While ISIS Fights, U.S. Congress Runs Home

By Sal Bommarito

Congressional Democrats are relieved that the president is not going ask for a vote of confidence on his Iraq and Syrian engagements, even if significant constitutional issues are at hand. Obama and Democrats promised to end the wars in the Middle East. So, it would be bizarre for them to endorse air power strikes that could lead to multi-year confrontations right before the mid-term elections.

The president continues to dodge a critial issue that hangs over his latest adventures- U.S. boots on the ground- even when nearly every military expert has indicated the U.S. cannot win the war with ISIS without them.

Let’s face it, the Iraqis are incapable of securing their country against ISIS, and after the war is over, they will not be capable of defending the country against Sunni insurrection and insurgency. The New York Times reports “Iraq Army Woos Deserters Back To War On ISIS.” Is the success of the coalition really dependent upon former deserters to mop after the bombing raids?

In Syria, the moderate rebels together with Syrian government forces were losing ground every day to ISIS. U.S. bomb strikes have supposedly helped stem the tide, but when the air attacks are over, ISIS fighters will emerge from their rat holes amidst the Syrian population and pick up where they left off.

What U.S. politician wants to be on record supporting Obama’s disaster in the making? Even Republicans are content to let the ISIS saga play out for a few months before signing onto any proclamations of war. Verbally, conservatives indicate that they are in favor of aggressive action against ISIS, but they would rather not be labeled warmongers shortly before voters go to the polls.

Regardless of one’s perspective on the air strikes, we should demand that Congress men and women take a stand and vote to support the president or not. Our soldiers and fighter pilots must be scratching their heads about the ambivalent attitude of our leaders, while they are in harm’s way. But it’s politics, all the time in America.

The wisdom of Obama’s decisions is another issue. Most Americans agree that Arabs should be cleaning up their own problems. Why the hell is America spending its money and blood, while the Saudis and Iranians sit on the sidelines and pontificate about American aggression, values and lifestyles? Given this state of affairs, the least the U.S. should do is be sure that ISIS is a real threat to our national security.

It’s easy to be skeptical about this when most experts say ISIS is not a national security threat, and suddenly a new Al Qaeda group appears out of nowhere that is preparing to attack western airlines and subway systems. Really? Maybe so, but I can’t help thinking that Obama wanted to justify his actions, and he manufactured a national emergency.

Finally, if the U.S. is going to take on the responsibility of killing ISIS fighters, why aren’t we doing it with more enthusiasm? Do we need boots on the ground or not? If we do, and are not willing to shed any more American blood in the region, then why are we bombing at all? There is no endgame except a long, drawn out embroilment with violent and very unhappy people.

I miss the days of decisive leadership. Going into war is serious business, and not doing it using every reasonable amount of firepower available is a bad strategy. Obama should not just dip our feet into the swamp known as the Middle East. The police do not try to wound armed and dangerous attackers. They shoot to kill.

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