Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Begone Puny Mortals!

So President Obama on Monday while in Turkey mocked his critics who think little of his strategy against ISIL by asking if they get better advice than his Joint Chiefs of Staff provide. Oh, please. Stop hiding behind the men in uniform who have to salute and drive on.

Really? Our military advised the president to carry out the current strategy against ISIL? They were given a clean-slate order to come up with the best plan and this is it? I think not. There is no way our military would advise this type of slow-motion, arms-length intervention.

Yes, they wrote the plans for what we are doing. But they knew exactly the parameters of what they would be allowed to carry out. They saluted and drove on to do what they could rather than do nothing while asking to do what they think we must.

And I don't blame them. I don't actually think we should send ground force maneuver units to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIL. Yes, our troops could scatter ISIL and deny them control of their caliphate.

But the Iraq War exposed that even when we go to war against evil with the full support of both parties in Congress, public opinion, and a large coalition, when the going gets tough, the not-so-tough get amnesia.

Let's remember for them, shall we?

Tip to Instapundit.

But then they decided we were "lied" into war, neglecting that they asserted those so-called "lies" as confidently as any hated NeoCon.

So no, I'm not going to hang our troops out to dry by advocating sending them into a ground war that I know they will not be allowed to win--just to die for.

But we can do more. We can bomb more effectively, with forward air controllers and advisors on the ground with Iraqi troops, and with better rules of engagement that emphasize killing the enemy rather than avoiding bad headlines for dead civilians held as human shields.

And remember, unlike before the Iraq War, Iraq is--however imperfectly--on our side in the fight against jihadis rather than being a magnet and training site for them as Iraq was when Saddam Hussein ran the place.

So when once we needed American maneuver units in large numbers to win, now we have the option of using Iraqi units for the bulk of the ground fight. Thank Bush 43 for that.

Thank our current president for letting that success erode so much after 2011.

Despite that own-goal, we can still create mobile forces to lead the advance in Iraq with our air power in support to kill jihadis in large numbers, and allow the less-trained remainder of the Iraqi ground forces to follow and hold terrain taken.

Some Iraqi units will be good enough for this role. Perhaps some allies can be convinced to contribute if they think we are serious about actually winning. And perhaps if all else fails we can organize mercenary battalions to lead parts of the advance.

So the notion that critics want 150,000 American troops inside Iraq is a straw man argument that the president makes. And hiding behind our top military officers as if  our current course was their best advice is nonsense.

Our president has good military advice. The problem is the civilian decision-making above the military.

UPDATE: So, France is our oldest ally and we are both members of NATO. In France's hour of need, the French decide that they'd like an ally at least willing to fight:

France and Russia bombed Islamic State targets in Syria on Tuesday, punishing the group for attacks in Paris and against a Russian airliner that together killed 353 people, and made the first tentative steps toward a possible military alliance.

After the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, John Kerry unleashed James Taylor to let the French know they have a friend. But as everyone knows, if you want a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog. France finds they would rather have an ally, it seems.

UPDATE: It was not a presidential performance we witnessed in Turkey.