Is Syria America’s Next Vietnam?
Sean Kennedy – CNN
President Barack Obama made headlines late last month when he ordered 50 U.S. Special Operations forces to “train, advise and assist” anti-ISIS forces in Syria. Adding to the thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq on a similar mission, American involvement in the Levant is growing eerily similar to its mission creep in Indochina decades ago….
True, Syria is not Vietnam.
In fact, it could end up being much worse, not least because instead of two broadly definable camps with (relatively) defined strategic and tactical objectives, Syria’s war involves dozens of local and regional actors with shifting allegiances and often unidentifiable strategies. As a result, Syria makes the three-dimensional chess played by superpowers back then look quaint.
ISIS Is Not Winning the War of Ideas
J.M. Berger – The Atlantic
The myth that America’s narrative is losing to ISIS’s persists despite the fact that millions of people are fleeing ISIS territories, while mere thousands have traveled to join the group. It persists despite the fact that the Islamic State’s ideological sympathizers make up less than 1 percent of the world’s population, even using the most hysterically alarmist estimates, and the fact that active, voluntary participants in its caliphate project certainly make up less than a tenth of a percent.
In the United States, the notion of a “war of ideas” dates almost as far back as the Revolutionary War, according to Google Ngrams , which searches the text of English-language books that have been digitized….
The FBI is currently pursuing hundreds of investigations into suspected ISIS supporters in the United States, and the group’s committed followers in the U.S. are likely in the very low thousands (when comparing this figure to the number of American Nazi sympathizers, keep in mind that the population of the United States has more than doubled since 1941). There are no ISIS towns in America. ISIS can claim no support from major celebrities or captains of industry in America or abroad. ISIS supporters are not invited to prestigious academic symposia—not in America and not in the Middle East.
Does U.S. Support the Islamic State?
Michael Rubin – Commentary Magazine
The answer to that question is an obvious no, but ask ten Iraqis and at least seven will say the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) is either the creation of the United States or its tool. The other three will be undecided….
The most important reason… why such a corrosive conspiracy theory took hold was because Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared it, had the state-controlled Iranian media amplify it, encouraged Iranian agents of influence within Iraq to repeat it and, from the multi-billion dollar U.S. Embassy? Nothing. Crickets….
…For too many diplomats, if it’s not said in English, it’s not said at all. Sure, the State Department might tweet, but Twitter is not the social media of choice in Iraq (Facebook is). Nor is simply answering one statement enough. Rather, the U.S. must counter its adversaries’ propaganda repeatedly, and every single day.