Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the U.S. intelligence analyst who made headlines in 2013 after leaking thousands of classified documents depicting abuse and torture being carried out by U.S. soldiers to WikiLeaks, recently took to The Guardian to share her thoughts on how the American military could best deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, colloquially known as ISIL or ISIS. They key to dismantling the jihadist group, Manning says, is to let its leaders prove how unsustainable its hypothetical caliphate would be in reality.
“Let Isis succeed in setting up a failed ‘state’ – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern,” she reasons. “This might begin to discredit the leadership and ideology of Isis for good.”
Manning also points out that the U.S. isn’t doing enough to combat ISIS’s well documented and effective use of social media to spread its propagandistic messages. In addition to a physical presence within Iraq and Syria, she says the U.S. needs to “counter [ISIS’s] narrative” that the organization uses to recruit youth fighters into its ranks.
Reactions to Manning’s piece have been mixed, but generally positive. Ben Kesling, a marine Corps veteran and Wall Street Journal reporter, took issue with Manning’s logic considering her rank at the time of her dishonorable discharge.