The UK Guardian has published an editorial on how to deal with the Islamic State from Bradley/Chelsea Manning.
Manning is currently serving 35 years in Leavenworth for leaking classified intelligence during the Iraq war.
The strategy itself sounds like the one Obama first offered, between the lines, last Wednesday. That may be why it got past Manning’s jail cell and out to the Guardian.
Manning counsels “containment,” allowing ISIS to maintain the territory it currently holds. That will, in Manning’s reckoning, let them fail as a state, divide and disintegrate. It may take years, even decades. Manning doesn’t specify a timeline. It only took the Soviet Union more than 70 years to fail as a state. Caliphates have come and gone in the Middle East over the years, but some of them have lasted centuries.
The Islamic State has armor (ours), aircraft that it may or may not not be able to fly (Syrian) and it pulls in about $2 million a day from oil. Its presence also exacerbates the Kurdish issue: The longer Iraq’s central government remains weak and its territory divided, the longer the Kurds have to maintain their own security — and fosters their own feelings toward independence from Iraq, Turkey, etc.
Manning never lays out what to do if ISIS decides to outgrow its boundaries, or if Syria’s secular dictator falls, or ISIS’ presence crushes the Baghdad government, or Iran intervenes on the ground, or any number of other scenarios that are far from science fiction including ISIS launching strikes outside its territory. ISIS has threatened to do that. Manning does not address that.
Obama never came out for containment, in fact he said that his strategy would eventually “degrade and destroy” ISIS. But he did hold up Yemen and Somalia as examples of what he believes are successful counterterrorism fights.
Terrorists have had free or nearly free run in both for decades now. They are occasionally degraded in drone strikes, but never destroyed.
As for Manning, he (he was a guy at the time) took it upon himself to break his oath and the law in leaking sensitive information that the military had entrusted to him. Manning did this largely out of spite against the military’s gay policies (cluebat: ISIS’ gay policies aren’t friendlier).
Why does the Guardian believe that the opinion of such a person is worth printing? Why does such a person have the ability to communicate with media?