By Sal Bommarito
Generally, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the ISIS conflict really has me wondering about what is going on in the Middle East. Unlike every other war in modern history, the media has reported very little about the events taking place in Iraq and Syria. And so, the public has been kept in the dark and is becoming more concerned every day.
The reasons for the dearth of information, to an extent, are that the U.S. has very few soldiers on the ground, and the media has very few reporters on the scene. And so, the world has not been informed about the enemy’s strength, new recruits, casualties, battles fought, and frankly, who is winning. In fact, no one unaffiliated with the military knows what winning entails and how long it will take to defeat the enemy.
What puzzles me is that ISIS, I think, is nothing more than a vicious and brutal amalgamation of religious discontents marauding in Iraq and Syria. Its ability to effectively defeat and repel indigenous fighters, be they Iraqi government troops or local militias, is uncanny. ISIS has no heavy weapons, for the most part; its soldiers carry rifles and rocket launchers. How has this group survived against a coalition that includes the most powerful military force in the world?
Based upon recent history, Arab-fighting forces, in particular Iraqi soldiers, have not fared well. Saddam Hussein and his infamous Republican Guard were supposed to be a formidable fighting force. When the U.S. engaged them, they fell in a matter of days. When Iraqis faced ISIS for the first time, they dropped their weapons and deserted. The U.S. was training the Iraqis to defend themselves for a decade, and they were totally ineffective and unprepared.
The Obama administration has not been cooperative about revealing the events in the killing zone. Everything is secret, yet the president telegraphed to the enemy that he would not authorize ground forces against ISIS. I’m still scratching my head about this indiscretion.
I’ve attempted to uncover information about enemy casualties on the Internet, but no solid data is available. No one, including our own generals, seems to know how many ISIS fighters are in the field, how many have been killed and how many have been recruited. This is a marked difference from the Vietnam War during which the military provided a daily body count of U.S. and enemy casualties.
Another mind-blowing fact relates to the relative non-engagement of Arab countries in the hostilities. Arabs are depending upon the U.S. to protect them from ISIS. Why aren’t Arabs more involved? Why aren’t they enthusiastically fighting to secure their ways of life? Is it because their armies are just as incompetent as the Iraqi force? ISIS is on the doorsteps of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Supposedly, these countries have significant military assets. What are they waiting for? An invasion of their countries?
While the ISIS threat has evolved, Iran has pumped up its efforts to build a nuclear arsenal. Does either the U.S. or Iran need to be diverted by this controversy while ISIS is running amok? Why would the president be so anxious to give Iran an opportunity to develop a nuclear weapon? Will an Iranian nuke ease concerns in the Middle East? Hardly.
It’s time that the U.S. military learned more about ISIS and what the prospects are for ending its murderous adventure. What will it take to kill ISIS and end the genocide? The U.S. needs to consider employing greater force. There have been reports that bombing missions during the ISIS war have only been a small fraction of those during the former Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Why is this so? Is the U.S. unable to find ISIS targets? If so, why hasn’t the U.S. at least put bomb controllers on the ground to direct bombing sorties?
Something is fishy about the ISIS conflict. The U.S. government either doesn’t know what it’s doing or is withholding information. Congress should demand more data from the military. Americans need to be better informed if they are going to be asked to support this growing confrontation with ISIS.