Wednesday, July 22

Earth Calling Tomi Lahren: This is not the year 1945

American Tomi Lahren, a news anchor for a weekend talk-news show on One America News Network, launched a rant in reaction to Mohammad Abdulazeez's massacre of 5 American servicemen last Thursday. From the 7/21 New York Daily News report on her words:
[...] “I’ve had it with this failed strategy, this halfway, half-baked, tiptoe, be-friendly-to-jihadis mentality pushed by this administration,” she said.
She then advocated a more aggressive approach to terror in the Middle East.
“They -- the radical Islamists -- have brought the fight right here to the red, white and blue and it’s about time we bring it to them full force,” she said. “Let’s show them what the United States of America looks like up close and personal. Show them what a B-1 Bomber looks like flying overhead. Show them what they’re messing with.
“Put the fear of God in their desert! Because clearly our lack of strategy isn’t working,” she ended.
Lahren’s 2-minute foreign policy lesson had been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube Tuesday morning.  
[By this morning it had been viewed more than 2.5 million times and the number is by now probably much higher since the USA TODAY coverage.]

She's 22 years old so I'll cut her some slack.  But obviously she doesn't know that President Obama has already sent B1s to bomb the bastards.  As of May 27, when this Associated Press analysis of the use of airpower against Islamic State was published at Military Times, the U.S.-led coalition had carried out over 4,100 airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Not all the bombers in the campaigns are B1s but they're definitely in use.

However, the airstrikes have been largely ineffective against IS and other jihadi groups running riot in the Middle East. The AP analysis, written by Dan Perry and Vivian Salama, explains in part why this is so:
While air power has proven well-suited to hitting command-and-control centers, storage facilities and infrastructure, Islamic State fighters have proven adept at reacting. The group "is nimble enough to move around their personnel and equipment to make up for any losses with tactical moves," said Dubai-based geopolitical analyst Theodore Karasik. "The battlefield is very fluid."
Another air campaign carried out by a coalition of Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia has had similarly disappointing results, this time against Shiite Houthi rebels who seized much of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. After two months of airstrikes, the Houthis have been damaged, but they haven't been expelled from any major areas they control.
Like Islamic State, the Houthis and their allies have devised tactics to avoid being hit from the air, using public transportation and motorcycles to deploy forces or traveling at night on foot or in vehicles with their headlights dimmed.
And like the jihadis, they easily melt into urban civilian areas under their control -- practically daring coalition forces to try to bomb them out. As long as the rebels control the local population and have little concern for the suffering of civilians, this can create pressure on the attacking side, which soon stands accused of humanitarian abuses.
The other part is the simple fact that the bombers quickly run out of legitimate targets, as happened earlier this month in Ramadi against Islamic State:
US and other coalition warplanes pummelled militant positions in the city and its outskirts with 29 air strikes on July 12, the first night of the offensive. But they sharply reduced the air attacks as it became more difficult to find viable targets.
Often the only viable targets after the initial airstrikes are their own equipment, as the AP analysis observes:
The U.S. has promised to deliver more anti-tank weapons to counter the suicide bombers. But in an almost comical indication of the futility, the U.S. has had to devote some of its airstrikes to destroying tanks and other U.S.-supplied weaponry that the Iraqi [military] abandoned to the Islamic State fighters.
Now if Lahren wants to talk about using B1s to carpet bomb, that would be a different story.   And if she really wants to rain down hell on those Muslims in the Middle East, the bombs should be incendiary devices like ones used to bomb Dresden, Germany during World War Two:
In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city.
A problem being that with most of male residents of fighting age away from the city at various war fronts, the population in Dresden at the time was mostly women, children, and elderly men.  The other problem was that the residents didn't understand how incendiary bombs worked and so they took refuge in basements, which was certain death.

War historians are probably still debating the casualty number and whether Dresden was a legitimate target for that much ordnance but the point is that here in the 21st century we're trying to get away from making civilians a legitimate target for airstrikes.  

Granted, there have been several many "Oops!" airstrikes including ones launched by armed drones. As a matter of fact there is a faction that has called President Obama a war criminal just because of his fondness for "Oops!" drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan's badlands.

But in general, civilized governments in this era try to avoid bombing civilians to put the fear of God in them.
As for the Muslim terrorists, the Japanese Imperial Army in World War Two they ain't.  They will not stand and fight to the last man jack.  They learned their lesson in the Battle of Fallujah when they stood and faced American forces. ISIS has taken over the city recently but all they had to stand and fight against was the mice in uniform called the Iraqi Army.

This said, I sympathize with Tomi Lahren's anger and understand she believes that taking the battle in a big way to the enemy is the only way to stop Muslim terrorists from attacking Americans on home ground. But while Lahren has kept close count of the number of Muslim terrorist attacks on American servicemen in the United States -- 21 -- she wouldn't be able to give the tally on how many Muslim terrorists American servicemen have killed.  That's because the U.S. government publishes only estimates of enemy casualties and these are lowballed.

But if she had a clear idea how many Muslim terrorists the United States and its coalition partners have already killed, she might realize that the USA has already taken the battle to the enemy in a big way and that this hasn't worked. 

That's because the U.S. and its coalition forces have been fighting a mirage. Many Muslim terrorists are actually mercenaries in the pay of at least one government. Many others are outright armed by governments or procure weapons through deals with rogue government officials who should never have gotten hold of such weapons in the first place.  

So if Lahren is really itching to drop bombs, she can start with a fairly long list of capital cities including the de facto capital of Pakistan, Rawalpindi, to target. But as some of these capitals are in Europe and one is in the United States, I wouldn't advise that route to stopping Muslim terrorism. 

For the same reason it would be a gruesome folly to return large numbers of American combat troops to the fields of battle.

As to protecting American civilians and service people in the United States from Muslim terrorist attacks --

First, the American news media should revise its way of reporting on terrorist attacks. The general idea would be to deprive terrorists of the kind of media coverage that actually glorifies their acts, which is their primary motive for the attacks.

Second, Ms Lahren might want to contact Edward Snowden and ask him to give an interview on her show in which he explains how American spy agencies could improve their data collection and analysis of terrorist threats.  Or she could dig into his writings and speeches for tips on such.  

Third, I'd advise that she dedicate part of her show to asking detailed and probing questions about several of America's dear allies. She might be successful at shaking a few skeletons out of closets, in the manner of beginner's luck. Then again, this might also cost her a chance to work for Fox News Channel.  



bdoran said...


The domestic Islamist threat in the United States is the work of a day.

A Bloody Day, but a day.

As you'll put us in jail if we the Military do our job, we wait for a government that understands "War."

bdoran said...


We won in 1945.

Pundita said...

For Pete's sake, that was my whole point. Speaking of the work of a day, did you see my threat to State in "Afghan Tragedy: U.S. State Department institutionalized corruption?" If they couldn't get it together then we could go straight to a military rule. And have the military take control of USAID. Of course there is no bark to my bite but it made me feel better.

Bruce Hall said...

Would this have been a reasonable target for air strikes?

Pundita said...