and his administration. He is not and shall never be the hero during that terrible time in our own history. The real horror is that he established a precedent that other US Presidents can follow. The real heros were the "Boots on the Ground, outside the wire".

 John, this does not answer your question about a strategy, but building a strategy is like building a house. First, you must dig the hole for the foundation and under that, you dig for the footing . Then, you need to put up your foundation with the deck that will become your first floor. But before you can do in need of this, you need a plan that is built on the vision of your house. We cannot look at just the vision of the house but we also must consider all of the work of the foundation. Since I don't believe George W Bush, even started to think this way, we found ourselves in the middle of this quagmire. To get specific about the issues you seek, I think this nation needs to understand that it will be on a war footing for the rest of time. There are so many aspects to this and you would still not have a military doctrine for a strategy. Like it or not, everybody will be involved. This is going to cost money, but nobody wants to talk about how to raise that money. There are many things that don't appear to be national security, but if you look at the foundations, you will see the absolute necessity for certain changes in just our own national self interests. One of those things is the efficiency of our government and of our people. Remember, as you well know the real heart of the issue is not strategy but of logistics. 
 
FRankly, Grumpy, I doubt there will be much we could now other than send a bunch of troops over to sit on Abdullah and keep him in line. I don't think things worked as well as tehy did in Europe because FDR's and Truman's gang of idiots exercised great foresight. Acheson showed how much of a moron he was in Korea, a situation that still needles us to this day. If it had not been for the situation with Ivan, Germany would not be in the shape it is. Same with Japan. We were forced by circumstances to do the right thing. Too many think "denazification worked" and Germany recovered from Hitler's regime. Never happened that way.

It would not have worked in German or Japan, and as we can see, it didn't work in Iraq either. Now it's broken, and we own it.
 
John, sorry that I can't compete with QM or Grumpy in their more scholarly approach to your posting. I am old school Army, came in with brown shoes and went out with jungle boots and this reflects a lot of my thinking which I would like to submit as one very small part of the strategy. When I first saw the "formations" on TV news I licked my chops and thought how much at that time I could be in charge for a short period. Strategy: No ROE. Call up a couple squadrons of A-10's for 24/7 ops and reauthorize napalm. Sure as H#%@ break up their desire (or capability) to mass forces. Just my thoughts.
 
 I have watched Obama spell out his so-called strategy for dealing with ISIS. Essentially, it sounded like George W. Bush with the same approach with one exception, no boots on the ground. For the region, both of them are making the exact same mistake. They are putting an extensive amount of trust on the local force. As the old saying goes, "His who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it." In many ways, they prove John's argument about our two-party system, the elitists and the non-elitists. The thing that most people don't realize is the amount of wealth that these people have in the elite segments of society. These people may more money in one hour on a 24/7/52 basis, then many of us make in our total lifetime. When it comes to dealing with these terrorists, they figure that is a job for the sevens to do. By the way, who are the servants? If you want to know, walk into your bathroom and look into the mirror and this is a person who will be fighting the ISIS  troops. Obama used all of the right words. But what can I say I am just a Grumpy Auld Phart  and not too sharp. I wish he would help me to understand and that I see this fiasco and its application. If it was not too serious, it might even be funny..
 
 My hope is, that if Obama is serious in doing this war, or combat, against the Isis terrorist group, my hope is that he's going to put on his warrior hat, and fight this war to win it.  Such as:

 1) To do this war correctly, he  has to go into this fight with the goal to: to totally destroy or capture all of the Isis men/people operating in Iraq and Syria.

 and

 2) To do this war correctly, He has to dedicate himself to say: when the Isis troops are shooting rifles and other lethal weapons at me, and/or at my military people, that my military and I will shoot to kill these soldiers in order to stop them from killing us with their lethal weapons.

 If he doesn't 100% commit himself to all of these things, then he will not be fighting this war correctly. 

 To do this fight properly, he needs to enter this war with the will to win it.

 [ The above is just my opinion. I did not write this post to say that it is going to be right in everyone's view, or that my post  is a do-able concept for all people. Unrelated: please forgive my typos in this post].
 
Quartermaster, you write, "Iraq is broken and we own it." This is part of the problem, we do not own it. If we owned it, things would be different, not better, but different. With ownership, you have certain rights and all we have is the grief. With ownership, you have the right to cut out this cancer.

TR, words are cheap, it is the actions of Obama, himself, that will show what he is made of. In that region, many of our so-called allies are playing both ends against the middle. They have the attitude about military matters that sounds something like this, "Have the servants take care of this issue." Do you want to know who the servants are, who will be solving this issue? If you do, in the final conclusion of this fiasco, go take a look in the mirror. Everybody is worried about the budget for such an action. Now take a look at some of these countries in the Middle East.  Don't you think they should be paying for their own defense? They have the money, they are not poor. The elites of these countries are extremely wealthy. I'm not saying that they should pay for all of it, but they should make a healthy contribution for their own defense and the defense of their people.
 

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