Stopping ISIS? | World Defense

Stopping ISIS?

Norjak71

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With Trump being the presumptive Republican nominee (this is no way an endorsement by me, FYI), he seems to the be the only candidate with a so called "plan" which he wont share of course, to stop ISIS. That being said, he seems to be the only one that actually wants to take actions. So I ask, what can we possibly do? Do we really risk boots on the ground and let more innocent soldiers die trying to defeat an enemy that won't stop?

This is the part where I'll probably incur some flack -- why not just airstrike them relentlessly. Yes -- civilians will die, yes, innocent people will lose their lives, I'm not fond of that, I don't want that, but what other choice do we have at this point? We have the most advanced military in the world, a few weeks of intense non-stop air-strikes would all but eradicate these people.

It seems to me that's the only option, besides just staying out of it. Sooner or later, they'll try to attack here -- do we really want to wait until that happens to do something? Is that the final straw that will make us do something serious? I'm sick of the non-action on this, we've never had a problem doing anything before why all of the sudden are we just sitting back?
 

explorerx7

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Stop Isis? Probably Trump doesn't have a plan, he may be only saying it to drum-up support. Nothing is impossible but how do one stop organizations like these? They fight by usually operate in an unconventional manner and operate through many splinter groups worldwide. Some of their most important operatives have been taken out, yet it has not really curtailed their activities. I believe that they could probably be contained but not eliminated because they seem to have the ability to attract new recruits on a frequent basis.
Maybe Trump may be willing to grant some of the wealth to ISIS to stop them.
 

RedViper

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Thinking about destroying ISIS needs to be broader than only thinking about the 'brand' or 'letterhead' of ISIS itself. ISIS itself party arose from another organization we completely destroyed and disbanded – the Iraqi Army. If we wanted to, the US could destroy ISIS about as well as we destroyed various Al Qaeda affiliates around the world. Sure, the organization is disrupted, but many of the same fighters and leaders get funding and weapons from many of the same benefactors and just start up a new organization when the situation on the ground suits them.

The way I see it, to truly defeat ISIS you have to start trying to accomplish two very difficult and amorphous objectives:

One, resolve the underlying causes of young men turning to ISIS or similar organizations in both the Middle East and around the world, particularly in Europe. These include the obvious like poverty, unemployment, and a lack of social-belonging or social-cause identifier young people often look for early in adulthood. I also note that poverty and unemployment are not necessarily the same thing, especially in the Middle East. These problems will never be 'solved' until we hit Star Trek post-scarcity levels of utopia, but to the extent that they can be mitigated by economic growth and opportunities to influence their local or national political and cultural climates, they must be.

Two, we must destroy or contain the institutional and operational knowledge that gets passed down or 'inherited' from one terrorist or terrorist organization to the next. This includes supply-chain and financial knowledge. The US and its allies must come down hard and fast on anyone that is aiding and abetting ISIS. This is politically difficult if not impossible at the current moment. There will always be some terrorists. If the world produces less terrorists due to improving the lot in life for many potential terrorists and we can cut them off from the practical knowledge and equipment used in acts of terror, we have accomplished our objective as best we could.

A massive bombing campaign would likely succeed in destroying what we call ISIS in a few months. It would be expensive. Yes, there would be collateral damage. The extent doesn’t matter – the Arab street will be told the crusaders are killing women and children again. There will be infrastructural damage which will further negatively impact the regional economy. In the end, some organization would rise from the ashes, stoked by the rage of thousands or millions of disenfranchised and/or impoverished young people. If we don't go after financiers and middle-men, they'll be about as well funded and equipped. We'll be back here in five years wondering what the best strategy is to defeat nu-ISIS.

The middle of the road policy is to contain ISIS. We can't allow ISIS or ISIS-inspired terrorist to continue to harass Europe and the US. More importantly, the voters in those countries won't allow it. We have already seen this start to happen in the West and more and more radical policies are proposed to defend the homeland. ISIS is institutionally unstable. It offers no solutions to the problems of the people in the Middle East. Like Ebola, it is terrible to behold, but it will eventually burn itself out because it is so virulent. Sitting back and allowing ISIS to do the same while stepping up efforts to identify and eliminate ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks on the West represents the cheapest and most politically tenable solution.

