By Sal Bommarito
To this point, the Obama administration has not received accolades for its leadership in the war against ISIS. The most obvious observation is that ISIS is winning the battle opposing the U.S., Iraq, Syria and the coalition.
Obama said he would degrade and defeat ISIS. This stated objective is impossible without ground support of U.S. airstrikes. Everyone around the world knows this to be the case. Yet, the Obama administration has vetoed the use of U.S. ground forces and, in spite of overwhelming skepticism, still contends that Iraqis will be able to defend their country and “moderate” rebels in Syria can overcome ISIS. Ironically, American generals are chiming in and indicating that neither of the aforementioned groups will be able to do the job. If this is true, how will the coalition bring down ISIS?
The coalition force is a sham; the U.S. is conducting most of the airstrikes and is spending the most money trying to defend Arab nations. Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. to come to the rescue of the Middle East without assurances that Arab nations will participate to the full extent of their capabilities, militarily and financially?
The U.S. went to war without an achievable mission. Most Americans believed that the U.S. would never become enmeshed in another war that has no reasonable short-term endgame. No longer would America put its soldiers in harm’s way and commit hundreds of billions of dollars unless our national security was at risk. Supposedly, we learned an important lesson from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq that extended decade-long wars, which drain our resources, should be avoided. Obama’s decision to move forward was no different than the false pretenses for invading Iraq over a decade ago; that action has not been fully remedied to this day. The president should tell us how the war with ISIS is going to end. Are we going to continue bombing forever?
Obama is not a wartime president. He is too ambivalent and reluctant, and does not accept the fact that radical Islam is the enemy of all non-Arab nations. Moreover, it is clear that he frequently does not implement plans proposed by his military experts. Our leader is living in a dream world in which America is expected to solve all problems and protect downtrodden people around the world. The ISIS crisis is not a civil rights controversy that can be rectified with passive resistance. It is a long-term, bloody civil war that is going to spread throughout the Middle East.
Exasperating this pathetic moment in American history is the loss of American credibility and leadership. Historically, the U.S. was able to reason with other nations in time of duress. We were able to convince our allies that we had no hidden agenda and that we wanted peace. Today, the U.S. is reviled at the United Nations, and we no longer have effective working relationships with other major powers with the exception of Great Britain. Our former allies in Europe and Asia doubt American resolve and competence.
But even more important, as we face down ISIS, the Arab nations relish our military ineffectiveness even as they demand that we protect them. It is infuriating to many Americans that unqualified cooperation is not forthcoming from Arab allies even as we bomb ISIS. If the U.S. is all in in the fight against ISIS, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and all the other Arab nations better be prepared to fight and provide ground support and financial assistance. Anything less than their full cooperation will enable ISIS to commandeer more land and oil.