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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ashton Carter's Stupid Comments About the "Will to Fight"

So the reason ISIS/ISIL has taken Ramadi, according to Ash Carter, our Secretary of Defense, is that the Iraqi Army lacks "the will to fight."  Here's what he said, according to CNN:

"We can give them training, we can give them equipment -- we obviously can't give them the will to fight," Carter said. "But if we give them training, we give them equipment, and give them support, and give them some time, I hope they will develop the will to fight, because only if they fight can ISIL remain defeated."
Carter said it was "very concerning" the local forces showed little willingness to fight, as they are the ones who will be charged with fighting, winning and holding the territory against ISIS.
He's obviously not been reading this blog.  The whole problem is that what we have been doing all this time is giving training, equipment, and support to a bunch of Muslims for the purpose of getting them to kill another bunch of Muslims, all on behalf of the great U.S. of A., which is responsible for making such a mess of the Middle East to begin with.  Just like we gave the mujahideen training, equipment, and support to fight our proxy war against the Russians.  They actually had the will to fight, but look where that got us.

Thought experiment:  let's suppose that the United States was conquered by some foreign country, which killed a lot of civilians, installed a puppet government (or at least tried to), and then left.  Then let's say a large number of Americans -- at least one in every family -- caught some kind of religious fervor and tried to establish their own Christian state here in the United States.  And in doing created a lot of chaos and violence.  The puppet government responds by sending its puppet army out against the zealots.  But the puppet state soldiers have a common religion, a common nationality, and to some extent a common ethnicity and family ties with the zealots they are supposed to be fighting.  The people who come to train and who foot the bills for the fighting (but don't risk their lives) are the recent conquerors.  

Will the soldiers ever develop the "will to fight"?

Why should they?

They will always be resentful at essentially being told by an alien power to go out there and kill people who could be their own brothers.

Did any of the Iraqi soldiers join the Iraqi army as part of a path toward self-actualization?  I kind of doubt it.

So the whole half-hearted and half-assed hope that the Iraqi soldiers might just develop the "will to fight" if we arm them enough and train them enough is just stupid.  They won't.  They are basically mercenaries, trying to eke out a living while not getting killed, at the expense of the West.

The focus should instead be on recruiting people who DO have the will to fight.  The exact same disaffected youth that are so easily recruited to the ISIS side would be even more easily recruited to the anti-ISIS side.  All we need to do is adopt ISIS's recruiting tactics by appealing to and satisfying the basic human needs of the recruits, and offer the opportunity for self-actualization.

It should not be hard to sell Muslim youth on the idea of wiping out a cancer on the Muslim religion.
I've explained at great length here exactly how to go about it, and who should pay (in my view, the ones who should pay are the very rich Sunni Muslims whose religion is being corrupted).  I've explained that it will only cost about $2 billion.  This will not only defeat ISIS's recruiting efforts, but it will also lead to the creation of a fighting force with the "will to fight" against ISIS.  Hard as it is to believe, we need to given them something OTHER than the stars and stripes to fight and die for.

We need a real "counter-ISIS" now.

PriceFixer: Fighting ISIS with Maslow's Hierarchy

Update May 26, 2015:  CNN now has a good report from an Iraqi soldier who was there, and who definitely had the "will to fight."  Here's how that story ends:

He bristles at the notion that Iraqi soldiers like him don't have the will to fight. He faults the military leadership and logistical failures that left them without adequate resupply and support.
He believes that the order to withdraw was a betrayal. The Iraqi government has said it launched an investigation to find out what went wrong and how the order was issued, but so far, no one has given a viable explanation.
"I want to quit the army, I would, if I thought I wouldn't get into trouble," Al-Yassiri says. "I want to join the militias and go back to the fight."
I'm not sure exactly what this say about my major thesis -- that the Iraqi soldiers are mostly mercenaries who will never have the will to fight.  I guess I should issue a retraction.  But it also further highlights the prematurity and stupidity of Ashton Carter's remark.  Making a remark like that before all the evidence is in risks alienating the Iraqi soldiers who do indeed have the "will to fight."

And the soldier's last remark about joining  a militia (plus an earlier remark about how the Iraqi soldiers who gave their lives at Ramadi are "martyrs") is what I am talking about -- we need to help create a militia whose only unifying purpose is to wipe ISIS out, for the sake of Islam.

May 27, 2015

On more thought on this:  I'm now a bit disturbed by the soldier's reference to "martyrs," and joining a militia.  The soldier was almost certainly a Shia, and yes, it should be possible to harness Shiite homicidal instincts against the Sunnis of ISIS -- that's what the Shiite militias are doing.  But that's just a perpetuation of the sectarian problem.  As I've said before ISIS/ISIL is a Sunni problem, and the Sunnis should fix it themselves, by creating a Sunni counter-ISIS.

And I'll end by quoting Ivy Ziedrich, the 19-year-old University of Nevada student who recently explained the problem quite eloquently to Jeb Bush:
“You stated that Isis was created because we don’t have enough presence and we’ve been pulling out of the Middle East . . . .  The threat of Isis was created by the Iraqi coalition authority, which ousted the entire government of Iraq.
“It was when 30,000 individuals who are part of the Iraqi military – they were forced out. They had no employment, they had no income, yet they were left with access to all the same arms and weapons. Your brother created Isis!”
Throwing more and more Shia against ISIS will only exacerbate the sectarian nature of the dispute, and will help ISIS's recruiting efforts all the more.

I also find it rather interesting and troubling that the CNN article didn't mention that the guy was a Shia.  If that's the only place we can go to find people with the "will to fight" against ISIS, we have a really big and really permanent problem on our hands.

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