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Manning writes: "Based on my experience as an all-source analyst in Iraq during the organization's relative infancy, Isis cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets - even as the fight is taken to Syria, even if it is conducted by non-Western forces with air support."

Chelsea Manning. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Chelsea Manning. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)


How to Make ISIS Fall on Its Own Sword

By Chelsea Manning, Guardian UK

16 September 14

 

Degrade and destroy? The west should try to disrupt the canny militants into self-destruction, because bombs will only backfire

he Islamic State (Isis) is without question a very brutal extremist group with origins in the insurgency of the United States occupation of Iraq. It has rapidly ascended to global attention by taking control of swaths of territory in western and northern Iraq, including Mosul and other major cities.

Based on my experience as an all-source analyst in Iraq during the organization’s relative infancy, Isis cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets – even as the fight is taken to Syria, even if it is conducted by non-Western forces with air support.

I believe that Isis is fueled precisely by the operational and tactical successes of European and American military force that would be – and have been – used to defeat them. I believe that Isis strategically feeds off the mistakes and vulnerabilities of the very democratic western states they decry. The Islamic State’s center of gravity is, in many ways, the United States, the United Kingdom and those aligned with them in the region.

When it comes to regional insurgency with global implications, Isis leaders are canny strategists. It’s clear to me that they have a solid and complete understanding of the strengths and, more importantly, the weaknesses of the west. They know how we tick in America and Europe – and they know what pushes us toward intervention and overreach. This understanding is particularly clear considering the Islamic State’s astonishing success in recruiting numbers of Americans, Britons, Belgians, Danes and other Europeans in their call to arms.

Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again.

And avoiding direct action with Isis can be successful. For instance, in 2009 and 2010, forerunners to the Isis group attacked civilians in suicide and car bombings in downtown Baghdad to try and provoke American intervention and sectarian unrest. But they were often not effective in their recruiting efforts when American and Iraqi forces refused (or were unable) to respond, because the barbarity and brutality of their attacks worked against them. When we did respond, however, the attacks were sold to the Sunni minority in Iraq as a justified response to an occupying government favoring the Shia government led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Based on my intelligence work in Iraq during that period, I believe that only a very focused and consistent strategy of containment can be effective in reducing the growth and effectiveness of Isis as a threat. And so far, Western states seem to have adopted that strategy. With very public humanitarian disasters, however, like the ones on Mount Sinjar and Irbil in northern Iraq, and the beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, this discipline gets tested and can begin to fray.

As a strategy to disrupt the growth of Isis, I suggest focusing on four arenas:

  • Counter the narrative in online Isis recruitment videos – including professionally made videos and amateur battle selfies – to avoid, as best as possible, the deliberate propaganda targeting of desperate and disaffected youth. This would rapidly prevent the recruitment of regional and western members.

  • Set clear, temporary borders in the region, publicly. This would discourage Isis from taking certain territory where humanitarian crises might be created, or humanitarian efforts impeded.

  • Establish an international moratorium on the payment of ransom for hostages, and work in the region to prevent Isis from stealing and taxing historical artifacts and valuable treasures as sources of income, and especially from taking over the oil reserves and refineries in Bayji, Iraq. This would disrupt and prevent Isis from maintaining stable and reliable sources of income.

  • Let Isis succeed in setting up a failed “state” – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern. This might begin to discredit the leadership and ideology of Isis for good.

Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.

But the world just needs to be disciplined enough to let the Isis fire die out on its own, intervening carefully and avoiding the cyclic trap of “mission creep”. This is certainly a lot to ask for. But Isis is wielding a sharp, heavy and very deadly double-edged sword. Now just wait for them to fall on it.

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-42 # Jingze 2014-09-16 17:35
What nonsense. ISIS will be contained if Big Oil deems it necessary to protect its profits. Otherwise, forget it.
 
 
-17 # tahoevalleylines 2014-09-17 15:57
Good morning Mr. Manning.. Here's your coffee

Purists will note ISIL et al are now pretty much astride the Covenant Borders of Israel as seen in Joshua Chapt 1 V1-6. So,leaving (this branch of ISIL; more futther down) these bad boys in situ would deliver them into the hands of the ISF in due time.