This option is perhaps even more heartless and realpolitik than a bombing campaign, but aside from a few operations or sorties here and there, it looks like the path the West is set to go down.
 

tgthewriter1

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ISIS can be stopped if we find the source. I don’t think the US should get involved. People are so terrified of ISIS because of what they showed on Youtube. The organization should be stopped because people deserve freedom of choice. I do think the organization is simular to Suddam. I personally do not know why the government should be involved in this war in the middle east. What is going to happen if we just allow them to decide what to do in the middle east? Many people will die but it’s not a US problem.
 

Corzhens

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If I would be in charge of that ISIS problem in Syria, I would gather the best army and air force that is under myh command. The attack on the ground would be on 2 sides - east and west or north and south - and it will be relentless and unforgiving. What could ISIS do if they are besieged on the ground and war planes are above, dropping small bombs to scare them first before dropping the big bombs. I'm sorry if I am dreaming but I don't think one needs to be a military academy graduate to know that.
 

Lieutenant

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Thinking about destroying ISIS needs to be broader than only thinking about the 'brand' or 'letterhead' of ISIS itself. ISIS itself party arose from another organization we completely destroyed and disbanded – the Iraqi Army. If we wanted to, the US could destroy ISIS about as well as we destroyed various Al Qaeda affiliates around the world. Sure, the organization is disrupted, but many of the same fighters and leaders get funding and weapons from many of the same benefactors and just start up a new organization when the situation on the ground suits them.

The way I see it, to truly defeat ISIS you have to start trying to accomplish two very difficult and amorphous objectives:

One, resolve the underlying causes of young men turning to ISIS or similar organizations in both the Middle East and around the world, particularly in Europe. These include the obvious like poverty, unemployment, and a lack of social-belonging or social-cause identifier young people often look for early in adulthood. I also note that poverty and unemployment are not necessarily the same thing, especially in the Middle East. These problems will never be 'solved' until we hit Star Trek post-scarcity levels of utopia, but to the extent that they can be mitigated by economic growth and opportunities to influence their local or national political and cultural climates, they must be.

Two, we must destroy or contain the institutional and operational knowledge that gets passed down or 'inherited' from one terrorist or terrorist organization to the next. This includes supply-chain and financial knowledge. The US and its allies must come down hard and fast on anyone that is aiding and abetting ISIS. This is politically difficult if not impossible at the current moment. There will always be some terrorists. If the world produces less terrorists due to improving the lot in life for many potential terrorists and we can cut them off from the practical knowledge and equipment used in acts of terror, we have accomplished our objective as best we could.

A massive bombing campaign would likely succeed in destroying what we call ISIS in a few months. It would be expensive. Yes, there would be collateral damage. The extent doesn’t matter – the Arab street will be told the crusaders are killing women and children again. There will be infrastructural damage which will further negatively impact the regional economy. In the end, some organization would rise from the ashes, stoked by the rage of thousands or millions of disenfranchised and/or impoverished young people. If we don't go after financiers and middle-men, they'll be about as well funded and equipped. We'll be back here in five years wondering what the best strategy is to defeat nu-ISIS.

The middle of the road policy is to contain ISIS. We can't allow ISIS or ISIS-inspired terrorist to continue to harass Europe and the US. More importantly, the voters in those countries won't allow it. We have already seen this start to happen in the West and more and more radical policies are proposed to defend the homeland. ISIS is institutionally unstable. It offers no solutions to the problems of the people in the Middle East. Like Ebola, it is terrible to behold, but it will eventually burn itself out because it is so virulent. Sitting back and allowing ISIS to do the same while stepping up efforts to identify and eliminate ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks on the West represents the cheapest and most politically tenable solution.

