Despite Its Success, ISIS Is Not Mythical

By Sal Bommarito

The battle against ISIS has become a psychological conundrum according to an article in the New York Times. Maj. General Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations in the Middle East, has been chosen to determine, “What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?”

 

The article elevates ISIS to a mythical status. I am sure the terrorists are enjoying such notoriety as a growing world power.

 

Global terrorism should be analyzed on the basis described in the story. But, attributing such ideological prowess to a rag tag group of misfits is overkill. They are driven by a much more basic and primal instinct.

 

ISIS is a “hybrid” organization, a combination terrorist and conventional army that Nagata indicated “We do not understand. . . , and until we do we are not going to defeat it.” I am skeptical that the compulsion of ISIS is so complex to comprehend. Remember, it does not represent a nation and has no citizens. It is an illegal group of renegades stealing land and oil from sovereign states.

 

Frankly, if General Nagata were assessing the worldwide Al Qaeda threat or some huge terrorist conspiracy that had affiliates throughout the world, his mission would be more pertinent. ISIS, currently, is in only one location. The insurgents are a gang of misfits whose cohesiveness is based upon unhappiness, religious fanaticism and disenfranchisement, hardly characteristics that should generate horror or be the basis of a new nation. As far as anyone knows, ISIS wants to establish a religious caliphate amidst two countries, period.

 

The article indicates that the Obama administration is beginning to believe that Iraqi forces together with coalition airstrikes have “blunted ISIS’ momentum.” In the same paragraph, the Times writes “Other officials [unnamed] acknowledge [the Iraqis and the airstrikes] have barely made a dent in the larger campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.”

 

So, which is it? I think Obama is dreaming if he believes the war is progressing well, and so do others, who are obviously concerned about going on the record. ISIS is growing and prospering because the U.S. and surrounding Arab countries are not taking the fight to the invaders on the ground.

 

ISIS has done a remarkable job “controlling” those who it overwhelms. But, there is no secret to its strategy- ISIS employs cruel and unusual methods to frighten those it conquers. Dissenters are executed immediately. Women and children are taken from their homes, destroying family groups. Those who do not convert to ISIS’ brand of religion are murdered. Brutal force enabled Saddam Hussein to live in relative tranquility without effective opposition during his reign, and the same tactics are working for ISIS.

 

The article refers to “psychological tactics” such as terrorizing populations, religions and sectarian groups. True, ISIS creates fear in the hearts of the conquered, steals their possessions, destroys their families and demands uncontested loyalty. The alternative is death. I’m puzzled why these tactics are enigmatic to U.S. military officials.

 

One issue that needs more thought is whether ISIS is “territorial or ideological” or both. If this can be determined, it will greatly enhance the success of the coalition forces. If “branching out” to other Arab countries such as “Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Libya” is a priority, coalition tactics and the involvement of these nations must be more intense. Ironically, Iran was not mentioned as a target, which I believe is a serious oversight.

 

The question of what makes ISIS so alluring and magnetic is critical. Studying the reasons why terrorists groups are attractive should be a high priority. Nevertheless, the universe of discontented and disenfranchised people around the world will be fertile ground for ISIS propaganda. Many of these people have little to live for, and would be thrilled to be associated with an anti-establishment group of troublemakers. Social media makes recruiting and distribution of propaganda much more productive.

 

The Times article piqued my interest. Yet, I think the U.S. is unnecessarily elevating the power of ISIS. The jihadists seem all-powerful because a capable, enthusiastic and well-armed fighting force has not confronted them to this point. If the U.S. and its allies piece together a ground force, ISIS will prove it is not so invincible. I am at sea why the president has not adopted this perspective.

 

Save The Women And Children From ISIS

By Sal Bommarito

The political and military actions of ISIS warrant the strongest response from Arab nations and their allies. Unfortunately, the response from the Arab world towards the insurgents has been restrained. These nations are concerned about being ISIS’ next target and/or suffering reprisals from citizens and provocateurs sympathetic to the ISIS caliphate.

 

Rightly so, the U.S. has joined the fray. However, the response by American military forces has been greatly hampered by the horrible experiences of the last 13 years in the region. And so, the U.S. has decided to only drop bombs on ISIS, less than half of which actually hit targets. America is understandably anathema to putting foot soldiers in harm’s way.

 

I believe that the humanitarian consequences of the ISIS conflict are reason to escalate the retort by all civilized nations. It is time for the coalition opposing ISIS to step up the fight and save millions of people from this growing calamity.

