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The question is...."What do they want?" - Flourish and Blotts

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January 2nd, 2016


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12:28 am - The question is...."What do they want?"
There is an old rule in warfare, namely that you should identify what the enemy wants, and focus on denying them that. The principle goes clear back to Sun Tzu and The Art of War. The idea is simple: If you know what your enemy desires, thwarting that desire should be your central focus.

A couple of examples help make this clear

When Hitler attacked Russian in 1941 Stalin really didn't have the necessary might to successfully oppose him. Stalin was caught by surprise (although he shouldn't have been) and quickly concluded it was going to be a long, messy war. He did, however, know a couple of things that factored into his favor. First, he had lots of land. Second he knew from history that making war during the winter in Russia was a really bad idea. So, forced into the situation, he chose to trade space for time, slowly withdrawing, leaving behind scorched earth, and playing for time. When winter came, Hitler's troops were outside Moscow, but unable to protect themselves from the weather. Although the war continued, Moscow was never taken and Hitler could never resume the offensive with the same power.

In 1944, Hitler unleashed a winter offensive in the Ardennes, an assault that later became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Eisenhower quickly deduced that the goal was Antwerp...and that Hitler's chances relied on two things...access to the road network to move his Panzers (tanks) and the capture of allied fuel dumps. While the allies gave ground in many places, the 101st Airborne was able to hold Bastogne, the key road hub. He also placed stronger defenses around the supply dumps in the area. Ultimately those two things doomed the offensive.

So...what does this have to do with today?

In the battle against Daesh, the media continually supply endless stories about the brutality, the religious intolerance, and the Sharia law aspects. They decry the beheadings, the abuse of hostages, and the dictatorial power applied to those in the occupied territory. Make no mistake, that outrage is well deserved and appropriate. The response of the world has been slow, and not always effective. The hawks plead for the immediate deployment of troops, more bombing, and another Shock and Awe attack.

The point that is missed in all of this is the real motivation. The leaders of Daesh, which is clearly religiously oriented, are determined to create the end times as described in the Bible and other tracts. For that to happen, they need to draw "the west" into battle in the Middle East. They do not intend to create some brand new "country" or caliphate. They intend, or at least desire, to create the end times.

The words spoken by Donald Trump point out the fallacy of not understanding the basics. His rhetoric is playing directly into their plan, building anger and encouraging a massive military response, including lots of boots on the ground. Exactly what Daesh wants.

While there can be little doubt how such a battle would end, it becomes yet another example of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld concept...where winning the war is easy but no thought is given to how to win the peace thereafter. Are we really Stupid enough to go down that path again?

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