By Sal Bommarito
One of the biggest announcements by our government about the ISIS imbroglio was made this past week. This quote is from a New York Times article published on Saturday: “The American official coordinating the international coalition . . . said that the Iraqi military would not be ready for a campaign to retake Mosul . . . for as much as a year.” Mosul is one of the largest cities in Iraq; it’s now occupied and controlled by ISIS.
The Iraqis are not capable of providing effective ground support according to Retired General John R. Allen, the man Secretary of State John Kerry selected to lead the anti-ISIS coalition (presumably with the president’s endorsement). So much for the coalition’s dependence on local forces to mop up after the bombing ends. The General indicated that it might take up to a year for the Iraqis to achieve readiness. The U.S. has been in Iraq for about a decade, and the army trained by American soldiers was not capable of defending its country from ISIS. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking that Gen. Allen can do it in less than a year with other U.S. troops.
We should be curious why this revelation took so long to be announced by the administration. The Iraqi army failed to stop ISIS earlier in the year and was devastated by widespread desertions. There was no reason to believe this army was ready to play a major role in the U.S. operations against the terrorists.
What other stunning revelations will be forthcoming from the president? Here are some items that might become reality after the impending elections:
• The president has changing his battle plan and will send ground troops to Iraq, over and above the current troops present that are advising Iraqi forces. So far, members of the military complex are nearly unanimous about the need for experienced and well-trained troops to root out ISIS, after it hunkers down in populated areas to avoid coalition bombs. Bombs can be effective in urban areas only if collateral damage is acceptable. Collateral damage is not and should not be acceptable to the U.S.
• The air support provided by U.S. allies is a mere pittance of the total bombing sorties. Every country wants to look strong at home by participating against the dreaded ISIS forces, but only with minimal risk and minimal expense, which the U.S will assume, naturally.
• President Obama is negotiating a deal with the Iranians, in which they would assist the coalition against ISIS in exchange for leeway relating to their nuclear program and a halt to economic sanctions. This contingency is the most dangerous course of action the president could take. Iran is the ringleader of many terrorist operations in the region. It will use its newfound nuclear capability to threaten Israel, Sunni regimes and the U.S.
• The bombing will go on indefinitely. If the coalition is unsuccessful in its mission to stop ISIS, and the U.S. will not deploy ground troops, what other alternatives exit for the coalition than to keep bombing?
• Peace in Iraq is becoming more remote. If ISIS is defeated, sectarian violence will resume. If this is the case, one may ask why the U.S. is invading Iraq one more time without a clear and achievable mission.
• The war is going extend past the next U.S. presidential election. The new president will inherit Obama’s war, just as Obama inherited Bush’s Iraq war. A change in American leadership could bring another abrupt change in U.S. policy in the Middle East further diminishing the prospects for peace.
• The U.S. does not have the fortitude to be a world leader ready to combat extremists as they arise across the globe. Bombing from 64,000 feet is the only form of war that Americans approve of. Unfortunately, it is but one element of a much broader response that needs to be employed to fight terrorism.
Americans should be concerned that they are not being told the whole story about the ISIS crisis and the grand plan of our commander-in-chief. Shortly after the mid term elections, we will probably be told of more menacing contingencies. In the meantime, Americans will have to vote without all facts they should have to make a good decision on Election Day.