The glaring mistake made by all hands hereabouts is the simple fact ISIS has metastasized across the panorama of Muslim populations. Period Let's go to the heart of this threat: Elements sympathetic to the Islamic State cause have insinuated themselves into all the governments of Islamic States, believe it or don't.

Turkey's President lusts after leadership of the incipient Caliphate, and so, watch Recip Erdogan maneuver into position to assume the mantle if present ISIL leadership is deposed. The most serious case is Pakistan; watch Israel's reaction time when ISIL announces control of the Pakistani Nuclear weapons collection.

Charles Manning does not fathom the scope of the threat posed by militant Islam. Are Muslim servicemen & technicians near the French "Force de Frappe", for example?

We are in a fine mess...
 
 
+9 # Billsy 2014-09-19 10:35
You reveal your true intent with your disrespectful salutation, an insult to the author's carefully worded op/ed based on years of experience in intelligence gathering. Please take your weak brew of MSM coffee elsewhere. We're full up on false narratives here.
 
 
+4 # Billsy 2014-09-19 10:32
You have proven yourself consistently to be nothing more than a right wing troll. Your posts are discredited, voted thumbs down, and dutifully ignored. May I redirect you to Faux News or the Washington Times?
 
 
+1 # David Heizer 2014-09-16 18:33
Some good ideas here, although letting them create their state and waiting for it to fail means sitting by and watching a bloodbath.

I just wish she'd used the conventional nomenclature and avoided naming them after a revered goddess. I have friends who worship Isis.
 
 
-5 # reiverpacific 2014-09-17 10:43
Quoting David Heizer:
Some good ideas here, although letting them create their state and waiting for it to fail means sitting by and watching a bloodbath.

I just wish she'd used the conventional nomenclature and avoided naming them after a revered goddess. I have friends who worship Isis.


Is'is getting outa here!
There are "Woo-woos" everywhere.
 
 
+4 # ericlipps 2014-09-17 12:06
Quoting reiverpacific:
Quoting David Heizer:
Some good ideas here, although letting them create their state and waiting for it to fail means sitting by and watching a bloodbath.

I just wish she'd used the conventional nomenclature and avoided naming them after a revered goddess. I have friends who worship Isis.


Is'is getting outa here!
There are "Woo-woos" everywhere.

That's a cheap shot. I don't share Mr. Heizer's experience with pagans, but so what? Calling the terror group Isis rather than ISIS is simply stupid. Or do you expect the Fbi to investigate crimes or the Irs to collect taxes?
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2014-09-17 15:16
Quoting ericlipps:
Quoting reiverpacific:
Quoting David Heizer:
Some good ideas here, although letting them create their state and waiting for it to fail means sitting by and watching a bloodbath.

I just wish she'd used the conventional nomenclature and avoided naming them after a revered goddess. I have friends who worship Isis.


Is'is getting outa here!
There are "Woo-woos" everywhere.

That's a cheap shot. I don't share Mr. Heizer's experience with pagans, but so what? Calling the terror group Isis rather than ISIS is simply stupid. Or do you expect the Fbi to investigate crimes or the Irs to collect taxes?


O' Hell, peace -I was just being a bit of an irrepressible joker -I just canna resist a wee play on words, 'scuse if it offended.
I'm probably a bit of a "Pagan" and am fairly friendly with a few "Woo-woos" where I live as long as they keep a sense o' humor about it all and themselves, which some of them don't in which case so I enjoy a bit of harmless teasing.
I'm an honorary member of the American Indian Movement (for working with tribal alcoholics) the closest I get to a religion and believe sincerely in our Mother Earth and our inter-relatedne ss from spiritual ceremonies in many countries including this one and in my home Scottish Borders where the town of Selkirk still celebrates the Beltane Queen annually with a huge midnight bonfire at an ancient standing stone, much "Ceremonial" boozing and extended pub hours.
 
 
-1 # bmiluski 2014-09-18 08:34
reiverpaific... ....unless you actually know the person you're "teasing".....i t is never harmless.
Your disrespect of another's spiritual beliefs is NOT teasing. It's rude and disrespectful.
 
 
+5 # Anarchist 23 2014-09-17 17:02
by 'woo-woos' do you mean devotees of Isis? I don't think it is much to request to have at least a proof-reader correct that for Ms. Manning, who I am sure meant no disrespect. For those of us who follow other Paths, some comments do seem disrespectful.
 
