MarketWatch reports today that President Barack Obama will exert tight personal control over US airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential sign-off for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.
The requirements for strikes in Syria against the extremist group Islamic State will be far more stringent than those targeting it in Iraq, at least at first. U.S. officials say it’s an attempt to limit the threat the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the Syrian civil war.
So far, Obama has handled the ISIS threat as primarily a political, not a national security, matter. He only spoke to the American people to reveal his strategy to deal with the group once the beheadings of two Americans enraged the public. Obama himself merely offered a brief statement after the beheading of James Foley, and then went straight out to play golf.
Thus far, Obama is publicly limiting the US military role against ISIS to air power and “advisers” on the ground. Those “advisers” will assist the Kurdish peshmerga, the Iraqi military, and even Syrian rebels. Those American “advisers” are said to have no combat role. But the number of those advisers has already grown, from a few dozen early on to nearly 3,000.
Yet the war against the Islamic State shows no sign of progress. Overnight, ISIS captured 16 villages in Syria.
Ever since the 1970s, every time US forces have engaged in any overseas conflict on the ground, Democrats and the media have warned that America could be entering “another Vietnam.” When President George H. W. Bush ordered US troops into Panama to capture dictator Manuel Noriega, some Democrats warned of “another Vietnam.” At the beginning of the 1990-91 Gulf War and at the outset of the 2003 Iraq war, many Democrats warned that America was blundering into “another Vietnam.”
But none of those wars ended up resembling Vietnam. Panama and the first Gulf War featured overwhelming US force that won those wars quickly, with very few US casualties. The 2003 Iraq war versus Saddam Hussein’s military was actually over quickly too, but Islamist insurgencies (some of which were backed by Iran) dragged out the military action and the country’s recovery. By 2009, Iraq was relatively stable and quiescent. More than 3,000 American troops died in the second Iraq war, but that number is dwarfed by the 59,000 killed in Vietnam.
Obama inherited that stable Iraq, and withdrew US forces too quickly. The Islamic State has arisen out of the Syrian civil war and the vacuum of power that Obama left in Iraq.
Now Obama is slow rolling America’s entry into the war versus the Islamic State. His strategy of limiting US forces’ role to “advisers” mirrors how US presidents from Harry Truman to Lyndon Baines Johnson slowly increased America’s military role in Vietnam, especially following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Within two years of that defeat, a small number of American military “advisers” were on the ground in Vietnam training the South Vietnam military. In 1962, there were 12,000 American troops in Vietnam, officially in non-combat roles. Two years later, there were 15,000 American troops in Vietnam.
I think John Hinderaker has accurately identified Obama’s ISIS strategy:
Kick the ISIS can down the road so it doesn’t cost Dems this November.
Isn’t the next election all Obama ever cares about?
When you look for passion from Obama doesn’t it mostly come when he opines about Republicans?
He sure was a cold fish about ISIS cutting off the heads of Americans!
Ramirez’ cartoon accompanying John’s short explanation hits it out of the park.
Let me get this straight…….we have a community organizer and general failure taking “personal control” of airstrikes??? What could go wrong!! Fake it til you make it????
OK, who didn’t see this coming?
Just like the Baathists did in Saddam’s iraq.
Just like the Taliban did when we were there in Afghanistan.
Just like al Qaeda did in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Just like all Islamic militants do everywhere when faced with death from the sky.
Oh, and BTW, Putin’s nuclear-armed bombers are buzzing NATO countries all over Europe.
I bet he’s not looking for terrorists, either.
I remember a former tail gunner who flew a milk run to qualify for combat pay, who was in the White House and directing troop movements in IndoChina down to the squad level, fire team placements were beneath his dignity. There was a lot of stupidity in that war, but it trickled down from the White House.