This option is perhaps even more heartless and realpolitik than a bombing campaign, but aside from a few operations or sorties here and there, it looks like the path the West is set to go down.
The US led collation has been bombing ISIS since its emergence but with no value. ISIS on the other hand is growing rapidly and spreading like venom all over Iraq and Syria. Boots on the ground is the way to go.
 

RedViper

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The US led collation has been bombing ISIS since its emergence but with no value. ISIS on the other hand is growing rapidly and spreading like venom all over Iraq and Syria. Boots on the ground is the way to go.

I would disagree that the US and it's allies' bombing campaign against ISIS has not seen any success. Keep in mind that anti-ISIS operations are fairly low intensity. The OP was arguing for an increase in operational tempo and broadening the target list to include those that would likely result in civilian casualties. I can see why it seems that we haven’t made any progress, but I would maintain that this grinding stalemate is a victory when you consider the resourced the US has dedicated and if you think back to the situation in the first six months of 2014.

Between January and July of that year, ISIS exploded out of the perpetually contested Anbar province hinterland. They routed two Iraqi Army divisions, captured all their equipment and liquid capital, and occupied with an intent to govern Iraq's third largest city. They did all this while maintaining their presence in Syria, demonstrating a higher level of strategic thought. ISIS galvanized radicals from Nigeria to the Philippines. There was a real possibility that ISIS was about to make a move to put pressure on Baghdad itself.

Of course, it took time to marshal the political and military machinery to respond. Since then, ISIS has been challenged on every front, made no significant gains that are were not reversed or likely about to be reversed, and much of its money-making infrastructure has been neutralized. I'll repeat what I said above: as long as we keep ISIS contained, it will burn itself out. The way ISIS governs its territory is not tenable. Eventually, they will be faced with popular resistance or will simply run out of resources. We've already seen ISIS's predecessors repeat this pattern at least twice in Anbar.

As far as boots on the ground, I do not dispute that the United States could destroy ISIS as an organization. In fact, I don't think there is a military formation or terrorist group on the face of the Earth that we couldn't destroy if we wanted to. The problems I see are three-fold: cost-benefit disparity, insertion and build-up, and the exit strategy.

Fist, we have to consider the cost of a boots on the ground approach. Lets not even get into the numbers part, because I want to make a very controversial statement – ISIS isn't that big a threat to the United States. ISIS, until very recently, has only provided moral support to independent actors who carry out attacks in their name outside the Middle East. ISIS is no doubt very dangerous and a real threat to Syria, Iraq, and its other neighbors. Wouldn't the money and resources consumed in invading ISIS controlled lands actually better protect Americans by being redeployed to the homeland? I argue they would.

Two, how do we get to ISIS? Not through Syria. Maybe through Iraq, but remember we left during a disagreement over status of forces. If Kurdistan had a coast, that would be ideal, but shipping in everything by air would be insane. Jordan or Saudi Arabia would also serve, but Aqaba would be backed up for weeks. This isn't insurmountable, but deals would have to be made.

Three, after we defeat ISIS, what do we do? If we leave without solving the underlying issues that gave rise to ISIS and its predecessors, we'll just be back here in five years. If we try to solve those problems with some kind of new Marshall Plan, but the domestic mood in America is that we should be giving out less foreign aid, not more. The alternative to that is permanent occupation to ensure compliance. No thanks.

I agree that if the sole overriding objective is the soonest possible erasure of ISIS as player in the Middle East, then boots on the ground is the right answer. I just think that its not worth it form the American point of view.
 

djordjem87

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Forgive me for sounding soutparkish but it is not like ISIS had some headquarters so you can go and destroy them or is it an entity of any kind . You cannot have a plan to stop it. I believe you can defend and that is the best you can do. Where to hit if you want to stop ISIS. It is a kind of half random paramilitary organization without permanent residence. It is all BS from Trump. He just wants to boost his votes by saying these things.
 

remnant

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That America has the most advanced military in the world is not a guarantee that its going to stop ISIS. The Americans tried carpet bombardment in Vietnam but it failed to stop the Viet Cong. Similar tactics were attempted in Afghanistan and we now witness a resurgent Taliban, stronger than ever. Aerial bombardment has never won any war, boots have to be placed on the ground. Meanwhile, the butcher who plunged Syria into a bloody abyss walks tall.
 

