By Sal Bommarito
No doubt, decisions by presidents in times of war are very difficult and stressful. Determinations to use force against enemies and to deploy American troops must be carefully considered. Presidential actions in extreme circumstances are the ones that are judged most critically. Some of our past leaders have scored well with historians and others have not. President Obama has been engaged in a life and death struggle in the Middle East for an extended period of time. How will he remembered?
Up to this point, the president has kept the U.S. relatively un-engaged in the war against ISIS, opting only to drop bombs and train troops. He stated from the outset of the conflict that he expected Arabs to deal with their own problems. Specifically, Obama has forbidden the use of American ground forces. The result has been virtually no American casualties, but that’s where the good news ends.
The list of poor decisions by President Obama is long and very disconcerting to many Americans. They believe ISIS is a dangerous threat to world peace and a destabilizing force in the region. Also, the insurgents have proven that they can raise funds, recruit new fighters and export terror to other parts of the Middle East and the western world.
A list of American missteps includes the following:
- The president believes ISIS can be defeated with bombs. This has been proven to be untrue.
- By eschewing greater firepower and the use of ground forces, the president has unnecessarily extended the ISIS war and has given the enemy a chance to grow and become more destructive.
- The U.S. has yielded leadership in the fight against ISIS to Iran, our greatest enemy in the Middle East.
- Negotiating a nuclear treaty at this time with Iran has been alarming to Israel and all Sunni countries in the region. Also, negotiations continue as mass demonstrations led by the chief Ayatollah include chants of “Death to America.”
- The plight of 6 million Arabs who have been dislocated or have become refugees is not even on the president’s agenda. Many Americans believe that epic instances of humanitarian strife are justification for the use of extraordinary force.
- The Shiite/Sunni feud in Iraq has not been defused by American diplomacy. Sunnis have not and will not be at the negotiating table in post-ISIS Iraq. The result will be yet another civil war.
- The murderous Bashar al-Assad of Syria has been given a reprieve despite hundreds of thousands of deaths and other crimes against humanity. The latest is the use of chlorine gas against his opponents.
- The president still refuses to acknowledge the role of “Islamic” radicals in global terrorism. It’s not just semantics; it’s an important issue.
- The American coalition has been benign and ineffective. Arabs have the most to lose. Yet Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran have played relatively minor roles until this time. Why hasn’t the U.S. been able to encourage more support from these nations?
- Obama took troops out of Iraq prematurely enabling ISIS to flourish will little resistance.
- The president has not worked to create a consensus in his government for actions he has taken in the war with ISIS. For the first time in many years, Congress has openly expressed skepticism regarding a sitting president’s ability to prosecute a war.
Historians will not treat this president with any admiration. He has become a lone wolf in his own country.