 
+81 # Lucretius 2014-09-16 20:54
Manning should know. Just look at Iraq.
 
 
+2 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-09-18 21:05
Frankly,who the hell would want to serve in a country that has been doused with a weapon of mass destruction, D U. Hundreds of metric tons of D U were spread over Southern Iraq as toxic deadly powder. This metal was used instead of lead as it is much heavier than lead. When shot out of a firing chamber, it starts on fire. Turns into a deadly powder after target impact. D U is a removed isotope from Uranium causing Uranium to be "enriched." D U is 60-70 % as lethal as naturally occurring Uranium. D U caused an explosion in reported cancer rates as measured before and after the war. For the U.S.to put boots on the ground would be a criminal act by the U.S. military. And yes. D U is considered a weapon of mass destruction. A micro nuclear weapon. Check it out for yourself. Type in your computer address, "D U, health effects in Iraq."
 
 
+110 # Eliz77 2014-09-16 21:44
Why should we contribute to the blood bath. It is probably safer for all to watch the blood bath without participating in it. You know that bombs are bloody and it seems weird that we insist that we can't let any terrorist group kill folks and get people angry, but we have to come in and help them kill folks and get them angrier at us. Chelsea makes perfect sense. Several sources that I have seen say the same thing. You know, Saddam would have gone down without us having to cause close to 1 million deaths and 4 million refugees. Not to mention the trillions of $ that we threw at Halliburton and the other multinational corps that really messed up the country.
 
 
+53 # ritawalpoleague 2014-09-17 01:47
Yes, Eliz77. ISIS is BSBS, one more way of conning us/U.S. into yet more endless war, war, war for $$$$$ and oil, oil, oil, a.k.a. "our interests".

I am soooo supportive of Code Pink, and what our Pinkers did yesterday to get it through to this so broken congress of ours, regarding NO MORE WAR IN IRAQ OR SYRIA. Women for Peace need many, many more people with brain cells working and goodness in place vs. greed and need for power over all the only method of operating.
 
 
+2 # arquebus 2014-09-17 17:26
What it looks like so far is that our bombing sorties are targeting the tanks, APCs, artillery pieces and rolling stock ISIS took away from the Iraqis.
 
 
+13 # Eliz77 2014-09-16 21:46
That was "trillion +, not trillions.
 
 
+79 # Thebigkate 2014-09-16 22:10
Is anybody listening to Chelsea Manning? I hope so. This is a bright person--who gets the reason ISIL has risen so rapidly:

..." Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again.'

What in the world did we think would happen when we de-throned all of Saddam's Bathist power-brokers? And put an incompetent Shite guy into power? Really, this is Psych. 101.

I hope Obama, his generals, SecDef and SecState will read and pay attention to this--although it is already probably too late.
 
 
+68 # California Neal 2014-09-17 00:07
As detailed in a lengthy New Yorker article recently, putting al-Maliki in power was the CIA's idea. And we knew he'd been trained by the Iranians as an anti-Sunni terrorist! From the beginning until the end, he was never interested in leading an inclusive democracy. What a fiasco!

I hope we get smart this time, but there's little sign we will. I'm an old guy & I've been watching these situations (run-ups to wars & the ensuing wars) develop for decades. Progressives are the people who have the best ideas of what we should do right from the start. But when they're even noticed, they're derided. And the destructive violence & unwise foreign policies just keep happening.
 
 
+45 # caphillprof 2014-09-17 05:36
And let us never forget that the Republicans disbanded Iraqs standing army turning an army into an insurgency in the snap of the fingers. Way to go, Bremer!
 
 
+54 # Betty Bimbalina 2014-09-16 22:13
Chelsea makes a lot of sense. But it will probably take a miracle for the US to use intelligence for once instead of brute force in their tactics dealing with Isis.

And btw RSN, why do you keep running an old male persona photo with articles by Chelsea? Transphobic or just lazy?
 
 
+21 # Scott Galindez 2014-09-17 07:54
Betty,

Its not being lazy...Should we run the one image with the wig every time? We have run it often. They don't allow cameras into prison to get a current photo. I am proud of this shot and will use it again...

I also thought the shot in uniform added to hercredibility on this issue.
 
