posted on Oct, 6 2014 @ 09:27 PM
I completely understand the conspiracy aspects of statements like the one Panetta made, but there is some practical truth there as well. IF the US is
determined to continue with their airstrikes until ISIS is defeated, or if they put boots on the ground with the intention of defeating ISIS, that
defeat will take many years. I have stated multiple times in the past my belief that one will get nowhere fighting a battle of attrition against an
asymmetrical, or guerilla, force. The US cannot rely on its technological advantages, or the strength of its forces alone, to defeat such an enemy.
This is a lesson that the US should have been learning at the very least since Vietnam, or more recently the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There
is also the experiences of foreign militaries in this type of warfare where experience could be drawn, the most notable and recent being the Soviet
defeat in Afghanistan.
It is much easier for such a guerilla force to win an asymmetrical conflict because they only have to wait out the conventional force, and they
usually focus on inflicting as many casualties as possible, but while not exposing themselves to being eliminated or suffering too many casualties.
They need not win a single battle to win the war. They will understand that the longer they can draw out the conflict, the better they will fare,
because the costs for the US when it comes to simply maintaining their forces will continue to mount, whether we meet with any success or not, and
eventually the conflict will become untenable. The spending and lives lost will not be justified because of the lack of military gains.
For instance, take Vietnam. The US waged a war of attrition, and that was essentially the whole strategy: eliminate the enemy. It is much easier to
accomplish clear objectives such as taking and holding terrain, but this type of conventional war is difficult to wage when your enemy is an
insurgency. So in Vietnam the US would "search and destroy," but they never found the enemy. The enemy knew where they were the majority of time,
and those horrible tactics stemmed from a failure in strategy. Even though we killed numerous soldiers for every one we lost, it was irrelevant, even
though by the method of success set up by the US, we were winning due to this fact. So even if we can kill more of ISIS than they kill of us, it does
not matter, as long as they can keep new recruits coming in, which shouldn't be a problem.
It will likely be easier to get troops to come in, those who wish to stand up to the west, and who will see this as a direct attack on their religion
of Islam. The only way that a war of this nature can be won is to first establish good and long-term protection for the civilian populations. This is
because intelligence becomes the most important factor, and civilians are the best source of intelligence against insurgencies, since insurgents
attempt to blend in with the civilian population. The civilians will out these imposters, but only if they know they are fully protected, and that
they will be protected for years to come. Therefore having this rapport with the civilian population will ensure that ISIS fighters cannot find a safe
haven amongst the regular population, and this will force them away from populated areas, thus actually making them tenable targets for conventional
That is basically it. It is simple really, but it requires a long-term commitment by the occupying army. It is not as simple as that of course, but
that is the basic understanding in the theory of warfare. The main objective of the US in such a strategy is not to kill ISIS fighters, but to take
away their support base, their intelligence sources, their mobility, and everything else that being able to blend with the civilian population
affords. But this also requires a very large troop presence, and still puts troops in danger, especially early on. Suffice it to say that the US must
make up their minds now as to what they wish to do. If the US is going in for reasons other than defeating ISIS, meaning some of the conspiracy
theories are true, then they could purposely choose to fight the war in a way that would not allow them to win. Not totally infeasible. I would like
to expand on these ideas from a military perspective, as that is one of my main interests, but I do not have the space, and I doubt that the majority
of you guys would wish to read all that anyway. If anyone wants to converse from that angle, PM me, as I am always up for talk of military theory,
strategy, tactics, etc., although my main passion is 19th century warfare.