• The Future of Mosul is Kobane

    March 7, 2015

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iraq, Military, Syria


    It was necessary to destroy the Syrian town of Kobane (above) in order to save it from ISIS. The rubble and ruin of what was once a place more than 200,000 people lived is now free. Want to know the future of Mosul? Look to Kobane.

    Destroying Kobane

    Kobane once mattered nearly nothing at all, at least when ISIS was winning there in the face of NATO-ally Turkey choosing not to intervene. In October 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry, said preventing the fall of Kobani was not a strategic U.S. objective. “As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobane, you have to step back and understand the strategic objective.” That objective was something about destroying ISIS’ command centers.

    After the U.S. abandoned the goal of bringing Turkey into the fight, and, against Turkey’s wishes, facilitated the movement of Kurdish forces across Iraq to attack Kobane, the city suddenly did become a U.S. strategic objective. Speaking a little over two months after his earlier dismissive statement, Kerry said with the recapture of the Kurdish city of Kobane, ISIS was “forced to acknowledge its own defeat. Daesh – ISIL as some know it – has said all along that Kobane was a real symbolic and strategic objective.” Kerry continued to say that pushing ISIS out of Kobane was “a big deal.”

    By all accounts, the over 700 airstrikes the U.S. conducted on a round-the-clock basis on Kobane devastated the town. The civilian death toll has never been calculated. No plans to rebuild the city have been announced. Kobane was saved from ISIS by destroying it.

    Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam

    A famous quote from the Vietnam War was a statement attributed to an unnamed U.S. officer by correspondent Peter Arnett, writing about Bến Tre city in February 1968: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” The officer was talking about the decision to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong. The quote became garbled over time, eventually becoming the familiar, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

    The meaning of the phrase, as applied to Vietnam and to Kobane, is the same. What absurd value can be found in decimating a town in the cause of freeing it?

    Kobane is Free

    “Winning” in Kobane accomplishes nothing really. The city is destroyed. Over 200,000 refugees have been forced out, with questions about how they can ever return to resume their lives given such devastation. The decision not to intervene by the Turks exposed the fragility of the hastily assembled U.S. coalition, setting up future confrontations among allies with very different goals and agendas for this war.

    As an activist in the ISIS capital of Raqqa wrote, “People don’t look at Kobani and see a defeat, because everyone had to leave and the Americans bombed it to rubble to win.”

    Meanwhile, as attention and limited resources were tied up in a battle of questionable strategic import, ISIS gains ground in Anbar, and continues to gather recruits from around the world. Kobane may very well end up as an example from this war noted by historians, as was Ben Tre from the Vietnam War, though perhaps not the one the U.S. intended it to be.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      In the recent film Prometheus a superior race’s purpose was to terraform orbs far from the mother colony and then use them for bioweapons research. The advanced race of engineers sought to transform all found lifeforms (low and high) into useful killers. Earth was next on their agenda at the end of the film. It seems they’ve already landed, succeeded and moved on.

      03/7/15 1:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “What absurd value can be found in decimating a town in the cause of freeing it?”

      You overlooked the value of the stocks of the companies that make those bombs.

      And who listens to guys named Peter anyway?


      03/7/15 2:15 PM | Comment Link

    • The Future of Mosul is Kobane | Freedom's Floodgates said...


      […] Reprinted with permission from author’s website, We Meant Well. […]

      03/7/15 3:49 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer is unfortunately right. There is a ton of money to be made by defense ontractors for smashing and blowing things up.

      03/7/15 3:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...


      Yes, Peter, “Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam” — nothing but.

      I find it very odd in my writing at our blog on war that so many people seem just fine with dismissing the experiences of the Vietnam War as “old hat”, passe, y’know.

      I mean, who ARE these people who think the last actual war the U.S. fought is somehow irrelevant? Not only do I not get the disrespect for the views of those involved in that war, but the sheer ignorance of that dismissive position amazes me.

      Are we in such a queer bubble at the moment with the speed of our social networking that something from yesterday is just too, um, “yesterday”, no?

      I do know people who fear looking “old” on their profile shots, lest they be dismissed as fustian.

      Fustian! I’ve been usin’ that word since I was a teen, but in some circles, that might brand me irrelevant. So we’re fighting not only for the truth, but for “youth”, lest we consigned to the trash heap of yesterday.

      Yup, you’re correct, it’s Vietnam. But that’s so totally yesterday, dude.

      And what do we do about that?

      03/7/15 8:17 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      But of course it is all Vietnam. That was the template where they learned they could fool the public completely and run a war without a point/goal as long as they liked. The only tweak to the scenario since has been to get rid of the draft, which brought too many middle class families into the game. Better to just use the lower classes to fill up the ranks; nobody in power cares what happens to them it seems.

      03/8/15 12:23 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      It became necessary to destroy our country to save it. The US is Murder Incorporated.

      03/7/15 10:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...


      Yes, Peter, and esp. re. the “all volunteer” (=disposable) team. I can’t tell you how many non-fightin’ patriots I’ve heard who dismiss all of the wrongdoing and trials veterans face with a flourish of the hand: “They volunteered for it — they knew what they were in for!”

      Like the fools who say that have ANY idea what they — or we — were in for.

      And that is the pity of these wars (such as they are.)

      03/8/15 1:58 AM | Comment Link

    • STREETS OF GOLD » The Future of Mosul is Kobane said...


      […] with permission from author’s website, We Meant Well. Source: Ron Paul […]

      03/8/15 7:56 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      “A famous quote from the Vietnam War was a statement attributed to an unnamed U.S. officer by correspondent Peter Arnett, writing about Bến Tre city in February 1968: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”

      ummm..dude..what is this “Vietnam” you refer to? Was that part of the US civil war? Or WW1? Seems to me I read something about it. Oh well..old hat. Who cares? Certainly not me. Now, had you spoke of this you’ve got my attention..youbetcha…


      Now THAT’s what Murka cares about!!! Armchair war!! Durn tooten. Blastem and killem! Blow’em to smithereens!! Dang..now you’ve got my blood boiling..where’d I put that controller..I feel like blowin an entire city up!! Talk about blood and guts..Murka loves it! I mean..they spent a gazillion dollars last year alone on war! Games that is..I mean, you’re un-Murkan if you don’t play this shit..right? Right. So, ‘scuse me now..I gotta war to fight!! later dude..

      sheeezushmotherfuckingchrist.. no wonder Murka is so fucked up. We teach kids war is cool from the time they can hold a controller.

      03/8/15 1:39 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Speaking of a fucked up Murka…


      after all..gottta feed all those armchair troops..right? right.


      03/8/15 2:12 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      wait..wait…fucked up is a massive understatement..


      If your dick length isn’t up to par..war games war games are just the ticket to make you feel like a man..

      yeah, you got it bartender..a bottle of TwoRollingEyes and a shot of DoubleFacePalm.

      03/8/15 2:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      BOO WHO: ISIS is too scary for “HOMELAND.”

      03/8/15 2:53 PM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...


      We are approaching the 50th anniv. of the VN war. How any one could pick a start date is beyond my comprehension.
      what we are seeing is the reverse side of COIN and nation building which is nothing but lies and deceit.Bombing places to save them is the American way, but it’s rather contradictory to our rhetoric about hearts and minds and all that stuff.
      we never plan beyond the killing, or at least we haven’t since 1945.
      if we kill every dude in isis then what?what does success look like?what do we offer beyond the killing?
      since iran is fighting isis, does this make iran our ally?
      jim hruska

      03/10/15 2:36 PM | Comment Link

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