Yesterday evening, a passionless President Obama stared into a teleprompter and breezed through a 15 minute speech on what his strategic and tactical plan would be to combat the biggest threat to American security to date. After reminding us that ISIS/ISIL is not “Islamic,” nor is it a “state” but a terror group, when more erudite minds refer to the group as a well-armed, well-financed army, only shows us that Obama is still behind the proverbial eight ball.
He and his JV national security team have basically put America’s national security into the hands of the Syrian rebels seeking to topple the Assad regime (provided we can identify them correctly), the Kurds and the Iraqi army, the same Army that fled in the face of ISIS over a month ago. The aforementioned teams will be trained and equipped by the us and our “broad coalition.” Coalition is a term that should be used loosely considering that Turkey, a coalition member, happens to be the main thoroughfare into Syria for wannabe Jihadis coming from Europe and the Americas, as well as a supporter of Hamas. Of course, air strikes will be carried out as warranted because we know how much the President loves his drones. Sending approximately 475 military advisers, for some absurd reason does not qualify as “boots on the ground”, so they’ll probably be wearing slippers as they provide the backbone to the teams, when not calling in airstrikes.
We’re entering into another open-ended conflict, without clear strategic goals. We heard that this war will not be similar to the last war we fought in Iraq. Instead, we’re going to fight the war similar to what we’re doing in Somalia and Yemen — limited strikes, special ops, and intelligence focusing on chipping away against the enemy. Somalia and Yemen are not ISIS. The goal and objective should be the complete obliteration and destruction of terror groups in the region, not only ISIS, otherwise, our children and generations to come will still be fighting in the Middle East.
Limiting actions in this ensuing conflict in the Middle East will not solve the problem. The President is focused on ISIS, the worst of the lot. But what we’re fighting is a more decentralized structure than one group, so the strategy must be broader than “degrade.” Al-Qaeda, Hamas, al-Nusra, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others, all forerunners of ISIS are terror groups in their own right. There is no comprehensive strategy in dealing with these groups holistically. Using the whack-a-mole approach is going to keep us in bogged down in the Middle East long after Obama’s Presidency is over, which can’t be soon enough.
The President’s speech last night broke the cardinal military rule of “never tell your enemy what you won’t do.” That in itself, shows the President’s anemic approach to this conflict. There isn’t one American who wants to see more American lives needlessly lost in that area of the world, but there also isn’t one American who wants to see American lives needlessly lost at home, because our President didn’t have the stomach or courage to put American “boots on the ground” when called for.
While the President drew similarities to Somalia and Yemen, it should be noted that there are also similarities to Vietnam. We started there with military advisers and air strikes. Without clear goals and the grit to do what was necessary, as in get it over with and get out, we ended up over 52,000 dead and a long, draining war. But Southeast Asia was a long way from Topeka, Kansas, and we didn’t have a 9/11 on to worry about on our soil. Now we do, and the strategy we pursue, or not pursue, will have ramifications for Americans decades to come.
So much for the war on terror being over and Al-Qaeda’s on the run.