Material advantage against ISIS does not translate into military success

Material advantage against ISIS does not translate into military success
Given the political neo-conservative environment in the Unites States and the ineffectiveness of the US-led air campaign against ISIS, American troops might soon engage in a ground war, retired US Army Judge Advocate Todd Pierce told RT.

RT:The coalition's advantage over Islamists is enormous, why has that yet not been enough to stop their advance?

Todd Pierce: I think if there is anything we should have learned over the last 50 years going back to Vietnam is that material advantage does not translate into military success. When you have the people who see themselves as resisting aggression, trying to expel the foreign invader, or an occupying army there is virtually no limit to the will that they bring to the fight. And I think that is where ISIS and their allies in the Middle East have the persistence to keep fighting us, and the people that are opposing them, meaning other people in the Mid East, are sort of having mixed fillings, because they are really not fully on board keeping the US there either.

RT:But do you really think that is what that is, because ISIS is as much of enemy it seems to the locals as it is for the West in this case? In the case of Vietnam, you clearly have an outside force, but in this case you have ISIS vs the locals as well? So how are the locals having the same impetus there, the Iraqi, the Kurds?

TP: It did not just start this summer. It has been going on for a few years beginning with the war going on in Syria. And according to news reports, the US, Western special forces operations has been training and supplying militants to fight against Assad, going back 2-3 years now.

AFP Photo / Mohammed Sawaf

And what we do know is that many of these arms ended up with what has evolved into ISIS. Then in addition we fully funded and stocked and supplied the Iraqi army, made up of Malaki Shia faction more than any other faction in Iraq. They ended up turning so many weapons to ISIS that ISIS is pretty well stock militarily now from what I understand.

But again you have to go back a number of years. From what I’ve done meeting Guantanamo detainees, they see this as going back to at least 1990 when the US would not forces out of Saudi Arabia at the end of the Gulf War. And along with some other causes. So they see themselves as expelling the US from that region and to restore some degree of independence and not the sort that we like to see when we have somebody like the Saudi royal family or the current military rulers of Egypt doing as we asked them to do.

So people see themselves not only fighting the West but also fighting the West's proxies in the region.

And then you have the combination of Wahabism interpretation of Islam that really began to be more radicalized during the Afghan War against the Soviets. But you have people in Saudi Arabia who are...and we know Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries who are supporting ISIS, so you have this mixed support.

They have a concern for ISIS overflowing, spilling back in their own countries. But on the other hand, they've been happy to support them in fighting Assad in Syria. And of course nobody could trust the US more, because at best we say – maybe we'll temporarily suspend this fight against Assad in order to deal with ISIS, but than reality have it – everybody know that we'll resume this again. General General Wesley Clark said right after 9/11 he could not believe that military officers in the Pentagon talking about taking down, destroying at least 7 countries.

RT:What are the chances that we'll see US boots on the ground in the region?

TP: Considering the domestic politics and what I consider to be really right wing militaristic faction of politicians in the US, neo-conservatives, probably a good chance that we will see boots on the ground. And I think it is going to be what will give further fuel to ISIS and strengthen them even more. I think this past summer has strengthened them and were able to draw more recruits to their cause then if we hadn't began fighting and allowed people in the Middle East to try to sort this out and resolve this. They are the ones who are having to deal directly with the problem anyway.