How To Fight ISIS

In this post James Atticus Bowden has a specific strategy in mind. He calls it a “Punitive Expedition.” These days we don’t often speak of punishing an enemy, but we have done so quite successfully. Remember when President Ronald Reagan ordered bombs away over Libya (then run by the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi). Gaddafi survived, but after that he behaved himself. That was a “Punitive Expedition.”

To take out ISIS in Iraq, Bowden has something a little more ambitious in mind than what we did in Libya. Nevertheless, he proposes a military operation with limited objectives, not a nation building exercise.

How did we fail in Iraq and Afghanistan? Instead of just taking out Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, we assumed an obligation to build both nations into democratic states. At the time, we did not realize that fulfilling these obligations would take decades. When we did, we cut and run. Then we looked back, and realized that we had no choice except to fight.

So now what do we do? How do we fight? Why don’t we try punishing our enemies and supporting our friends as needed? Instead of taking over countries and trying build them up into modern democracies, why don’t we settle for conducting a “Punitive Expedition” every now and then?

Deo Vindice

US Army's Punitive Expedition in Mexico - The Pershing Expedition US Army’s Punitive Expedition in Mexico – The Pershing Expedition

The US and NATO could fight ISIS and win.  ISIS is the Muslim group setting up an Islamic Caliphate across their conquered territory in Iraq and Syria.  They are committing horrific crimes against humanity – specifically inflecting atrocities against Christians.   Including beheading children.  The Islamist barbarians behead Christian children.  America and the West should hunt down and kill all of these barbarians.

But, President Barry Soetero, the ruling Democrats and chattering class are terrified about putting the Army – boots on the ground – back in Iraq.  They worry about having a third Iraq War.  Except, the US doesn’t have to have another war, just a very effective campaign.  Conduct a “Punitive Expedition.”

The US could drop in the 82nd Airborne, motor up the Mechanized brigade sitting in Kuwait, and flow in the 6 brigades or so needed to defeat…

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8 thoughts on “How To Fight ISIS

  1. JAB is a font of worthwhile information and insight. The Pancho Villa expedition is a useful historical analog. Nonetheless, that exercise was one of mixed value, and operating against ISIS would be many times over more difficult and more complex.

    Having said that, it is hard to see how inaction can be justified against a group that poses an existential threat to the safety of the Homeland. The 2003 Iraq incursion was a dreadful mistake that could not have happened at a worse time. But it is what it is and we have to deal with the consequences, no matter how unpleasant (i.e.,Colin Powell’s reference to the “Pottery Barn Rule”). Mr. Bowden’s idea (or some variant thereof) is one that should be on the table and acted on quickly.


    1. If allowed to grow in power ISIS could become a threat. The fact they have already acquire significant resources testifies to that. Unfortunate, we have elected a very incompetent bunch to run our nation.

      I disagree that our invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but I am not especially interested in debating the matter. Dead horse.

      In hindsight, it is obvious our leadership forgot that while the spirit may be willing the flesh is weak. Nation building is generally too difficult to be a viable objective.


  2. I can barely remember the last time I thought we didn’t have “a very incompetent bunch to run our nation.” Bush 41 maybe. Reagan first term before that. Eisenhower before that. I’m afraid competence is a rare commodity in government.


  3. But we live in a condition of sin, Tom. I think a more realistic expectation might be that, given that we cannot escape sin, we should at least strive to do our work well. For elected officials, that means applying discipline, knowledge, and good judgment in the best interests of the citizens.


    1. You are right to say we live in a condition of sin. You are also correct to suggest we strive against sin; however, we do well to remember what Paul wrote in Romans 7:7-25. We cannot on our own succeed in doing good. We cannot on our own succeed in choosing leaders who will apply discipline, knowledge, and good judgment in the best interests of the citizens.


  4. A very depressing thought. I think I will wait a long time before I see your approach (that we stop sinning) realized in our quest for competence.


    1. Depressing? I suppose that depends how far we choose to look over the horizon. In earthly terms, I suppose it is depressing. We cannot make a perfect world. With respect to eternity, we do have hope. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we have cause to serve others in Christian love. We just have to remember what Jesus told his apostles.

      John 16:33 New International Version (NIV)

      33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


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