Bombing Won’t Stop the Islamic State

So we sent planes and cruise missiles to create photo ops that show our resolve in stopping ISIS. All it did was create the false image that we actually did something important. We didn’t. At the same time the 47 cruise missles were flying, ISIS troops over ran and annihilated an Iraqi infantry brigade, and made further territorial gains against the Kurdish Peshmerga, the best hope we have there.

After the intensive bombing of German industry in WWII, a survey after the war discovered that German industrial output, the target of the bombing, peaked in late 1944, less than six months before the end of the war. By contrast, the Russians did not engage in strategic bombing, or the bombing of industry, as they focused their considerable airpower on German troops in a tactical bombing effort. They followed the tactical bombing by placing boots on the recently bombed areas.

That’s what works, boots on the ground. The belief that strategic bombing via atomic bombs caused Japan’s surrender has been debunked as Japanese records show that there was no panic to surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as our strategic bombing had actually done more damage to other Japanese cities. What triggered the Japansese surrender was the Russian declaration of war and invasion of the Northern Japanese Islands at the end of the war. The Russians seizure of Sakhalin Island, the northern most, former Japanese Island, and the Kuril Islands, where there is still dispute as to the ownership, caused the Japanese surrender. Sakhalin is part of Russia today.  The Japanese government made a decision that bombs were ok, but that Russian boots in Tokyo were not. The same rule will apply to ISIS (ISIL?). (for an ISIS/ISIL distinction, look Here)

Boots on the ground will win, but 40 cruise missiles will not. We need to get this right.  Obama’s generals know what to do, but he seems to be photo op oriented, we’ll see how it turns out.

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