 
+7 # medusa 2014-09-16 22:13
But setting clear boundaries for the caliphate and preventing capture of oil or artifacts is a program that requires military intervention.
I hope that having a clear purpose of defeating ISIS force will work-- and I agree that political scheming and planning by this country is not a good addition to our using force.
 
 
+30 # Rollie 2014-09-16 22:45
ISIS is a lot more sophisticated than any previous terrorist orbs. Chelsea apparently is not familiar with how ISIS is managing Mosul. All very organized and humane; people are returning to Mosul. Similarly their sophisticated use of propaganda and the web in recruiting caucasians to join the ranks. A first time. Setting a boundary is a joke. They will consolidate their holdings during the "peace" period. Chelsea's 1st & 3rd actions are sound. We should launch a propaganda campaign that would drown theirs. Keeping oil and other resources out of their hands is critical. Obama's condition for getting a unified Sunni-Shia-Kurd government/soci ety in Iraq is essential. We should be very careful about whom we kill in the process - the principle weakness in solely an air war and depending on Shia military for pointing out targets. There is no clear, easy, quick, cheap, way to bring peace to the region due to egos. And any plan of action will have failures because the other team is trying to win too. I think " no boots on the ground" is a politically driven bad limitation on our options. The Arab Spring experience has made Obama very cautious. We need to get more propagandists into the act. Muslims need convincing.
THE OTHER TRAGEDY IS THIS TAKES AWAY FROM DEALING ADEQUATELY WITH CLIMATE CHANGE WHICH IS ACCELERATING AND GETTING MORE COSTLY WHILE THE GOP IS LIMITING PUBLIC EXPENDITURES ON THINGS AS CRITICAL AS
EDUCATION, THE ONLY SOLUTION TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS.
 
 
+2 # Khidr 2014-09-17 13:43
USA is fighting wars for Israel, thanks to AIPAC controlled Congress, and the dual citizens & controlled media running our foreign policies. We have wasted trillions $$$$ in these destructive wars for Israel's protection, knocking Iraq, Libya, Syria now and Iran very soon. All these countries have been thorn in Israel side for her illegal expansionism. Lets not forget the trolls trying to hijack the articles and the discussion.
 
 
+27 # itchyvet 2014-09-17 00:55
Balderdash ! Events in Iraq are going to plan splendidly. The object of waging war and illegally invading Iraq, was (as already admitted by many Neocons) to DIVIDE AND CONQUER. Make no mistake about it, thats why Negroponti was sent to Iraq in the first instance, it was necessary to get the Sunnis fighting the Shia and vice versa, thus doing the job for the U.S. at little loss of manpower to the U.S. It was stated very early on in the invasion, the IDEAL situation in Iraq would be to break it down into THREE SMALLER STATES.
Thus, that plan is working out very nicely thank you.
ISIS, is (as everyone outside the U.S. knows very well,) a product of the U.S. and in particular it's CIA, and IT HAS A PURPOSE, that purpose is to assist in the breakup of Iraq.
Lately, the movers and shakers have come to realize that they can utilize ISI for another task, that is the EXCUSE of being a threat, and under cover of that excuse, BOMB Syria, which is something the U.S. has been striving for the last three years without success, stymied at every turn.
They now believe, the opportunity has arisen via ISIS, and under that pretext, will wage war against Syria.
Make no mistake, you won't be told it's war, but seriously, what do you call it when a nation drops bombs and missiles on another, killing thousands of their people?
In the U.S. today, such an action is called a HUMANITARIAN action .
 
 
+20 # ishmael 2014-09-17 01:18
Ms Manning makes an interesting point about using the media.  With all the surveillance technology everyone is so upset about, is it possible to simply silence them, the criminals running ISIS.  Cut out their media tongues... Cut off their ability to communicate.

I'd like to see a massive camaign of media and meetings of enormous numbers of caring, sane people in huge public places to embarrass the daylights out of these criminals.   To make hating them popular, as it should be.  They cannot survive long without feeding.  Starve them.  Isolate them. 

They are in bad need of being exposed as poseurs, psychopaths posing behind religious trappings.  They are fake, and local people should inform other local people about who they really are.  The whole idea of violent western intervention is ridiculous in view of the last 40+ years of the same cycle of retaliation followed by retaliation.  ISIS is AQ for the 2010's.