 

The New York Times reported that a 14 year old Syrian boy, named Usaid Barho, was forcefully recruited by ISIS to be a suicide bomber. A few days ago, he walked into a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, unzipped his jacket to reveal a vest of explosives, and surrendered himself to the guards.

 

Usaid’s decision to volunteer as a suicide bomber, rather than a foot soldier, was based upon his belief that he could escape before detonating a weapon. He is now in the custody of local Iraqi authorities.

 

This episode personifies the deteriorating humanitarian situation resulting from ISIS’ cruelty and aspirations to establish a caliphate at any cost. There have been regular reports of ISIS insurgents wantonly murdering Shiites, moderate Sunnis, Christians and other religious group members. Additionally, thousands of women and children have been kidnapped. The women are raped, sold as slaves and/or gifted to ISIS fighters. The young males are forced to become Sunni and used for the purposes mentioned above.

 

Millions of Syrians and Iraqis have lost their homes and a huge number have become refugees seeking protection in neighboring countries. The political, social and financial impact on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and others has been devastating. Many refugees will suffer difficult living conditions and a harsh winter in the coming months.

 

The question America faces is should its response to ISIS be more aggressive? As mentioned, our leaders, for some reason, seem content with the direction of the war. I disagree, and I’d bet the U.S. military disagrees, but this is a separate debate. Perhaps our leaders are running scared from the political ramifications of supporting the deployment of ground troops.

 

I think the death and displacement of millions of Arabs should trump political considerations. Do any of our leaders have the courage to do the right thing?

 

America has a moral obligation, as it does in all cases of genocide, disease and famine. In most of these situations, crimes against humanity are internal affairs, or conditions that result from natural disasters.

 

In Iraq and Syria, an invasion is underway. Iraq is an ally, so our military has responded. But, it is insufficient considering the implications of the ISIS war beyond political boundaries and government control.

 

The U.S. government should not stand by and allow hundreds of thousands to die and millions to suffer. The ISIS hostilities can be resolved in a relatively short period of time with a greater commitment by the U.S. Rebuilding is another story; the U.S. should avoid getting swallowed up in another country-building adventure.

 

Many lives are at stake and ISIS is growing stronger. The U.S. should act now.

 

 

 

Will Jordan Be Able To Gain Release Of Its Pilot?

By Sal Bommarito

Yesterday, I posted an essay that addressed the downing of a Jordanian jet by ISIS fighters. There is no doubt that the jihadists have captured the pilot, Lt. Moaz al-Kassasbeh, but the U.S. military Central Command is refuting the claim that the jet was shot down by ISIS with a missile. Rather, the Command is suggesting the jet had mechanical problems. The story is being widely reported, but I have used the Wall Street Journal as the source of this essay.

The pilot was flying a mission over Syria attempting to attack ISIS terrorists. Jordan is part of the coalition fighting against the marauders and providing intelligence and logistical support. Since August, the coalition has conducted more than 830 airstrikes

As with most Arab coalition members, Jordan has not overly publicized its alliance with the U.S. fearing reprisals from terrorists and from citizens who are sympathetic to ISIS. It is taking a strong stance in its efforts to recover the pilot, and playing upon the pilot’s Muslim background along with the captive’s family. Yet, a Jordanian minister stated, “We have made sacrifices in that past, and will continue to do so for the sake of our country.” This implies that Jordan will be aggressive if necessary.

Americans hope that the Jordanian tactics are effective, but U.S. officials are “extremely worried about the pilot’s fate.” A U.S. defense official said, “All of us are very familiar with ISIL’s barbarity.”

The bigger issue is how the Arab world is going to react to the capture of Arab fighters working side by side with the U.S., especially if ISIS reacts to this publicity in a repugnant manner towards their current captive. It is absurd to assume that there will be no casualties in a conflict of this magnitude, even if most of the hostilities are conducted from 20,000 feet.

It’s painful to speculate about the fate of Lt. Kassasbeh, given the treatment of former prisoners of the terrorists. If ISIS reacts similarly, the outrage could materially affect the participation of Arab coalition partners. Frankly, up to this point, the slaughter of innocent Arabs by ISIS and the number of refugees and homelessness resulting from its invasion of Iraq and Syria has not been enough impetus to influence Arab nations to materially increase their support of the effort against ISIS.

