Let's get back to that Sun Tzu quote in the last post:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
By this metric, the reason why Barack Obama is losing the "war" against ISIS is because he does not see them as an enemy, and therefore isn't really fighting them. Whereas he may or may not see Bashar al-Assad as an enemy, since Assad is an Iranian stooge and O definitely doesn't see the mullahs as enemies, but he wants everybody else to believe that he sees Assad as an enemy in an ongoing effort to make everybody forget his "Red Lines" el foldo fiasco from two years ago. Hence the constant, but ever-eroding, rallying cry, "Assad must go!"
The truth is that ISIS and Boy Assad, while fighting each other, are BOTH enemies of America, and therefore any strategically effective U.S. war in Syria has to have as its objective the complete liberation of the country from both the Islamic State AND the Assad regime. Something that was possible two years ago, when we were poised to do just that, but which was squandered when The One instead punted the whole kit & kaboodle to Vladimir Putin, who, not surprisingly, has now partially occupied the country himself, making the aforementioned strategic goal of liberating Syria impossible short of a Fifth World War.
But ISIS is still fair game, presumably, though, of course, Barack Obama obstinately refuses to do what it will actually take to defeat them - re-invade Iraq with tens of thousands of U.S. ground troops.- insisting that "local forces" do that fighting for us, even though only the Kurds have proven capable of defending themselves, and even they lack the ability to go on the offensive against the Islamic State since Obama, seemingly paradoxically, won't arm them.
Imagine how frustrating it must be for patriotic American commanders to be so smootheringly strait-jacketed by the jihadi-symp enemy in the White House with sabotagingly ridiculous vice-like rules of engagement and other restrictions that keep them from taking virtually any offensive actions against ISIS positions, possessions, infrastructure, military assets, and fighters. You and your forces are being ostensibly sent out to carry out a mission against a bloodthirsty enemy that has vowed to murder all of us that your big-eared C-in-C then quietly forbid you from executing. You've been "fundamentally transformed' from professional soldiers to political pawns and the men and women under your command to cannon fodder at ISIS's leisure. What do you do? How do you cope? What can you do?
Well, it looks as if the Joint Chiefs of Staff found a way:
The Joint Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a bid to help him defeat jihadist groups, a bombshell report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claims.
Hersh writes in the London Review Of Books that the group of senior military leaders who advise [Commissar] of Defense Ash Carter sent intelligence through Israel, Germany, and even Russia.
The secret missives were transmitted with the understanding they would be forwarded to Assad in his quest to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State.
"We weren't intent on deviating from Obama's stated policies. But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive," a former Joint Chiefs of Staff adviser adviser told Hersh.
In other words, they were intent on deviating from Obama's stated policies, because Obama's actual policies are pro-ISIS, and they couldn't carry out their stated mission of "degrading and defeating" the Islamic State any other way. Good for them.
"It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamic terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn't know, but Obama doesn't know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that's true of all presidents.''
None more so than King Hussein, who's too busy playing Galaga in the White House residence at this time of year to bother with such piddling details.
But Obama knows now. Which was undoubtedly what Seymour Hersh was trying to accomplish with this "bombshell" story.
So, will he fire the whole JCS en masse, or will they "retire" piecemeal over the next few months? And what will be Ash Carter's fate, since he apparently didn't know anything about this circuitous intelligence sharing either? It's not often that malevolence and incompetence collide in quite this way, but it will be fascinating to see how the inevitable Obama raging temper tantrum will retributionally manifest itself in the coming days and weeks.
I've got the popcorn already popped. And I don't even eat popcorn.