Chelsea Manning, the woman who very nearly derailed all of SF Pride last year, has just spoken out from her military prison cell for the first time on the topic of ISIS, denouncing President Obama's decision to attack the terrorist group via airstrikes.
As the Wikileaks hero and controversial figure who was revealed to be a trans person only after the scandal and ultimate trial surrounding her leaking of U.S. military intelligence writes in the UK Guardian:
Based on my experience as an all-source analyst in Iraq during the organization’s relative infancy, ISIS cannot be defeated by bombs and bullets even as the fight is taken to Syria, even if it is conducted by non-Western forces with air support.
I believe that ISIS is fueled precisely by the operational and tactical successes of European and American military force that would be and have been used to defeat them. I believe that ISIS strategically feeds off the mistakes and vulnerabilities of the very democratic western states they decry...
Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again.
Manning adds that a better tactical solution would be "a very focused and consistent strategy of containment" which could even include letting the organization set up a "failed state" so that they prove unpopular with their own "citizens," and enforcing an international moratorium on the payment of ransom for hostages.
Does Manning have a future as an armchair military strategist or paid pundit? Possibly.