Earlier this week, CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked President Obama the following question at a press briefing:
"A lot of Americans have this frustration that they see the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS. I guess the question is, and if you'll forgive the language, but why can't we take out these bastards?"
Well Jim, the answer is quite simple and indeed, if you - or any other member of the mainstream media for that matter - would bother to look at things like the declassified Pentagon report that Judicial Watch turned up earlier this year, you’d be less confused.
Allow us, once again, to provide you with the answers you seek, straight from the Pentagon ca. 2012:
...there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
Translation: if Sunni extremists were to establish a proto-state in eastern Syria that would be great because it would destabilize Assad and cut off Iran from Hezbollah thus endangering the preservation of Tehran’s Shiite crescent.
For those who need a still simpler formulation: ISIS started out no different than any of the other rebels the US supports in Syria. They likely received guns, money, and training if not directly from the US, then from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Washington seems to have had some idea that they would seek to capture and hold territory and as far as the Pentagon was concerned, that was just fine. Whether or not the CIA anticipated what would come next is up for debate, but make no mistake, US intelligence knew good and well this was a possibility and let it happen because ousting Assad was (and still is) the top priority.
So when the Jim Costas of the world ask “why can’t we take out these bastards?”, the answer is that if if we did, one of the main forces destabilizing the Assad regime would be gone and not only that, the US would no longer have an excuse to be in Syria, which would leave the country’s political future entirely up to Russia and Iran and that is a decidedly unpalatable outcome not only for Washington, but for Riyadh and Doha as well.
It’s Occam’s Razor Jim: look for the simplest possible explanation and go with that.
Of course that explanation is simply too bad to be true for most Americans and so the public and the mass media will continue to exists in a state of perpetual bewilderment as to why 13 months of aerial bombardment hasn’t done anything to degrade the group.
In case any of the above isn’t clear enough, Sergei Lavrov has commentary which may help to drive the point home, presented below without further comment:
"Despite announcing ambitious plans for its coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the analysis of those [US-led] airstrikes during over a year lead to conclusion that they were hitting selectively, I would say, sparingly and on most occasions didn’t touch those IS units, which were capable of seriously challenging the Syrian army."
“Apparently, it’s a kind of a ‘honey is sweet, but the bee stings’ situation: they want IS to weaken Assad as soon as possible to make him leave somehow, but at the same time they don’t want to overly strengthen IS, which may then seize power."
"The US stance seriously weakens the prospects of Syria to remain a secular state, where the rights of all ethnic and religious groups will be provided and guaranteed,”
"Russia’s assessment of the US-led anti-terror operation in Syria is based on observations of specific results and there are little results, not to say there are none – except the fact that during this period [since August 2014] the Islamic State has grown on the territories they control.”