What kind of stupidity is this? We are leaving Da’ish fighters alive to return to the battlefield!

My mind is boggled. From The New York Times:

Islamic State Convoy Remains Stuck in Syria

By Rod Nordland | August 31, 2017

BEIRUT, Lebanon — For four days now, an Islamic State convoy with more than 600 people has been stuck in the middle of the harsh Syrian desert, blocked by American airstrikes, as a deal to allow it safe passage across Syria has collapsed.

The American-led military coalition has used airstrikes to prevent the convoy from reaching its destination in the Islamic State stronghold of Deir al-Zour Province, and vowed to continue doing so, criticizing the Lebanese and Syrians for trying to relocate terrorists. The convoy includes 308 lightly armed ISIS fighters with 330 of their relatives in 17 buses. A dozen ambulances carry 26 wounded fighters.

By relocating them, Syria and Lebanon removed any Islamic State presence on the western border and concentrated it in the east, where Iraqi and American forces would have to deal with them. The Islamic State is also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Now it appears that even if the convoy does reach Islamic State territory, the fighters’ own comrades may not be pleased to see them. In addition, the Syrian regime’s allies appear to be extracting more concessions to allow the convoy to keep moving.

On Thursday, the fighters and their relatives were on the move again, according to Reuters. Quoting a Syrian military source, Reuters said the convoy had retraced its route from the southeastern border near Humaimah, in a 100-mile western loop and then north in an effort to reach Deir al-Zour through the Syrian town of Sukhna.

American military officials said that coalition warplanes would make sure that did not happen.

There’s more at the original, and the money line is further down:

So far the coalition has not bombed the convoy directly because it is carrying civilians.

What kind of idiocy is this? Did we refrain from bombing German war materiel factories because civilians were working in them? Did we not bomb Japanese cities because civilians might be hurt? No, we did what was necessary to win the war, and it has turned out that was the last war we won.

Da’ish1 are guerrilla fighters, blending into the background whenever it suits their needs, a tactic which has bedeviled the American military in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. When you do find guerrilla fighters, you kill them, period, and the civilian casualties around them be damned.

Instead, we have been bombing roads and bridges, to prevent the Da’ish convoy from moving toward its destination. If the Times story is accurate, we are leaving 308 Da’ish fighters alive, along with another 26 wounded soldiers, men whom we are leaving alive to fight against our allies.

A so-called ‘free passage’ was negotiated between Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah and the local Da’ish fighters, allowing the Islamists to leave in exchange for them quitting the fight; they were to be allowed to head toward Deir al-Zour, close to the Iraqi border. The coalition were not involved, and the agreement angered them.

We have already taken the position, through our actions, that the deal is not binding on the coalition; if it were, the coalition wouldn’t be bombing their projected route, to stop them from reaching their destination. We are bombing Da’ish positions in Deir al-Zour almost daily, with ‘collateral damage’ against civilians certainly occurring; why shouldn’t we simply destroy this convoy, and kill all of the Da’ish fighters in it, even if the families with them die as well? After all, if we are willing to bomb Da’ish positions in Deir al-Zour and other places, we are willing to accept the inevitable civilian casualties that go along with that. Why not, then, with this convoy out in the open, destroy the convoy and keep these Da’ish fighters from ever joining the next battle.

President Obama sent American ‘advisers’ back into Iraq, as the Iraqi military was losing ground to Da’ish, and President Trump has kept them there. Business Insider reported, last May:

The Pentagon is no longer going to disclose how many troops are in Iraq and Syria, a sharp departure from an Obama administration policy that kept the public abreast of increased troop deployments to the region.

Though the US military has increasingly deployed conventional ground forces in its fight against ISIS in recent months, to include US Army Rangers and US Marine artillerymen, neither were announced by the Department of Defense.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the reason is due to a policy shift from the Trump administration.

“In order to maintain tactical surprise, ensure operational security and force protection, the coalition will not routinely announce or confirm information about the capabilities, force numbers, locations, or movement of forces in or out of Iraq and Syria,” Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Times.

Translation: American soldiers and Marines have been in direct combat with Da’ish forces. To allow 308 Da’ish fighters, along with 26 wounded who may recover and return to the battlefield, to remain free and alive is to risk the possibility that some of those fighters will be shooting at American forces.

