By Sal Bommarito
Americans should be heartened that the Obama administration is ready to take strong action against ISIS. But the mission as presented in a New York Times article has many pitfalls and is chock full of excuses just in case the plan falls apart. Even more curious is that Obama is already delegating the mission to the next president. I wonder what the current presidential contenders think of this ploy.
The plan has three aspects. The first phase consists of airstrikes exclusively in Iraq. These strikes “[are] already underway to protect ethnic and religious minorities and American diplomatic, intelligence and military personal . . .”
Bombing hostile ISIS forces is exactly what the U.S. should do, but with much greater ferocity. Assuming ISIS terrorists are not hiding among non-combatants, why shouldn’t the bombing sorties be increased dramatically to the point that fighters are afraid to stray away from cover? It is time that America shows its military might to discourage terrorism.
The second phase is to “train, advise or equip the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and possibly members of Sunni tribes.” However, this will only happen after Iraq forms “a more inclusive government.” Is this a joke? The U.S. already spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the past decade trying to train Iraqis to defend themselves, unsuccessfully. Now, we are going to do it in just a few months?
An even bigger joke is the formation of an inclusive government. This is code for forcing the Shiite majority in Iraq to accept and include the Sunni minority in the government. Saddam Hussein and his Sunni supporters viciously oppressed Shiites for years. When Saddam was toppled, it was time for revenge as Shiites took control of the country. This process is not over, so it is folly to think that Sunni tribes are going to join the coalition military force and serve as the coalition’s “boots on the ground” without significant assurances from Shiites.
And finally, we have the third phase, which is “destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria . . .” By the way, this is not likely to happen until the next president of the U.S. is elected.
The problem with this delay is that the coalition will not be dealing with the head of the ISIS snake until much later, and that ISIS leadership and supply of armaments will be plentiful in Iraq from Syria as we tend to the first to phases of the operation.
The more appropriate strategy would be to bomb ISIS forces in Syria now, destroy the supply lines to Iraq and kill as many ISIS leaders as possible. For some reason, the U.S. is overly concerned about attacking Syria. What is the basis of this concern? Does the U.S. care what Syria’s President Assad thinks? No, Obama has stated publicly that he wants to eliminate Assad. Moreover, there is no love lost between Syria and most of the Middle East. The snake will die faster if we attack its head, and the head resides in Syria.
A final issue that is particularly disturbing is the appreciation afforded other members of the coalition. Although a unified response to ISIS by the free world is the right course, the U.S. is going to do all the dirty work, spend most of the money and risk the lives of American pilots and Special Forces fighters. We are allowing our “allies” to set the conditions while we are taking all the risks.
The U.S. should really lead and kill the cancer known as ISIS as quickly as possible. The ability of the enemy to counter attack is limited. Why are we treating ISIS with so much respect? The only thing this enemy will respond to is brute force- so let’s deliver it.
Our country fought against and defeated two enemies on two continents during World War II. Is it really that difficult for us to conduct operations in two countries that are adjacent to one another?