Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for UPI on US and coalition efforts to combat the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham:
As the United States lurches into a “war” with the Islamic State, debate on President Barack Obama’s vow to “degrade and destroy ISIL” is just beginning. As a first order of business, this debate should delve deeply into why America has failed in most of its post-World War II military interventions and why it succeeded in winning the existential cold war preventing it from going “hot.” Unfortunately, this assessment will not happen.The White House has no appetite for this type of reflection. Congress is ambivalent. It is worried that any authorization to use force could be another “slippery slope” trapping the nation in what becomes a larger and deeper war. Yet, Congress understands that public opinion strongly supports action against IS. Hence, the path of least resistance will likely be through minimal steps and not include understanding what has won and lost past wars and applying that knowledge to defeat IS.
One predictable result of failing to learn from history is that, as with the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, the United States government will repeat past strategic blunders increasing the chances of failure and shortening the odds for success.