More violent suppression is likely to backfire as it has been since 2003 in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
 
0 # Salus Populi 2014-09-21 22:40
Quoting ishmael:
With all the surveillance technology everyone is so upset about, is it possible to simply silence them, the criminals running ISIS.


Only problem with that is that the web site that is used to disseminate their propaganda videos is near Washington, DC, and is closely connected to the Pentagon. There is a very high likelihood that the entire "Islamic State" threat is ginned up to give the U.S. an excuse to launch another illegal war of aggression, this time against Syria.

The congressional vote to support the "moderates" in the Syrian opposition is merely the first step; as has been pointed out at the Global Research site, the FSA is no more "moderate" than al Nusra or ISIL, which has spent the last couple of years decapitating prisoners, eating the organs of those they kill, executing an 11 year old children for supposed blasphemy, hanging a six-year-old as an example, gassing their own people to persuade the U.S. to provide them an air force, etc. -- all to a conspicuous silence in the MSM.

The family of the executed British aid worker has publicly accused the FSA of having 'sold' their son to ISIL.

Make no mistake, with every war in the 20th century that the U.S. has involved itself in or started, it has used manipulative propaganda, lies and false flags to "sell" the planned imperial adventure to the populace, This too will turn out to be merely a means of getting support for more bloodshed and terror.
 
 
+10 # ishmael 2014-09-17 01:48
ISIS is clearly a disease. Muslims despise them.
 
 
+15 # beachboy 2014-09-17 04:03
Yes, bombs and guns are the stupid way...as proven by stupid US governments over and over! Trouble is, as witnessed over the last 50 years, big money doesn't mean big brains! The US elites are too stupid to be a world government, too egotistic and stupid to act for the better of the world's people, but they are the last to know, sadly for the rest of us in this world. Under the cover of 'democracy' and 'freedom' as goals, the stupid egotists in Washington and on Wall Street have killed millions, and we are seeing this crap now in many settings, like the Ukraine, Europe generally, Asia, Africa, Palestine, etc., etc. So sad, too bad, for the neo liberal ego assholes, but the stupidity will end the hegemony dreams of this destructive country soon...and we can all get on with the creation of a true 'new world order' of family, world wide. Halleluhja!:)
 
 
+11 # RMDC 2014-09-17 06:24
ISIS fighters are recruited from Saudi run Madrasas. That is where they learn the ideology of political Islam that Manning refers to. It is the Saudis and their own sect of Islam, Wahhabism, which preach the Caliphate and an Islamic empire.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/09/sleeping-with-the-devil-how-u-s-and-saudi-backing-of-al-qaeda-led-to-911.html

The best way to stop ISIS is to stop the Saudis. But this really won't happen because the US CIA has been working with the Saudis since the early 70s to create these proxy armies filled with "desperate and disaffected youth" as Manning says as well as professioinal military mercenaries, mostly ex-US and British special forces.

They way to stop ISIS is to stop the CIA. Obama could give an order to John Brennan. But Obama knows what happened last time a president dissed the CIA. He ended up with a bullet in his head in Dallas, Tx.

There are plenty of disaffected people in the middle east and all over the Muslim world. They have a right to be disaffected and to hate the US. It is a fact that the US is engaged in a world wide war against Islam. Christians hate Muslims and deeply want to exterminate them. Muslims are correct to want to fight back and defend themselves from the new Christian Crusade.

But in the case of ISIS, the CIA is manipulating these disaffected Muslim nationalists to help achieve its goals of destroying secular and progressive states in the ME like Iraq, Syria, Libya, and so on.
 
 
+17 # fredboy 2014-09-17 06:53
Brilliant. From a courageous guy (the only U.S. military rep who had the balls to expose U.S. crimes and wrongdoing in Iraq and was imprisoned for doing so) who is also a master of strategy.

The problem is our military/defens e/policy approach is led by idiots, most trained in the knee-jerk, polar reasoning (either-or) approach to combat and confrontation. Most also were never in peril at any time in their lives--rich kids who never had to figure out a way to end hostility.

As a strategist and PR/media guy, I agree with Manning: ISIS is orchestrating a highly effective PR recruiting campaign by relying on the US and others to kneejerk react and bring the fight to them. Thus they appear victimized by The Oppressor, The Interventionist , and become the victims.

