The U.S. Air Force has been bombing the militia of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq since August, and in Syria since September; so far, they must have killed about a couple dozen jihadis and destroyed 20 or 30 trucks and tanks, but that is all they have achieved with their bombs.
There is no indication that the terrorists who make up this wrongly-named state have fallen back or yielded one foot of terrain in the territories occupied so far in these two nations. Furthermore, the bombings have neither stopped the massacres that these groups have been perpetrating, nor deteriorated the economic resources that have been flowing from their coffers. They also have not prevented the recruitment of new members, some of whom arrive from faraway distances, which makes it really hard to explain how they do it without being detected by the renowned intelligence agencies of Europe, Israel or the U.S.
So far, the only ones gaining something from this aerial warfare — and gaining a lot — are the tycoons of the military-industrial complex that manufactures these artifacts. The more bombs dropped by the airplanes or launched by the ships, the more bombs to be manufactured and, thus, the more money for the pockets of those entrepreneurs of death.
There are many military experts who state that wars are not won from the air; there are many who say that, one way or another, the U.S. must land troops if it truly wants to destroy these thugs who, in the name of a religion, are establishing terror in the territories they conquer.
The problem is that time and again, the U.S. government has declared that it will not send troops, that it will only send training personnel to train the Iraqi military and let them be the ones who face the jihadis.
This approach is rather absurd, for these soldiers were already organized, trained and armed by the U.S. government after the invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, and it is precisely these soldiers who abandoned their barracks in northern Iraq and ran away to Baghdad when the jihadis crossed the Syrian border and entered Iraqi soil.
We must remember that several military divisions acted that way. Not only did the jihadis occupy the abandoned territories, but they also kept all the armament these divisions had received from the U.S. That is, most of the weapons that these fundamentalist militias possess come from the arsenals of the U.S. military, and they are not only the ones taken from the Iraqis during their flight, but also the ones they received directly from the U.S. when they were in Syria trying to overthrow the government of that country.
So it is absurd to think that the war will be won by retraining soldiers who already were demonstrated to be unwilling to face an enemy who has no mercy for anyone, and for whom there is no difference between decapitating journalists, executing hundreds of prisoners, raping helpless women, or teaching children the art of killing.
Not long ago, one of the highest ranking generals of the U.S. Army stated that this war will last at least 30 years. I do not think the general is right. The war, on the road it is taking and with the way they are leading it, will last many more. It may never end, for even if they manage to neutralize those gangs of fundamentalists with foreign troop landings in those territories, this does not mean they will disappear from the face of the planet.
We have already seen the rise of other groups of this kind in other countries; we have already seen that this phenomenon has been metastasizing in other places. I am afraid that, as time keeps passing by, more crazy fanatics will be gathering around the idea of the caliphate that these terrorists are promoting. There are factors in modern societies that encourage the creation of radical and extremist mentalities, mentalities that need only a flag under which to gather. Dangerously, the so-called Islamic State group could very well be that flag.