Blogs: The Skeptics

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Washington Rolls Out Another Myopic Anti-ISIS Strategy

The Skeptics

The training of rebel groups has been an unmitigated disaster from the beginning, and evidence continues to surface that some of the so-called “moderate” rebel groups perpetrate the same brutality as does ISIS or Assad’s troops.

Aside from major missteps in the conduct of the tactical fight, the results of two years of trying to destroy ISIS militarily has resulted in the dramatic spread of the group to dozens of countries around the world. There has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of domestic terrorist attacks in the US and other Western countries. Moreover, the ISIS leadership is already preparing its followers for the eventual loss of its territory in Iraq and Syria, instructing them to go underground and continue the fight via decentralized franchise-type cells.

And while the military has focused on ISIS, our arch enemy Al Qaeda has been greatly expanding the number of its followers, possibly rising to a level of power and capabilities that exceeds that of the bin Laden version.

The evidence is overwhelming that Washington’s myopic reliance on using blunt force to destroy the terrorists has instead caused the threat to markedly increase over the past several years, placing U.S. citizens at increasing risk. If significant changes are not made in the administration’s approach to the scourge of violent Islamic radicalism, the nation’s security situation will continue to deteriorate.

It remains yet to be seen just how far Americans—politicians, media and the general population—are willing to sit passively by and watch as the senior politicos and policymakers steadfastly keep the ship of state on a course that cannot succeed. The past two Administrations—and the Congresses that funded them—have fifteen years of crafting and implementing foreign and defense policies that have produced almost nothing but strategic failure. One has to wonder how many more years of failure at this magnitude has to pile up before corrective action is taken.

Daniel L. Davis is a widely published analyst on national security and foreign policy. He retired as a Lt. Col. after twenty-one years in the U.S. Army, including four combat deployments, and is a Foreign Policy Fellow for Defense Priorities and a member of the Center for Defense Information's Military Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.

Image: Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. DOD photo.

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