Friday, August 29, 2014

The ISIS that was missed

Obama's unfortunate comment to "The New Yorker" in January that ISIS was just a "jayvee" team will not burnish his legacy.  How did we know so little about this horrible organization of Islamic nihilism and jihad before it emerged fully formed.  The organization that we see today could not have happened overnight.  It must have been the result of several years of development and planning.

Why say that?  They have a command structure in place with leadership established at the top and former top leaders of Saddam's armed forces holding key positions of responsibility in Iraq.  They use social media to advance their cause in a coordinated way, sickening as it is.  Their moves appear planned to take advantage of clear weaknesses that they exploit, they use drones to survey positions, and they even came with a friggin' flag. 

The Islamic State Caliphate, as they apparently prefer to be called now, is nothing if not relentless, and brutal.  One can wonder whether intrepid reporters noticed this phenomenon rising before anyone in the CIA or military realized what was coming.  That is entirely possible.  Obama seems to have deferred to drone surveillance and the Navy Seals as what the government needs to rely on for current information.  Obviously, as it always has been in Iraq, the U.S. needed more reliable on the ground contacts and not the advice of elder statesmen or narrow minded leaders.

The question remains.  How did the U.S. completely underestimate this until it was upon us and the world.


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