I wonder: will it be Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis, winner of the Bronze Star for valor in combat, who gets to tell a grieving family that their Army Ranger son was killed in Iraq by a Da’ish fighter he had allowed to remain free and alive?2
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. The Editor is not particularly fond of the initials ISIS, and the reduction to just IS, for Islamic State, seems even worse. Da’ish is an acronym for the Arabic al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham. According to the BBC, the group “objects to the term and has advised against its usage,” and therefore, I shall use it. The Editor shall not edit comments using other commonly-used terms, but the use of Da’ish is now the accepted form in The First Street Journal’s stylebook.
  2. My older daughter is currently deployed with the Army Corps of Engineers in the Middle East. Though she is not particularly close to the Da’ish action, I can easily understand the feelings of American families who have deployed soldiers who are in harm’s way.


  1. Right, but the main point is Trump is changing the strategy. By not telling the enemy what we’re going to do, it confuses them. Also, smart bombs are a great way of avoiding killing civilians, in contrast to previous wars where “Dumb” bombs would just fly all over the place.

  2. Smart bombs don’t know a civilian from a combatant. Smart bombs go where they are aimed. Aim at the enemy regardless of who they are. Period. THERE ARE NO CIVILIANS. There are fighters and those who support the fighters. Remove 100% of either or both to victory. Frankly I vote for both. The more women and children you kill the fewer “next generation” fighters you have to contend with. Especially with moslems. We’ve been fighting the “next generation” of moslem fighters since 700AD. Kill’em all.

    • Hi Hoagie. I think you’ll enjoy the following piece from the novel I’ve been working on:

      A plan comes together

      My counterpart over there, that slanty eyed Chinaman, you shouldn’t trust him. Except for one thing, trust him to look out for his own interests first and that of his country. He will screw you in a deal so long as he thinks it benefits both, which is why we Russians have long called them the Jews of Asia. Money grubbers, always thinking about money, and how to get more of it.”

      The American sat there, sipping his beer. He knew he couldn’t match the Russian, whose capacity for alcohol was legendary, and who was already halfway into his first bottle of vodka [Stoli]. Boris continued. “One trick with these slant eyed bastards is to humor them. When they go on about their civilization and its thousands of year old history, just nod and smile. Don’t remind them that there’s more to civilization than a pretty vase. If you really want to piss them off, just remind them that Athens had pretty vases, too, and was ahead of them in every aspect of real civilization 2,500 years ago.”

      The American just let him ramble on. He was accustomed to these rants, and generally paid them no attention. When the Russian was drunk enough, that’s when the real business talk could begin. And the business at hand was vital. It involved a three way combined and coordinated attack on the Islamic world, using both nuclear and conventional weapons. The nukes would take care of all the major population centers, after which whoever was left would be hunted down with fighter bombers, attack helicopters, napalm and poison gas. Once Islam was eradicated as a religion, the oil wealth would be divided up among the three powers.

      Boris looked at the American. “You think I am full of shit, yes?” “No”, the American replied “I think you are drunk, but not quite drunk enough. You’re the only person I know that thinks clearer when drunk than sober.”

      “It is a Russian talent” Boris replied. “you live with 9 months of winter long enough and you acquire this ability. Anyway, on with business, as you Americans say. You agree that this plan is necessary?”

      “Yes, of course. The terrorists have now acquired nuclear weapons and are starting to use them. We know about the explosion in your far eastern Siberian oil fields that has cut your oil exports by 25%. Not to mention the thousands of workers and their families killed.”

      “And that is what matters most” Boris said emphatically. The oil fields can be rebuilt. But we can’t bring back the dead. We are civilized people, you and I. And as much as I like to poke fun at them, the Chinese have a civilization of a sort, too. But we are dealing with primitive savages who shouldn’t be trusted with a machine gun, and now they have nukes? The Chinese just intercepted one on one of their trains. They believe it was headed for Peking. No, this problem has to be solved once and for all.”

      “A final solution?”

      “Call it that, if you will. I call it survival.”

      It was at this point the American wished he was not a light drinker, and more like Boris, who seemed to be able to put aside squeamishness and get right to the point.

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