Obama plays politics – rules out ground troops in “war” against ISIS
One day after Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel suggested that US ground troops might be necessary to defeat ISIS, President Obama hurriedly reconfirmed to service members at an appearance at McDill Air Force Base that “I will not commit you, and the rest of our Armed Forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq.” The President further said, “it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries future,” and “We cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves.”
Recognizing that the President is the smartest person in the room remains a major requirement for Cabinet secretaries, the National Security team, and the military. If anything, Secretary Hagel and Chairman Dempsey’s remarks were merely giving themselves cover for when disaster strikes, finger pointing begins, and the “don’t blame me” Obama spin machine goes on steroids.
Extrapolating the US/ISIS situation further, Chairman Dempsey, as reported by Fox News:
The U.S. military’s top officer said Wednesday that almost half of Iraq’s army is incapable of working against the Islamic State militant group, while the other half needs to be rebuilt with the help of U.S. advisers and military equipment.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made the remarks to reporters while traveling to Paris to meet with his French counterpart to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria. The general said that U.S. assessors who had spent the summer observing Iraq’s security forces concluded that 26 of the army’s 50 brigades would be capable of confronting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Dempsey described those brigades as well-led, capable, and endowed with a nationalist instinct, as opposed to a sectarian instinct.
However, Dempsey said that the other 24 brigades were too heavily populated with Shiites to be part of a credible force against the Sunni ISIS.
Bottom line, the President has now put himself and this country into a pathetic situation:
- The President was dragged into making a statement about ISIS because of optics and the fact that the Democrats could lose the Senate because of Obama’s perceived weakness, albeit it’s not perceived. Two American journalists were beheaded, with the first resulting in a disastrous photo op of an Obama golf game following his press statement, and the second resulting in Obama’s inane statement that we “don’t have a strategy”.
- It’s a war, it’s not a war. Depends upon who you ask. Secretary Kerry reluctantly called it a war, while National Security Adviser Susan Rice did not.
- This farce of an ISIS strategy continues to degrade every day as more people, within and outside the Administration, question not only the viability of the strategy, but whether the targeting of one terror group instead of a more comprehensive “war on terror” could lead to fighting in the Middle East for another decade or two.
- The “broad coalition” is already specifying what it won’t do. Turkey won’t allow air strikes into Syria from its bases. Germany will not participate in air strikes against Syria or Iraq. Britain isn’t sure, but is keeping its options open, and France is hesitant. Coalition of the useless.
- The President’s view that Iraq can form an inclusive government made up of Sunni and Shiite sectors is wishful thinking at best. The Sunni tribes that fought with Americans in Iraq, were then turned by al-Maliki’s treatment of them when he took power. Now, our “military advisers” are expected to turn them again, only they’d be fighting against ISIS, which is predominantly Sunni, and we’d potentially become involved in a sectarian war as we’ve already been warned the US could be seen as pro-Shia throughout the Middle East. This last point is about as messy as the mess the President is leading us into.
- Arming the Syrian rebels. The time to arm the Syrian rebels was 170,000 dead ago, when we could at least have identified the good guys. Arm the Syrian rebels, or rather moderates as Washington call them, and we’ll see more US weapons in the hands of jihadis. It would sorely ironic if Americans soldiers died at the hands of American weapons.
The one point not addressed in all this strategy, no strategy, is what are the repercussions that we should expect here in the US once the “war” against ISIS begins. We’ve already seen how the tracking down of the Tsaraev brothers shut down the city of Boston for almost two days in 2013. One can imagine the chaos that would ensue if concerted attacks and loss of lives were played across American cities, and TV and internet screens. Which is why Obama’s words of “no boots on the ground” may come back to haunt him. He may have no choice. To bloviate and bluster about what he won’t do because of political optics, is already resulting in our inability to craft a military coalition, as well as a “what me, worry?” attitude among our enemies.
Our President already shows signs of drowning in a cesspool of his own making. Reluctant, unwilling to commit to fighting a cancer that is slowly enveloping a vital part of the world, Obama once again leads from behind and puts America’s security not in its own hands, but lets outside forces shape its destiny. And Americans will continue to die.