Falcon29

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They will no longer function as organized militia by 2018, but will remain an underground group, mostly in Iraq.
 

TheOptical

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I've heard somewhere that America earns millions of dollars, which is why we aren't going full-on against ISIS. There is also the added risk that anyone could be part of ISIS. They don't wear any uniform, which is what makes it harder.

My vote? Let the armies loose. Let them have control over the operation, and attack ISIS at the heart. Chop off the heads, let the body drop. We have most of Europe and Asia on our side. If we combine forces and let them loose, in a few months ISIS will be no more.
 

eveliner

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Why stop a war that is generating uncountable money to the US? It's what this whole country stands for... stopping this war would eradicate its very purpose. I'm pretty sure that both sides mutually agree each other and show the media what they want to, and not what we need to.
 

joshposh

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This is a topic that my friends and I talk about a lot about. How do you stop ISIS? The honest truth is, you can never kill the ideology of ISIS. As long as that exist, someone in this world will believe in it. It's a raging case of herpes that won't go away. You can only stop flare ups.

As far as massive lands and cities that have been taken over by ISIS. I would treat it like a insect exterminator would. You draw a line in the sand. You tell everyone on one side that if you are not ISIS then come over to the other side. Once you have made it known that ISIS is on one end, you tear gas that very line and towards the dessert or open area. Several days of gasing might be needed as some guys are holed up and persistent. 5 days minimum. Then you have your coalition army move in a take control of the city. Sounds weird, but if you have every tried fumigating a house with roaches, once the roaches get a wiff of the gas, they take off. Same strategy applies here.
 

John Snort

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Ground forces would boost recruitment for terrorist organizations not just ISIS. It would prove to be counterproductive because even though ISIS could be defeated, there'll be another group springing up to take their place. What Western armies might be unable to do, Muslims can do. That's why I believe Trump's strategies will just be as ineffective as Obama's.
 

dogs of war

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That America has the most advanced military in the world is not a guarantee that its going to stop ISIS. The Americans tried carpet bombardment in Vietnam but it failed to stop the Viet Cong. Similar tactics were attempted in Afghanistan and we now witness a resurgent Taliban, stronger than ever. Aerial bombardment has never won any war, boots have to be placed on the ground. Meanwhile, the butcher who plunged Syria into a bloody abyss walks tall.
The difference between those two events and what faces us currently is that the Vietnam campaign was incredibly unpopular in both halves of the political division, especially given that we had installed a known philanderer and were now, supposedly on the behalf of these people, killing their brothers and sisters.

A strategy like what we did would've worked had there been significant social and pre-political divisions between North and South Vietnam, but there just weren't. They just couldn't care and, furthermore, they weren't fighting us out of hatred. America understood the war was entirely motivated by the (at that time, stuffy and outdated) containment policy re: communist states.

This, in contrast to ISIS, was a difficult enemy to frame. ISIS spreads videos of themselves killing women and children with glee and fevor. The idea of fighting for a religious caliphate is so antithetical to us and threatening to our basic principals, that most Americans (on those grounds alone) would be able to view them as a serious, significant threat, and would be able to sign off on war at all costs.

I believe Afghanistan was a successful war and there were boots on the ground, by the way. Our military objectives were loose, yes, but we did completely destabilize the Taliban and eliminate Osama with the help of fledgling state organs (from which we removed mujahadeen influence entirely).

The lessons of these wars are that neither boots on the ground nor aerial bombardment are effective, especially given that our goals are to prevent further influence of our enemy and we can only do that by crowding out their influence in the state. What is needed, more than anything, is an attempt to ingratiate ourselves with preëxisting members of the government who'd love to take up the mantle of power after we remove the current leaders. Intelligence just isn't too helpful in determining who we need to king-make and who we ought to throw our support behind. And this is going to be much harder to do with ISIS running roughshod in the region, given that they have a habit of executing old state actors when they assume power. So it goes.
 

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