Makes one wonder if anyone driving the U.S. horses knows this and recognizes this obvious strategy--but also knows it will mean a prolonged "war" and buildup and MORE MONEY FOR THE DEFENSE CONTRACTORS.

Sadly, I hope that's the case. Because otherwise we are again left with the image of a Dumb and Dumber national defense team diving into every overseas bar room brawl--while stateside, as with 9/11 and Katrina--sittin g back and doing nothing and allowing death and devastation to happen.
 
 
-9 # moafu@yahoo.com 2014-09-17 07:05
Manning makes sense on the suggestions. However, as a military "person" he/she forgets one critical principal of war -
"Break the will to fight of the enemy". This evil demonstrated by ISIS showed it ugly head at the onset of Islam, through the Barbary Pirates, and into today. Churchill described it best.
 
 
+21 # fredboy 2014-09-17 07:25
Isn't it amazing that America imprisoned the guy with the courage to expose our criminal wrongs in Iraq (the intentional helicopter gunship crew murders of unarmed civilian news crew members and civilians) yet pinned medals on the countless thousand cowards who were there who always turned their heads and looked the other way.
 
 
+5 # shawnsargent2000 2014-09-17 08:06
That is the way it its, and only we have the power to change it.
We need to stop the war now!
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2014-09-18 19:04
Yes, it is amazing. No wonder the US always marches headlong into the stupidest wars. Obama says "don't do stupid stuff" but locking up Manning was pretty stupid.
 
 
+5 # lobdillj 2014-09-17 08:02
Quote: They know how we tick in America and Europe – and they know what pushes us toward intervention and overreach. This understanding is particularly clear considering the Islamic State’s astonishing success in recruiting numbers of Americans, Britons, Belgians, Danes and other Europeans in their call to arms. Unquote.

I agree that we shouldn't do what we have always done--grab the tarbaby-- but...could someone explain why videos of beheadings of journalists by a masked executioner stimulate recruitment of western people? Astonishing is a good word for it--if it is true. I have suspected that the stories about ISIS' success in recruiting westerners were pro-war propaganda designed to scare Americans into support for more bombing.
 
 
+1 # Salus Populi 2014-09-21 23:02
Very likely; and the 'beheadings' themselves smack of manipulation and deceit: If the desired effect is terror in the viewer, why have the 'executioner' masked to disguise his identity, a sign of cowardice?

Why pull the camera back at the last minute, so that the viewer does not see the victim's death? In the age of photoshop and home-made videos of professional quality, who can say whether the 'execution' took place in the way advertised?

The second 'journalist' victim has been reported to have had a picture taken of him with the Jihadists, behind a machine gun, and also to have had close ties to the Mossad.

After all, the CIA was 'present at the Creation' of Al Qaida in Afghanistan during what Brzezinski called "the Soviets' own Vietnam," a planned and successful covert op six months *before* the USSR's intervention.

Is there any valid reason to suppose it has nothing to do with the extremist forces that were thrown into the attempt to overthrow Assad? Both Rand Paul and the relatively conservative German newspaper Der Spiegel have alleged the existence of U.S. training camps in Turkey and Jordan that have hosted the so-called Syrian 'rebels.'
 
 
+5 # fredboy 2014-09-17 10:32
Sad but true:
We keep doing the same shit and screwing things up--
* Supporting Sadam during the Iraq-Iran bitchfest.
* Decrying Sadam during the Iraq-Kuwait oil bitchfest.
* Supporting and arming Osama Pajama to help him fight the Russians.
* Supporting and arming ISIS to fight Syria.

What do they teach at the U.S. service academies: REPETITIVE MOTION?

It's like a damned Three Stooges movie! Only not funny.
 
 
+2 # tclose 2014-09-17 11:30
"Based on my intelligence work in Iraq during that period, I believe that only a very focused and consistent strategy of containment can be effective in reducing the growth and effectiveness of Isis as a threat. And so far, Western states seem to have adopted that strategy."

There are certainly a lot of comments here pro and con, and all over the map. But I believe Chelsea has made some really thoughtful as well as insightful recommendations . She does praise the direction taken "so far" by western powers - but she also advises caution in allowing the proposed patient strategy of containment to be enlarged to a military campaign that will only inflame Muslim opinion and be self-defeating.

