By Sal Bommarito
It’s now abundantly clear that President Obama’s existing plan to defeat ISIS has no chance to be successful. The terrorist group is becoming stronger every day, as every loser from across the globe is trying to enlist with ISIS. The renegades are disrupting Iraq and Syria and threatening to spread their terror to neighboring states. Will Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey soon be targets of ISIS? Most likely, if the war continues on its current trajectory.
How can a raggedy group of malcontents survive the onslaught of the greatest military power on Earth? It’s simple. The U.S. is attempting to fight a war exclusively with air attacks. Yet, it cannot be won without boots on the ground. It’s not like generals and an assortment of military experts have not warned the president. In the Middle East, it’s easy to hide among innocents to escape bombs from an attacker that eschews collateral damage. Still, the president has showed his inexperience by ignoring his military advisors.
Exacerbating the problem is that nations who have the most to lose are not joining the fight in a meaningful way. They expect the U.S. to do their dirty work, assume all the risks and spend all the money. It’s insane that the nations surrounding Iraq and Syria have not offered to use all their military might to fight ISIS. By acting irrationally, they are ignoring an existential threat. The cat and mouse game that the U.S. is playing with ISIS fighters will not cripple the insurgents; they will ultimately win.
Obama’s reluctance to put boots on the ground is admirable in one sense. Understandably, he does not want to entangle the U.S. in another Middle East war. He wants to be able to disengage whenever it suits him.
The problem is that it is inane to think that the war will be won without foot soldiers. Realistically, none are forthcoming in the near future. The Turks are adamant against attacking ISIS fighters approaching their border. Iraqi forces are a farce. They deserted the previous time they faced off against ISIS. The rebels in Syria are not going to use all their resources to fight ISIS when their primary objective is to unseat President Bashar al-Assad. Also, it is conceivable that this latter group may someday use weapons the U.S. supplies against the coalition.
The president is not being honest with Americans, Congress, his allies, his generals or himself. If Obama intends to win this war without expanding the U.S. role, he must be more aggressive with his allies. The U.S. should no longer act as an unpaid mercenary for Middle East despots. It should not fight for the sovereignty of others unless they take a substantive role in the hostilities.
So what should Obama do? The president ought to set a time limit to the bombing. If increased support is not provided by Middle East nations in the form of ground troops, Obama should unilaterally end the U.S. mission and let the chips fall where they may.