Is the US-led military intervention against ISIS working?
Michael Enright of CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition speaks with Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney and retired U.S. Army colonel and Professor Emeritus of History and International Relations at Boston University Andrew Bacevich about the U.S.-led military intervention against ISIS (Is the West’s Strategy against ISIS working? The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, CBC Radio, 21 June 2015).
Enright begins the interview by asking Kenney what we’ve gained in the fight against ISIS:
“What we’ve gained first of all is not having ISIS dominate all of Iraq…. Since the international coalition began its operations against ISIS last October, through aerial strikes and ground training, ISIS’s progress or gains in Iraq were largely stopped, and they’ve lost about 25 to 30 percent of the territory they controlled last September.”
“Obviously, there have been recent setbacks in Ramadi and elsewhere, but in any military campaign, you are not going to expect one straight line to the objective. There are always going to be gains and losses, but fundamentally, we’ve at least contained this organization and degraded its capabilities.”
“When we think about creating an army, there are two elements. The first element is inculcating the skills necessary to fight…. But the second requirement of an effective army is will – to have soldiers who are willing to fight, who are willing to die for a cause, for a country. And there, it seems to me, as people from outside the Islamic world, our ability to inculcate the will to fight is very, very limited.”
“But there are other countries in the region that are as eager as we are to bring about the demise of ISIS, and whether one likes it or not, one such country is Iran…. Whether we approve of their policies or not, they are once again a player in the politics of the Persian Gulf, and as a player, we have a common interest with Iran in trying to destroy ISIS.”
Bacevich argues that the current Western strategy is ineffective and “counterproductive.” He further states that “We can defeat ISIS militarily, but it doesn’t lie within the West’s power to impose our vision of what life is like on the Islamic world…. Western military intervention exacerbates the problem rather than providing a solution.”
Read the rest of the CBC blog post here: Is the West’s Strategy against ISIS working? (The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, CBC Radio, 21 June, 2015).
Listen to the full CBC Radio interview here: Why is Canada in Iraq? (The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, CBC Radio, 21 June 2015).
For a far-reaching critique of the government’s current approach, see State of Delusion: Why are we bombing ISIS? Our government has no idea (Patrick Graham, The Walrus Magazine, June 2015).
Image credit: A.F. Branco