Should U.S. soldiers be deployed to fight ISIS?
via AP

Should U.S. soldiers be deployed to fight ISIS?

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#BeatBackISIS
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500 military troops from the United States will be on the front lines in the battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS. Some lawmakers, like Lindsay Graham, have been calling for more boots on the ground to finally defeat ISIS. Others say sending U.S. troops would make the situation worse and it's not worth the risk to American lives. What should be done?

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Advisers from U.S. and coalition partner forces have stepped up their activity in Iraq, approximately doubling to 450 the number working directly with local forces in the Mosul offensive. Those troops have gone into the city with Iraqi forces, the Pentagon said. Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, confirmed the presence of the new advisers in a news conference Wednesday. They include special operations forces, intelligence and engineering troops, he said.

David French at the National Review argue the most effective strategy against ISIS would be to defeat the group decisively. 

To counter ISIS’s dramatic and public victories, we must deal it more dramatic and more public defeats. It has to lose the seats of its power, starting in Iraq. Fred and Kimberly Kagan — strategists who helped conceive of the Surge, al-Qaeda’s first defeat in Iraq — have done yeoman’s work outlining a comprehensive, detailed military plan for defeating ISIS, a plan that includes deploying American brigade combat teams. In response to the Paris attacks, the Kagans outlined a number of necessary actions. I want to highlight the first three as particularly critical.

He points to a paper which outlines a boots-on-the-ground strategy against ISIS. Keeping these three points in mind, a U.S.-led coalition could quickly do away with ISIS. 

  1. “Take the gloves off against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Adjust the rules of engagement to accept the risk of collateral damage (civilian casualties), hit every ISIS target on our lists, and do as much damage as possible from the air quickly.”
  2. "Put the necessary U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq to help the Iraqis retake Ramadi and Fallujah rapidly and prepare them to retake Mosul within six months.”
  3. “Don’t over-rely on Kurdish forces for rapid, decisive operations beyond Kurdish ethnic boundaries.” 

Critics are skeptical that a massive military force would be enough to truly end ISIS. The United States tried it against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and everyone knows how that turned out. Experience tells us that military might only goes so far. 

The problem of ISIS is far, far deeper than taking out some number of fighters. It has been more than a decade in the making, involves horrific political conditions in Syria and Iraq, and includes strongly held religious beliefs morphed with twisted ideology, a multi-sided civil war and complicated economic and cultural factors. That toxic mix is not going to be solved by deploying U.S. ground troops.

Until the underlying causes are addressed, any attempt to solve the problem of ISIS by killing enough of their fighters will almost certainly backfire. What would be the benefit of losing thousands of Americans killed and wounded to potentially weaken ISIS, only to see them limp off to rebrand themselves into yet a new form?

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Post by Shantez Burse.
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Post by Harry Todd.
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