Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Doing Jobs Americans Won't Do

Thank God for the Canadians who don't let the reality of providing air support conflict with farcical notions of not having "boots on the ground" in Iraq.

That's how you do ground support:

Canadian special forces in northern Iraq have been helping Kurdish peshmerga fighters by directing coalition airstrikes against Islamic State extremists — work generally considered risky because it means they are close to the battle against the group.

The Canadians' efforts complement those of the United States, which has conducted the vast majority of the airstrikes against the Islamic State group. But in their new role, the Canadians are performing a task that so far the U.S. has been unwilling to do.

Canada's military is small. But they are good. And they aren't stupid.

UPDATE: I guess I can't rule out that we aren't on the ground with non-Kurdish Iraqi forces because of Iraqi faults and not from administration decisions:

Iraqi leaders keep pressing the United States and the other nations supplying air support to do more in the fight against ISIL. The Iraqis are particularly upset at the disproportionate number of air strikes provided to the Kurds defending the Syrian town of Kobane and are not pleased when they are told the reasons why. ... Because of the greater effectiveness and reliability of the Kurds the U.S. trusts them to look after American air control teams sent to work with them, or to provide accurate and reliable information to warplanes overhead when there are no air controllers available. ...

All this is in contrast to most Iraqi troops, and especially Iraqi officers.

But maybe the Iraqis are getting good enough to deserves some support in the near future:

Over the last twenty-four hours, ISIS has been defeated in every front in Iraq in unprecedented way. From Mosul to the north to Anbar to the west and Diyala to the east, Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, Sunni tribes and Kurdish forces were all victorious in battle.

Mind you, this isn't the start of the big offensive--that has to wait until we've trained 9 Iraqi and 3 Kurdish brigades that I assume we'll provide forward air controllers to, for the spring offensives--but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.