Peter Mansoor

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CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors for their take on last week's attacks in Paris and how the war on ISIS must change if the U.S. and its allies want to defeat it. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.

Fareed Zakaria: What does ISIS want?

The barbarism of the attacks in Paris mark a new low in terror. The attacks were not directed against national symbols or government targets, but designed simply to kill innocent men, women and children. The murderers did not even bother to issue demands.

French President Francois Hollande has called Friday's attacks an act of war.…  Seguir leyendo »

The fall of Ramadi to militants from the Islamic State over the weekend has once again illustrated the group's power, despite nine months of U.S. and coalition airstrikes that have targeted it in Iraq and Syria. And it has also raised important questions about the effectiveness of U.S. strategy in the region.

In the wake of the fall of Tikrit last month to Iraqi forces and Shia militias, ISIS has responded by consolidating its grip on al-Anbar province and targeting the massive oil refinery at Baiji. All this has energized the debate concerning the effectiveness of the U.S. strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the group.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Obama administration's Afghanistan assessment, due out Thursday, reportedly indicates uneven but real progress. Fed a steady diet of gloom and doom, including Wednesday's headlines about negative intelligence assessments, many Americans will be surprised at this finding.

But in any far-off guerrilla war, perception back home often lags battlefield reality by several months. It certainly did in Iraq during the "surge" in 2007. So too in Afghanistan, where the buildup of U.S. forces, completed only this fall, is already having a considerable impact, although public opinion hasn't caught on yet.

Even with the recent increase in U.S. troops, bringing the NATO force to 140,000, there are not enough forces to conduct a comprehensive campaign across the entire country.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is not a stretch to say that Barack Obama faces stiffer, more vexing challenges on more fronts than any president in recent memory. In the coming weeks, the Opinion section will publish a series of Op-Ed articles by experts on the most formidable issues facing the new president. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the subject of today’s articles.

1) The Little Battles We Must Win.

2) A War Presidency, On Two Fronts.

3) How To Leave Iraq, Intact.

4) The 'Good War' Isn't Worth Fighting.

5) Out Of Conflict, a Partnership.

6) One Surge does Not Fill All.

7) Thanks, But You Can Go Now.

As a brigade commander in Baghdad in 2003, I befriended a resident, Adnan Abdul Sahib, who went on to serve two terms as the head of the city advisory council. In 2007, however, sectarian violence forced his family from their home in central Baghdad, and they fled the country. Last month I talked with Adnan in Colorado, where he and his family are now refugees. “The fatal mistake the United States made in Iraq,” he told me, “was to empower extreme sectarian political parties. It’s time to give the moderates a voice.”

Barack Obama has the opportunity to recast American policy toward Iraq in a meaningful way, by providing much-needed support to its political center.…  Seguir leyendo »

Given the divisive debate over the Iraq war, perhaps it was inevitable that the accomplishments of the recently concluded "surge" would become shrouded in the fog of 30-second sound bites. Too often we hear that the dramatic security improvement in Iraq is due not to the surge but to other, unrelated factors and that the positive developments of the past 18 months have been merely a coincidence.

To realize how misleading these assertions are, one must understand that the "surge" was more than an infusion of reinforcements into Iraq. Of greater importance was the change in the way U.S. forces were employed starting in February 2007, when Gen.…  Seguir leyendo »