ISIS and other matters

Chaos Manor View, Thursday, May 21, 2015

Obama Says ‘I Don’t Think We’re Losing’ to ISIS; Militants Ready for Iraqi Counterattack

President Barack Obama said in an interview published Thursday that “I don’t think we’re losing” to ISIS, despite its capture of an Iraqi city last week and renewed questions about the state of the Iraqi military.

His interview with The Atlantic was published hours after ISIS claimed to have captured the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, a victory that one monitoring group said gave ISIS control of half the country.

And U.S. officials told NBC News that In Ramadi, Iraq, the city captured by the militants last weekend, ISIS fighters are digging trenches, building berms and steeling themselves for an Iraqi military push to retake the city.

ISIS is ‘everywhere’ in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra

The Fall of Palmyra Is a Strategic, Historical, and Human Loss


It is estimated that the Caliphate controls about a third of Iraq.


I hear what you are saying about ISIS. Sure, a US armored division could take them out. So what?
In WWII the US army and government could both win wars and govern in the aftermath. Today, we can destroy, but our elites are so corrupt that we can no longer govern.
You have complained about our incompetent proconsul, Paul Bremer, in the aftermath of the Iraq war. But we don’t have anyone better at hand!
To paraphrase someone famous, you don’t go into a war with the leadership that you wish you had, but with the leadership that you do have. The days of Eisenhower and FDR and even Nixon are long gone. Our current elites can only create chaos. Sure our army still has the ability to trash ISIS (until outsourcing finally breaks the logistical tail), but so what. We trash ISIS, and then what? We destroy Turkey, and Iran and Saudi Arabia?
Let’s admit it – our country no longer has the ability to both win wars and govern in the aftermath. If a bunch of looney tunes in the deep desert are killing themselves how about we just STAY THE HECK OUT OF THEIR WAY AND LET THEM KILL EACH OTHER. I think Napoleon had something to say on that topic.
As Admiral Palpatine once said, we only have to keep them from escaping.

I understand what you are saying, but fortunately the corruption of leadership does not go as deep as you fear. It remains something to worry about, but it is not the immediate problem.

The immediate objective is not to establish a democratic republic in Iraq, or even to rule Iraq; it is to eradicate the Caliphate. ISIS is a self-proclaimed mortal enemy of the West in general and the United States in particular. If they survive we will have to fight them. They will not choose to fight until they believe they are strong enough to work the Will of Allah.

Since we must fight them to the death, it were well that we do it before they are stronger.

As for Iraq, our war with the Caliphate on their territory will be a disaster, probably as bad or worse (at least for Shia) than rule by the Caliphate; but we have no choice. They are a mortal enemy and they are growing more powerful. The time to put paid to these pretenders is now.

The territory in which we will fight is no longer Iraq, and Baghdad’s writ does not run there. Baghdad cannot claim a right to rule there: they allowed it be taken by mortal enemies of the US. One reason they lost was that the Shia militia came down very hard on the Sunni inhabitants.

One alternative to maintaining the integrity of Iraq was to dismember it into at least three states: Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia. This is now de facto happening and has happened. If US troops liberate territory from the Caliphate, we can give it to whomever we wish. I suggest we give it to the inhabitants, not Baghdad.

As to the Caliphate, it has one obvious vulnerability: it asserts the right to rule, and ruling by strict Islamic Law demonstrates that right: but it must have something to rule. If it has no territory it is merely another militia movement, and its rapid growth in power ceases. War would no longer feed war. At the moment one US division with massive air support could bring this about. By next year it will take far more than that. And by 2016 it will take the full might of the US – which leaves us little to counter other enemies.

Strike now, and decisively; later it will cost more and may not be accomplish the mission.

The Caliphate must be destroyed.


The number of Americans out of work is 93 million; some large number, between 25 and 50% are no longer looking for work; for one reason or another they have given up. They are not starving. Nearly all have phones and TV. But they are not working.


Dr Pournelle,
I had my 1st exposure to the concept of light sails back in the mid-70s when I read The Mote in God’s Eye. As an impatient high school student, with even the Shuttle years away, I always wished the Future would get here SOONER.
…and now (40 yrs later) I find out that I can actually help support a working lightsail. Yesterday, Bill Nye launched a Kickstarter to help fund a lightsail mission in 2016. Details here:
Apparently a prototype just went up on the Atlas V that also put the X-37 into orbit.
with best regards,
Ron Artigues


Thank you!


Dr. Schramm’s essay was marvelous.  It helps me not drop into despair during Heinlein’s “Crazy Years.”

Thank you for posting the link to the essay.  It was a needed pick me up!

Regards, Charles Adams


> either the factories move to low-wage places like Viet Nam


I have a Pentax DSLR. It’s “only” 6MP, but I am inured to Megapixel Madness, having in my possession 16×20 (chromogenic) prints made from 3MP images I made with my wife’s ancient Olympus P&S. Being far better than “acceptably” sharp (by which I mean sharper than most of the 35mm work I’ve seen), I don’t consider 6MP much of a handicap.

The reason I point this out is to create a timeframe for its manufacture

— it’s far from recent.

The lens I use the most is the Pentax “kit” zoom lens. It’s beautifully made; optically excellent; and according to the small label at the bottom of the lens barrel, it comes from Vietnam.

That just blew me away when I saw it…

If that’s what they could do several years ago, I wonder what they’re building -now-???

(And I wonder too, how long they’ll remain “low wage”?)

In my darker, more cynical moments, I wonder if the day will come, perhaps after China “calls in” the dollar (by whatever mechanism they find expedient), when WE will be the “low wage” venue of choice for Chinese megacorporations.

History might suggest that stranger (and sadder) things have happened.

And Santayana, although ignored in this land, has never been debunked.


It is always unwise to underestimate future competitors. Note that the original quote there is not mine; I merely printed it.









Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.