I have two new strategies for fighting ISIS. As you know, all strategies for fighting ISIS are impractical, expensive, and terrible. I’m just adding two more bad ideas to the mix.
The only strategies on the table at the moment are these:
1. Seal the borders of the Caliphate and kill every living creature within.
2. Surrender and convert to Islam.
3. Kill some but not all ISIS fighters and guarantee permanent war plus an eventual strike on the homeland. (Current plan.)
4. Wait until ISIS consolidates power and builds better targets to hit, such as permanent army bases and government buildings. This too guarantees permanent war and a strike on the homeland, but maybe with better weapons by then.
5. Build a “filter fence” and try to relocate all of the innocents before killing everyone who remains.
Not great choices.
Here’s another strategy: Declare the Caliphate a weapons testing zone and make it legal for any weapons manufacturer to kill people – innocent or otherwise – within the Caliphate for the purpose of testing and demonstrating their weapons. Let’s say the U.S. military in this scenario is mostly involved in defending a few staging areas and handling logistics and enemy spotting. But it would be up to the defense contractors themselves to decide which weapon systems to test on the targets.
This idea is immoral madness, right?
Remember that you are comparing it to ideas we know won’t work. This idea has huge warts, but it has some advantages too. For example, the defense contractors control Congress, so we know the plan could be approved in this country.
ISIS’ biggest advantage is that they are willing to wage permanent war and wear down any outside invaders. But that probably only applies to invaders that have citizens back home to worry about. The defense industry can test its weapons in the Caliphate indefinitely. They would have a profit motive and no moral or legal obstacles.
Let’s assume that the U.S. military has to approve all actions by the defense contractors, and collectively they try to limit collateral damage to innocents. It wouldn’t be that much different from the current strategy in terms of who dies within the Caliphate. We might find that he defense contractors are more cautious than the regular military because they are trying to demonstrate the pinpoint precisions of their weapons. Dead civilians are bad for business.
Budget-wise, this could be the most economical plan for permanent war. The defense contractors might even pay for the privilege of using the testing grounds. The goal would be to run the war at breakeven from the taxpayers’ perspective.
The media should like this idea because it makes the news far more interesting. War always makes headlines, but if you layer on the futuristic weapons testing angle it becomes irresistible. Keep in mind that most of the so-called news would be in the form of press releases from the defense contractors. You would see stories such as “New laser weapon decapitates ISIS leader at his daughter’s wedding. No innocents were hurt.”
The biggest advantage of this strategy is the psychology. For starters, it says we plan to keep killing ISIS members until the end of time. That removes their biggest psychological advantage by letting them know they can’t wait us out. Second, it recasts the situation from some sort of religious war to a simple business opportunity. That’s what we capitalists do. And I have to think it takes some of the fun out of being a jihadist.
In the current model, ISIS fighters probably feel they are Allah’s noble warriors fighting for the greater Caliphate. Our goal, over time, is to convince them they are nothing but the practice range for our defense contractors. That wouldn’t happen right away. But eventually we want to create the idea that nations can either be part of the world community or, well, target practice for defense contractors. I think human nature will cause people to seek the higher status.
My second idea for dealing with ISIS is even worse: The U.N. could declare any territory captured by ISIS to be the legal territory of Israel. Then just sit back and wait while Israel builds settlements and methodically kills all the bad guys. It might take a few generations.
My thinking is that it would be impossible for the Islamic countries to hate Israel more than they already do, so you lose nothing in terms of public relations. And if any country thought they could get away with attacking Israel, they would have done it by now. But they don’t, because every time Israel gets attacked it seems to get larger.
The Muslim countries hate Israel, but Israel is not a direct threat to their rule. ISIS is. Under this strategy, everyone but ISIS comes out ahead. Iraq and Syria were going to lose their territory either way.
Neither of my new ideas is practical, as usual. I only think they are interesting because they highlight how bad the current options are.