 

The Impact Of ISIS Shooting Down A Jordanian Jet

By Sal Bommarito

ISIS militants shot down a Jordanian F-16 fighter jet over Syria and captured the pilot of the plane. The story is reported in the New York Times.

The event is noteworthy for a number of reasons. The jet was the first coalition plane to be shot down in the ISIS conflict. And, the Jordanian pilot is the first military person to be captured by the jihadists. Also important is that ISIS reported the capture of the pilot on social media, which will bolster its propaganda campaign and recruitment. And, ISIS stated that it used an antiaircraft missile to down the plane, another first. The U.S. military command has refuted the missile attack.

The command indicated that “most of the [airstrikes] have been carried out by the United States, with its partners often playing a supporting role.” Coalition partners include Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. None speak openly about their roles fearing retribution from ISIS and/or “domestic opposition from citizens who sympathize with the extremists.”

The Times article indicated, “It remained unclear whether the capture [of the pilot] would affect the participation of Jordan and other Arab countries in the fight against ISIS.”

The event is a developing tragedy even though it involves a single Arab pilot and one aircraft. The symbolism of a terrorist organization shooting down a jet plane will weigh heavily in every Arab country participating in the coalition. Social media will enable ISIS to milk the event and create more anxiety in the region.

The irony is that the U.S. is doing most of the dirty work and the participation of Arab countries on the ground and in the air is negligible. And, they are the states most likely to be attacked if ISIS grows and becomes more powerful.

From my perspective, there continues to be many negative signs relating to the ISIS war. The militants have commandeered a huge swath of land, and local Sunni tribes have not been willing or able to repel the fighters. ISIS is clearly digging in and avoiding serious damage from U.S. airstrikes. This conflict is not heading in a direction that will bring peace in the foreseeable future. Exacerbating the situation was a comment by a senior U.S. commander this week indicating that the war could last another three years. The U.S. really needs to reconsider the present battle strategy.

Iraq Remains Highly Sectarian

By Sal Bommarito

A New York Times article brilliantly portrays the challenges facing Iraq as it tries to unify the nation while fending off ISIS jihadists. The author offers a bleak prognosis as Iraqis have not adopted a nationalistic fervor and remain loyal to their religious sects and tribes.

The Iraqi government recognizes that solidarity is critical to the survival of Iraq. And so, it has ordered that non-Iraqi flags be removed from public display and replaced with the Iraq flag. The order has been ignored universally by Shiites, Kurds, militias and, of course, ISIS. This defiance has “aggrieved” the Sunni community and, frankly, has tempered its desire to fight ISIS.

“Secondary identities- cultural, religious , our ethnicity- have prevailed.” Some other notable quotes in the piece include, “We don’t feel like we have a country that will defend us and protect us and love us.” “Each and every one of us has forgotten his country, and started thinking about his tribe and sect.” “Everyone is crying for his sect or faith, and you rarely find anyone who cries for Iraq.”

How does a dearth of nationalism affect the future of Iraq? The country cannot survive without the help of outsiders unless the citizens of Iraqi morph into a cohesive group with aspirations beneficial to their country; at this point, most Iraqis emphasize religious affiliation over country. Unfortunately, pervasive religious interference will have a debilitating effect on Iraq. It is through religion that fanaticism flourishes. It is difficult to imagine an Iraq that is not fraught with sectarian violence encouraged by insurgents from other Arab countries.

Iraqi officials have finally recognized that American insistence on sectarian cooperation is essential to unifying the country and degrading the ISIS threat. This means that the Shiite-controlled government must share leadership with Sunnis and Kurds. Shiites must forgive the oppression that was foisted upon them by Saddam Hussein. Additionally, precious natural resources must be allocated so all regions of the country can prosper economically. This entire process has been excruciatingly slow to develop.

One person interviewed in the article indicated that Iraq is not ready to be unified implying that sectarian violence will trump nationalism for the foreseeable future. This in turn will afford ISIS an ever-greater opportunity to build its caliphate when the U.S. walks away from the conflict.

Ironically, the success of the war and the rejection of ISIS are inextricably related to Iraq’s ability to muster a strong military to provide security for all Iraqis and fight ISIS on the ground. This is a pipedream in the minds of many observers including the author of this essay.

President Obama, The Lame Duck President

By Sal Bommarito

I’m glad to see an article in the New York Times that supplements my last post relating to the performance of President Obama.

