What Admiral Nelson Would Have Said About Obama’s ISIS Strategy

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I have spent most of my career working with strategy.

In almost 40 years of dealing with the sharp end of strategy there is one prevailing lesson: the trickier the strategy – the riskier the strategy.

What is trick strategy? Trick strategy is like a trick pool shot where several actions need to occur perfectly in order to sink the shot.

The more actions placed between you and your desired result – the trickier the strategy.

I’m not saying that trick strategy doesn’t work, it does in certain cases.

But at some point the effectiveness of your strategy is influenced more by luck than execution skill. And that’s not good strategy.

So I was thinking about this yesterday as I read some of the briefings describing Obama’s latest attempt at “fighting” violent extremism. This from the New York Times:

If we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better,” Mr. Obama said, adding that the United States would “do its part” by promoting economic growth and development, fighting corruption and encouraging other countries to devote more resources to education, including for girls and women.

See the commander in chief of community organizing seems to believe that the best strategy for dealing with murderous Muslim zealots is giving them jobs and money. (Which has worked out so well in places like Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, etc.)

In other words a trick strategy. Rather than just exterminating them, Obama is introducing several layers of complex actions that must work in order for his strategy to succeed. (I’m assuming success for this administration is defined as eliminating the threat. On the other I am also laying even odds that the Obama administration is doing this intentionally in order to increase the threat and further enable violent Muslim extremists.)

What the Obama administration is suggesting, is giving jobs and money to murderous Muslim zealots will cause them to forget a 1,500 year religious struggle, lay down their weapons and take a job at WalMart.

See in building an “effective” strategy to combat murderous Muslim zealots you need to accept a basic set of facts:

1. This is a continuation of a 1,500 year war.
2. It is a religious war fought between Christians and Muslims.
3. Muslims won’t stop until they’ve eliminated or converted Christians.
4. We have irreconcilable differences with ideology, morals and ethics.
5. Muslims will not fight “fair” as defined by convention like the Geneva Convention.
6. The majority of moderate Muslims will do nothing to fight this battle.

These facts seem to leave only one viable strategy for eliminating the threat from murdering Muslim zealots:

Become more murderous and bigger zealots than they are.

But the problem with Americans and most western men is that we are civilized.

We are not murders. Nor are we zealots.

But what if the battle calls for murderers and zealots?

Do we play the old saw of “the end NOT justifying the means”?

Or do we channel our inner Patton and get to work?

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson famously said the best strategy is the simplest and the boldest:

No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.

I know that most Americans who accept the facts outlined above will still resist the notion of becoming “more murderous and bigger zealots” than our enemy.

But this is one strategist who see’s no other way. If you do see another way please tell me your strategy for defeating murdering Muslim zealots.

Simply. In ten words or less.

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