To make the ruse effective it is necessary to create an impression that the fearsome U.S. military is grinding ISIS down. And this is what news consumers in the West have been served since last year, a steady diet of U.S. air power blowing up ISIS jihadis. In reality, all the while the jihadis have been making territorial gains. (The loss of Ramadi was explained away because of a sandstorm or some other nonsense.)
Finally the Centcom analysts cried foul and claimed that their research conclusions were being altered by top brass.
There is a great passage in a story this morning by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo "Military Analyst Again Raises Red Flags on Progress in Iraq":
Although critics have suggested that the bombing campaign’s stalemate proves the need for more troops in Iraq, colleagues say Mr. Hooker’s team is not advocating that approach. “I don’t know anyone outside of a political commercial who thinks we need to send large numbers of troops into Iraq,” said one intelligence official who has worked closely with the Centcom analysts.
Instead, analysts say the dispute centers on whether the military is being honest about the political and religious situation in Iraq and whether a bombing campaign can change it.
“What are the strategic objectives here? There are none. This is just perpetual war,” said David Faulkner, the former targeting director at Centcom who worked alongside the Iraq analysts. “People say: ‘Oh, you’re military. You like that.’ No, we don’t.”