The focus of the story was Obama’s lame duck status. The authors of the op-ed piece have implicitly given up on the possibility of Obama being named the luckiest president (Washington), most imaginative (Theodore Roosevelt), most intelligent (Jefferson), best at handling Congress (Lyndon B. Johnson) and  best president (Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt share this honor). The liberal media continues to search for new ways to prop up Obama’s pathetic legacy so it has invented a new presidential category “The Best Lame Duck President.”

One of the first comments in the op-ed was “Obama is making a run for [the best lame duck president]. Since the midterm elections, in his first month and a half as a lame duck , Mr. Obama has taken dramatic action on immigration, climate change and now, formalizing relations with Cuba.” All this is true; it is dramatic, but many Americans have issues with the actions because they feel they are  unwise, ill conceived and/or they have not been endorsed by Congress.

How can presidential actions like granting amnesty to five million illegal aliens be a great action if Congress is not involved in the decision? Understand, I am in favor of immigration reform and would welcome a well-thought out, bipartisan plan to assimilate these people. But, the president is greatly increasing the authority of the executive branch by initiating a new law without  Congress. This is quite different than establishing regulations to make changes to existing laws. Moreover, the plight of 10-15 million illegals is a national issue that will have widespread implications politically, financially, socially and practically.

The basis of a strong lame duck president is that he or she has little or nothing to lose since this status occurs after midterm elections and it has no effect on the president’s political future. Should a president who no longer has skin in the game be able to make unilateral decisions that could impact the country for generations? I say emphatically, no.

President Obama was unable to sell his ideology via traditional constitutional means for six years. My previous post reviews the circumstances involved in detail. Obama was somehow incapable or unwilling to compromise with the opposition, as if he was the first president that had to deal with a hostile minority.

Obama may do irreparable harm with his new found power. Presidential  edicts  relating to climate change and Cuba have been severely criticized. A full blown debate in which all sides can express their opinions is what our forefathers would prefer rather than all decision made by one man.

How Do You Judge Obama’s Performance?

By Sal Bommarito

The liberal press is attempting to come to the rescue of President Obama. I was shocked to read one op-ed piece in a progressive newspaper that lauded the president’s new attitude and determination to get things done. The big question is, where was he during the past six years?

 

Obama has been strangely detached from a number of major events domestically and around the world. He has little time or inclination to get his hands dirty on mundane issues like unemployment, human rights violations and terrorism.

 

Obama has always been fixated on his legacy and personal ideology. His initial focus was 30 million Americans who did not have medical insurance. Obama ignored the cries of millions of workers who were losing their jobs and unable to make mortgage payments. He wanted Americans to look at him as the next coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 

The problem with the plan to help the uninsured was that the U.S. could not afford a new multi-trillion dollar entitlement. The national deficit was soaring and the financial markets were cranky. Astute Republicans kept saying over and over that limited resources should be used to elevate the economy. But, Obama was more interested in medical insurance.

 

The president did not even attempt to work with the minority party to enact bipartisan solutions to contemporary problems. In fact, he treated those on the other side of the aisle as his inferiors and made many enemies. Obama was in office only a few months and infuriated about 240 members of the Senate and House of Representatives. He didn’t even give the opposition a chance to offer any alternatives. With a filibuster-proof Senate and a majority in the House, the Affordable Care Act was rammed down the throats of the American people.

 

A short time later, the president lost his advantage in the Senate when Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts for Teddy Kennedy’s seat. Ever since then, it’s been downhill for the president politically. The Senate minority was able to filibuster every significant proposal by the president and Democratic senators. Then, Republicans won back the House, and now Republicans have a majority in the Senate beginning in the New Year. Think of it, Obama started with every branch of government under his control, and in six years he lost two thirds of it.

 

Something must have been wrong with Obama’s performance to piss off the electorate to such an extent. How can so much political carnage occur in such a short period of time? To begin with, Obama has not kept promises he made to American voters before and after he became president. Obamacare has been much less than advertised. In fact, some of the 30 million uninsured didn’t even want to sign up for Obamacare. But, they were forced to participate by law. And, the entitlement cost far more than originally estimated.

 

There are some peculiar issues relating to Obamacare that never seem to get resolved. True, many more people have medical insurance than did not before the law. But, how many are now covered because of an expansion of Medicaid versus new participants in Obamacare? Was it necessary to create a monstrous entitlement when Obama could have helped poor people obtain insurance just by expanding Medicaid? Other unanswered questions relate to the real costs of Obamacare that include cancellations of existing policies that were deemed inadequate, unavailability of preferred doctors under the new program and the institution of harsh terms in Obamacare insurance policies.