It sounds like Obama has decided more towards a mostly military solution (perhaps Ms. Manning wrote this article prior to knowing what his approach would be). He is probably reacting to withering fire, as usual, from the right about his being too weak on war stuff. The President would do well to consider her approach and dial back the military orientation of his program, as well as add some of her suggestions that are key to defeating ISIS as a magnet for "desperate and disaffected youth"(both Muslim and Western).
 
 
+3 # Edwina 2014-09-17 11:52
Good to hear from Manning. Andrew Bacevich is also critical of U.S. Military strategy. We know that ISIS is using U.S. weapons, captured or bought/traded in Syria. We know that Saudi Arabia, sometimes through "private" actors, has funded ISIS elements in Syria. In other words, our Middle East policy has caused the situation we now find ourselves in. To underscore how unsuccessful this strategy is likely to be, we did not include Syria or Iran in recent talks on how to address the "crisis" of ISIS. We are doing, basically, what Bush did, but expecting a different result. Or, since our leaders probably aren't that stupid, it must be that they are not serious about ending the war on the Middle East. Maybe they think they can so devastate those countries that multi-national corporations can come in and pick up the pieces. There will be no "nations" to oppose them.
 
 
+2 # Khidr 2014-09-17 13:58
Our neocon & neo liberal directed Mideast policies are going as per plan and have been very successful. Muslims countries in Mideast & elsewhere have been splitup or in chaos. Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afganistan, Pakistan. Even mighty Russia has been sucked up and sanctioned for trying to help Obama with Syria issue. These Mideast planners don't care who gets hurt or destroyed as long as the Chosen ones are on the top.
 
 
+5 # caylworth@gmail.com 2014-09-17 12:04
Ms. Manning is right on target. We should fight ISIL as we would fight a forest fire. You can't put it out. You have to contain it, deny it fuel, and wait until it burns out. Bombing and urban combat will only feed the ISIL flames. We need to disengage, state our national goals cleanly, and work with our allies to keep it within it's boundaries.It will burn out on its own. This method does not make war profiteers like Dick Cheney and the Bushes, richer. Let's use the Army to fight ebola, not ISIL.
 
 
0 # elkingo 2014-09-17 12:16
Hello All,
Manning's ideas touch tangentially but with emphatic significance on a recent interview with Noam Chomnsky here: "qualification" fo an opinion. Here we have a "disgraced" transgender convict private presuming to advise POTUS, SecDef and the Chairman JCS.
But know what? He may know better. I am totally at a loss as to how to deal with the situation, but ISIS DOES have all the major features of Nazi Germany, and though a near-pacifist, I think that guy who cuts people's heads off with a knife needs a little "bullet therapy".

I hope the officials above read Mannings screed.
 
 
0 # elkingo 2014-09-17 12:35
Also, the business about the genocidal activities against the Yasidis and all- other non-believers, let alone the beheadings, poses a moral imperative to neutralize same by whatever force necessary, and I don't care how stupid and imperialistic American foreign policy is,or how sophisticated ISIS is at PR, which is by definition bullshit, our's or theirs.
 
 
+1 # elkingo 2014-09-17 12:54
And Round 3. All of this Middle East horror, and indeed every other social ill it may be, is underlain by the unavoidable need for planetary, i.e. global cultural revision, and the development of consciousness of same. Such niceties as the nation-state, money, capitalism, fossil fuel, gender, ethnicity, non-liberal religion, race must be discarded for planetary survival
(i.e. life hereupon) - let alone for the sake of elemental decency for the worlds's billions. Gooogle >thezeitgeistmo vement.com< which propounds these ideas along with myself.
Happy Enlightenment





1
 
 
+1 # Coleen Rowley 2014-09-17 13:05
You are very right, Chelsea, and many experts agree with your assessment, even top echelons at the CIA and Pentagon who have a conflict of interest, actually are very worried. Ordinary people too are beginning to see the light. It's so important to explain to the powers that be not only why their post 9-11 plans are unethical and illegal but why they are stupid, why they won't work and will prove counter-product ive and blow back upon the U.S. Obama said, "don't do stupid stuff" yet if he follows through with the plan he announced, he will be known for having acted even stupider than George Bush.
 
