Wednesday, January 20, 2016


By Ronald T. Fox

The back-slapping and self-congratulation has been deafening: with assistance from American special operation forces and air support, Iraqi military forces retook the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State, which had controlled it since May. This was good news for most Americans, even if 600 air strikes from the US-led coalition, along with destruction caused by retreating ISIS booby-traps, left 80% of the city destroyed.  Chalk up one more "liberated” city with an uncertain future. Up next, Fallujah, followed by Mosul and then Raqqa, the Syrian "capital" of the Islamic State.

Ramadi is yet another example of the scorched-earth reality that passes for victory on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Call me na├»ve; I just can’t seem to figure out how the utter destruction of towns serves any long-term purpose for achieving stability and order, let alone political and economic viability.   Military victories can be won, but the political challenge of reconstruction, meeting humanitarian needs, and reconciling Sunni-Shiite animosities remain illusive, if not intractable.  When will we learn that military gains must have a political program to back them up?

Previously I posted images of Kobani, Syria, which was similarly “liberated.” Below are some images of Ramadi.  Draw your own conclusions.

The Navy's F/A-18A Hornet Carried Much of the Heavy Bombing Load

RAMADI.a member of iraqi security forces holds the national flag on Dec. 28 after the recapure of the city
Member of Iraqi Forces Displays National Flag After the Liberation of Ramadi

600 Allied Air Strikes Contributed to the Ramadi Destruction


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