 

In the meantime, Obama has been ambivalent about world events. He brought our soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but now he’s redeploying troops back to the region. He realized that George W. Bush’s paranoia about terrorism wasn’t so crazy. Gitmo is still in operation and Obama has become the drone master of the Middle East. His policies have encouraged the proliferation of terror and hatred directed at the U.S.

 

Finally, Obama’s new strategy is to avoid Congress by using presidential resolutions to do important things, really important things. Kings and monarchs, and now Obama, enact laws by edict rather than engaging Congress, which has the constitutional duty to create laws. Who thinks this is a good idea? Do Americans want to diminish the power of Congress and increase the power of the executive branch? Putin is a case in point.

 

Obama’s decision to create immigration laws that will affect five or even ten million undocumented people without concurrence of Congress is outrageous. Conducting military operations throughout the Middle East without congressional endorsement is what dictators do.

 

Obama has hurt America in many ways. Most expected a new age of racial harmony and social change. What we have gotten is greater division between blacks and whites and even greater distance between the affluent and the needy.

Many Unanswered Questions About The ISIS War

By Sal Bommarito

Many concerned Americans believe it is time for President Obama to give us a full accounting of the ISIS situation. Hostilities have dragged on too long without any substantive input from the administration or the Department of Defense.

Here is a list of questions that should be answered by the president and/or his advisers.

 

-What is the present condition of ISIS forces? Are they increasing in size? What types of weapons are they employing?

-Is any outside entity supporting ISIS with weapons, money or personnel?

-What financial resources does ISIS have available? Is it still supporting its operations by commandeering oil and antiquities and selling on the black market?

-Who is leading ISIS? Where are the leaders posted? Is the U.S. attempting to kill commanders?

-How many ISIS fighters have been killed? What equipment has been destroyed? What supply lines have been closed down?

-Where are ISIS fighters located? Are they hiding in populated areas? Can they be killed without massive collateral damage?

-What exactly are our allies contributing to the war? How much money, soldiers, equipment and resources have they provided?

-When will Iran and Turkey fully engage ISIS? Are these countries at risk of an ISIS attack? Do they have the military wherewithal to repel an ISIS invasion?

-How much has the U.S. spent on the ISIS war? How much will be needed to fund the war to its conclusion?

-What is the current mission of U.S. forces? (Note: The original mission to destroy and degrade ISIS does not appear to be attainable based upon current information available.)

-What will happen geopolitically if ISIS is not defeated? Will it form a new nation on Iraq and Syria soil?

-What is the readiness level of the Iraqi military? Will it ever be able to secure the country without U.S. assistance? Will it ever be able to provide ground support needed to root out ISIS?

-Why isn’t the U.S. using ground forces? How is ISIS different from Al Qaeda, against whom the U.S. employed both air power and ground troops?

-How is the war going to end? Who will speak for ISIS?

-Is there any indication of how many Americans and westerners have enlisted with ISIS? Can these people travel freely back to their homelands and other countries? What is the U.S. doing to prevent acts of terror by these individuals?

-Will Congress authorize the war? When will Congress deliberate on the actions taken in Iraq and Syria? Does the president have the power to continue fighting in perpetuity without congressional approval?

-What are the risks of terror operations in America?

It is inexcusable for the president to leave Americans in the dark about such an important moment in history. It is equally outrageous that the press has not pushed harder to obtain more information about the status of the war. The Middle East is about to be redrawn under duress. Yet, the media has not demanded answers to basic questions.

 

 

 

 

The ISIS War Is Not Proceeding As Advertised By Obama

By Sal Bommarito

President Obama has a lot on his mind these days. Clearly, his comfort zone is domestic affairs and not international turmoil based upon his speeches, actions and inaction. The ISIS crisis is not improving; one can be fairly certain of this because the administration would be broadcasting any gains in the conflict.

It is time to review the current situation in Iraq and Syria given that several months have past since the hostilities began. Congress will likely do the same in the new year. There are many things for all peace-loving people to be concerned about.

The U.S. is not degrading ISIS based upon anything reported in the press. There appears to be a stalemate as the insurgents have become more cautious about exposing themselves to air and drone attacks.

