Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to send 10,000 battle-weary U.S. troops to Syria and Iraq to fight ISIS. Did we not learn any fundamental lessons from our self-inflicted $2 trillion failed misadventure that destabilized the entire Mideast region and beyond beginning in Iraq in 2003?
ISIS is a metastasizing, grotesque, Jihadi monster with media-savvy tools for recruiting and incitement. Its Caliphate mission is across a broad swath of failed States in the Middle East and North Africa — Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sinai in Egypt, and now Lebanon. ISIS is opportunistically occupying fecund territorial voids left by prior authoritarian deposed governments.
Our narrow air campaign is not causing their retreat or permanent containment. It is spawning the recruitment of thousands of disgruntled young men from countries and metropolitan areas in the West.
Like a nest of fire ants, targeted mound destruction is rapidly replaced by yet another colony nearby.
So what to do? Only local regional powers can do this on the ground if they have the resources, skills and will to do this. But they don’t.
Sunni/Shia sectarianism is imploding. Our training of Iraqi troops has been mostly ineffective, and their sectarian civil war continues. Syria is even more complex. Russia and Iran are supplying weapons to Syria’s Assad.
The Turks want the neighboring Kurds defeated and Assad gone — they are allowing ISIS recruits to enter Syria only to circle back to hurt our Kurd partners. Those “good guy” Syrian resistance groups that we are arming have dwindled to ineffective numbers.
Three decades of failed military engagement, no nations built, and significantly increased instability says another military escapade will only further weaken us internally and internationally. We need a superior visionary strategy versus the tired same old, same old.
David J. Waldron