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Winning our Non-War

Earlier this week President Obama and military leaders from over 20 nations met to deal with the ISIS threats in Iraq & Syria. But Turkey, who was saying all the right things decided to throw a wrench in the game. Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebels in Turkey—ignoring our requests that they attack ISIS forces.

Turkey, a member of NATO, was a democracy; it’s now an Islamic theocracy. Along with Qatar, Turkey is the major backer of both Islamic State and Hamas; they even cooperate with Iran, unofficially. So, to anyone paying attention, Turkey’s actions are not surprising.

Demonstrating our naiveté, we have been leaning on Turkey be more active in the campaign against ISIS.

On Tuesday, the coalition directed 21 airstrikes in and around Kobani. The bad guys still control more than a third of the predominantly Kurdish town.

Our government is desperately trying to show progress in this action (they won’t call it a war), but they’re also getting us ready for a non-war that’s going to take a really long time—because without a real focus and troops on the ground, we simply can’t win it. Yet, Islamic State is so focused and motivated that they won’t go away and will attack us here. Thus this non-war can’t be “managed” or “swept under the rug.”

Syrian Kurds have been begging the international community for heavy weapons to help their defense of Kobani. They’ve also asked Turkey to open the border to allow the Kurdish militia in northwestern Syria to travel through Turkey to reinforce the city. So far, the answers are “no.”

Turkey is reasonably nervous the Syrian Kurds and their YPG militia, which well could be affiliated with the Kurdish PKK movement in southeast Turkey that has waged a long and bloody insurgency against Ankara.  Kurds, who make up about 20% of Turkey’s 75 million people, have faced decades of discrimination, including restrictions on the use of their language. The PKK has fought Turkey for autonomy for Kurds–at a cost of tens of thousands of lives–since 1984.

Because we, the US, are not willing to call the war against Islamic State a war, and wage real war against it—including boots on the ground—we can’t win, and this non-war will go on forever. It will cost the US a great deal of dead military people and money (that we don’t have)—and it’s all for nothing.

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