Yet, the cruelty and strident attitude of the ISIS murderers continues. From time to time, the media documents atrocities against innocents including women and children.

Millions have become refugees and lost their homes in both Iraq and Syria. The winter months will not be kind to these unfortunate people.

The political, financial and social implications of  the  refugee exodus are placing great strains on Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. As anticipated, the citizens of these states are becoming more critical of the inflow of aliens. The cost of caring for refugees is creating great financial instability.

The impact of air strikes is predictably minor. The marauders are hiding in populated areas, so the risk of collateral damage is great. The radicals are fortifying their positions, so it has been difficult to target them. Exacerbating the situation is the inexperience of Iraqi soldiers acting as air strike controllers. It has been reported that ¾ of the bombing sorties return to base with their ordinance. Either the pilots cannot find acceptable targets or cannot obtain permission to strike. Employing U.S. air strike controllers on the ground would surely rectify this issue.

The Arab countries in the region are being distracted from the ISIS threat by other concerns. This could be a dangerous in the long run because ISIS is positioned to move against Iraq and Syria’s neighbors. Iran and Turkey are the most vulnerable.

Specifically, Iran is principally interested in completing a nuclear deal with the U.S. and others. Turkey wants Bashar al-Assad ousted and is paranoid about Kurdish aspirations for independence. Saudi Arabia is knee deep in the oil price drop together with the sustainability of the country’s regime. And finally, Sunnis and Shiites continue to hate and kill each other.

The U.S. is always looking for an opportunity to ship arms to groups that are friendly towards American interests. Unfortunately, the shipment of weapons to militias throughout the Middle East who are fighting ISIS could backfire, literally. These weapons could very well be sold to terrorists or used to fight American forces.

The issue of ground troops continues to hang over our leaders like a black cloud. No American wants to see our brave soldiers in harm’s way; they have suffered enough over the past decade. No American wants the U.S. to be nation building in Iraq or Syria for an extended period. But, if ISIS is dangerous and poses a national security threat, the U.S. must ensure the group is destroyed using the appropriate amount of force.

How will a ceasefire be negotiated with ISIS? Who is leading the group? When you think about it, the hurdles to peace, just relating to ISIS, are seemingly insurmountable.

There is a growing concern about exportation of terrorism by ISIS to America and other western nations. The threats are growing every day. When Al Qaeda became a huge security risk, the U.S. went to war with aircraft and soldiers. Why is ISIS any different?

 

 

 

Are U.S. Air Strikes Damaging ISIS Forces?

By Sal Bommarito

President Obama defended the tactics he is employing against ISIS in a New York Times article. His speech to personnel at a New Jersey military base was chock full of upbeat assessments and zero facts.

“The United States and its partners [have] undercut the momentum of Islamic extremists.” “Americans will not back down and in the end, ‘we will get you.’” “We have blunted the momentum . . . and put them on the defensive.” I certainly didn’t learn very much about the progress of the war from our leader’s comments.

Americans want to know how many ISIS murderers have been killed and how many are still fighting and slaughtering innocent bystanders. The president said, “This campaign in Iraq will take time.” How much time and how much money? What are U.S. forces doing that will eventually bring ISIS to its knees?

In previous Middle East wars, the Department of Defense gave frequent briefings showing fighter jets and bombers destroying enemy encampments and armed vehicles. The president seems to believe that Americans will accept his vacuous remarks and not ask for more details.

Another story in the same newspaper describes life on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. It unleashes jet fighters to ISIS territory several hundred miles away daily. Two comments in the piece were particularly curious. One was that “Iraqi troops talk by radio to American controllers at Iraqi command centers, who in turn talk to Navy pilots to help pinpoint what to hit.” How productive can the pilots be with such an ineffective procedure?

The answer to this question came a few paragraphs later. “Three out of every four [bombing] missions still return with their bombs for lack of approved targets.” U.S. planes are not dropping 75% of their ordinance because they are unable to find targets. It’s no wonder that the ISIS war is going no place fast.

Later a pilot was quoted, “It wasn’t going so well there for a while, but the momentum seems to have reversed.” What a confidence builder.

I think it’s time the U.S. decided whether it is going to try to win this war, or not. If America does not deploy ground forces and controllers to guide air strikes, we are not going to do very much damage to ISIS and it will persevere.

The ISIS story is getting lost among other things that are happening domestically and globally. America cannot afford to participate in this conflict if it does not do everything possible to kill the enemy, end hostilities and protect our country.