 
+2 # RMF 2014-09-17 13:45
I have always tried to avoid conspiracy theories and instead use objectivitity based on a shared understanding of underlying goals, in this case the defeat of Islamic terrorism. However, the post above by itchyvet really resonates -- and as Edwina points out, our political leaders in US are probably not so stupid as they appear. Which leads me to suspect that any analysis based on a shared-belief about defeating terrorism is fundamentally, perhaps fatally, flawed.
 
 
+4 # swissms 2014-09-17 15:59
I love the range of perspective in this discussion all the way from he US powers that be knowing exactly what they are doing to the US powers that be getting it all wrong. I wish I knew which was true. Also, I love the concept of letting ISIS over-reach and burn itself out. On the other hand, what if we had taken that approach with the Nazis?--said, look, they are spouting crazy ideas and massacring people they don't like, but they are spreading themselves out too far by trying to take over all of Europe. Surely the local populace will turn on them soon, since they are so extreme in their philosophy. Let's just "contain" them and they'll burn themselves out. What would have happened had we not intervened to stop the Nazis? And we were 6 million Jews too late at that. That's my fear.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2014-09-18 09:13
Quoting bmiluski:
reiverpaific.......unless you actually know the person you're "teasing".....it is never harmless.
Your disrespect of another's spiritual beliefs is NOT teasing. It's rude and disrespectful.


If you read my apologetic and explicatory response to "ericlipps" again, I wrote that I DO know the people in my locality that I was teasing -and they take it in good heart; -get right back at me in fact (having a strong Scottish accent and being an activist and vocal Socialist here is alway good for a laff and poke in my direction).
Where I originally come from, merciless "Slagging" is almost a given, especially in the Rugby fraternity as you should know from what you have written in previous post as a former player.
So respectfully, do yerself a favor and loosen up.
BTW, Chelsea Manning is a true hero(ine) in my book and shows a very "sporting", gracious mien to offer suggestions and assistance from her direct experience and observations at the front to the very brutally mindless, warmongering forces who have bunged her in prison.
I just hope they pay attention and give her credit for trying to help her country (again) if and when considering early parole.
 
 
-1 # bmiluski 2014-09-18 11:14
Riverpacific... .....I know from "Slagging" and it is done within a community.
Since you do not belong to the Isis community "woo woo" is disrespectful.
As for losening up, that's so going on the defensive when you know you've screwed up.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2014-09-18 11:39
Quoting bmiluski:
Riverpacific........I know from "Slagging" and it is done within a community.
Since you do not belong to the Isis community "woo woo" is disrespectful.
As for losening up, that's so going on the defensive when you know you've screwed up.


Well, if an apology isn't enough TO ANOTHR PARTY on an issue you barged into, I'm not on the defensive so why don't you mind you're own fuckin' business and butt to.
Again, I REPEAT, the best of my "woo-woo" acquaintances use it on themselves betimes and have a sense of humor about themselves, which you are disappointingly seemingly lacking.
Now bugger off or rant on as you chose -I'm done with you.
BTW, it's "REIVER"; brush up on y'r reading skills.
 
 
0 # Alexhawks85 2014-09-28 19:00
There is some merit to what Manning suggests. What is abu snarky clear, is that any prolonged, symmetrical war, will not succeed if our objectives are truly to dismantle ISIS. Air strikes alone can perhaps prevent the further spread of territory and can likely kill key leaders over time. If we dedicate soldiers, ISIS will be able to recruit 2-3x as many jihadists and after we win, they will sprout back up like the Taliban.
My suggestions -
1. Focus millions on beating ISIS in a propaganda war.
2. Form coalitions of Islamic clerics worldwide to condem ISIS, and to provide counter ideology.
3. Destroy their economic means of production, particularly oil resources and indict any banks or online payment servers with terrorist charges if they assist ISIS with receiving donations.
4. Offer non officer, ISIS members an economic, relocation package to lay down their arms and attend anti ISIS madrasas, enjoy subsidized housing and attend school or be provided employment.
5. Infiltrate their ranks with Islamic special forces / intel agents. Allow these men to work deep into the ranks, even at the expense of these agents killing civilians if required to do so by their commanders. These agents would provide intelligence on ISIS operations and could eventually be used to both foment dissent and to assassinate key targets.
6. Like Mehmet and Ceasar, build walls around the city walls. Trap ISIS in their territory, create a DMZ, then economically starve them out / kill them.
 

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