A lot has been said this past week about the Iraqi forces and their will to fight ISIS given their humiliating capitulation in Ramadi. The Joint Chief said as much in a press conference which apparently offended Iraq to the point we had to send Joe Biden in to apologize for calling a spade a spade. Personally I think we would have been better off doubling down on that claim until Iraq got Joe Pesci style angry. Maybe then, just then, they might have a little fight in them. So you hear me Mr. Iraqi Prime Minister? In Goodfellas fashion, I’m telling you to get your freaking shoe shine box. Now go Pesci or go home.
When it comes to America and its will to fight, it is really more of a philosophical question rather than one of courage. So despite my fear this will turn into partisan bickering, I ‘m going to take a leap of faith on the fans of Unprecedented Mediocrity to have this discussion with you. Is the current strategy on combatting ISIS a good one? Simple question with no easy route to the answer.
Mellow Out First
Look, I am getting ready to talk about Obama and Bush while asking some powerful questions. If you are one of those people who can’t read the word Obama or Bush without exploding in a tirade of partisan horror, then you might want to have a drink first. I am not here to bash Obama or Bush. Bush made bad decisions too as did Clinton, Daddy Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, and maybe even as far back as Taft’s decision to eat 30 donuts a day for Breakfast. He was a fatty, look it up in your history books.
So, for a brief moment in time, I want to pretend that we can ask bipartisan questions about philosophy and policy. Thus, as the current President, does Obama have the philosophical will to initiate a new ground campaign in Iraq? For better or worse, he has a different view than his predecessor and he owns the decisions of his administration, not the prior.
Now breathe, stay on target, stay on target, not partisan ranting here so if you are in Oregon or Washington and you must take some legal herb to keep your cool, well, who am I to judge. Just keep it together for a moment. I’m just saying they are different. So let’s debate the policy rather than the men for just once please?
The United States Military
Now, there is no question that our military has the will to fight. For us, War is kind of like Green Eggs and ham. We would War on a boat and we would War with a goat, on a train, in the rain, we will War anywhere, we do we do like, Green Eggs and Ham. It is kind of our thing.
Without a doubt, the United States Military in force would dispatch ISIS with little problem. They exist because we currently allow it and have yet to garner the national will for a full invasion. Even for Veterans who don’t want to be in another ground war in Iraq, it is very hard to watch ISIS run rampant. There are legitimate horrors and evils being committed by these monsters and we in the military have a natural disdain for the strong preying on the weak.
So, at Obama’s disposal is a military that is both capable and willing to do what must be done. The question is, does he and America have the will to send them? Air Strikes are ongoing, but it appears the rules of engagement are so strict, it can take up to an hour for our pilots to gain approval for a strike. Despite the widespread presence of ISIS, the United States is averaging 14 air strikes a day in the region. And while we have made some advances, I worry that our lack of punch is actually emboldening ISIS and others extremist groups.
A grown man might be afraid of a fight, but when he gets hit in the face and realizes it doesn’t hurt as bad as he thought, he gains courage. Is this what we are doing to ISIS? Have we opted to slap when we should have hit and they no longer fear the might of the United States Military at a strategic level. It’s a fair question people.
A Monopoly on Fear
This is my biggest problem with this long play strategy in that we are allowing ISIS to have a monopoly on fear. ISIS runs rampant because they strike fear into the hearts of their enemy. All I am saying is shouldn’t ISIS fear the sky right now? Should they not be looking up at every second waiting for death from above? With only 14 airstrikes a day across a region the size of Syria and Iraq, I think we are striking more the mild apprehension one gets when a cop gets behind them on the road than all out your world is about to end fear. The single file column below doesn’t look to worried about the mighty air power of the United States.
Obama has chosen the long sustained fight that will span years rather than months. Perhaps history will prove him wise. Or perhaps every day that potential jihadist watch these men survive and fight the American military, their courage grows. ISIS is successful at recruiting because they make it look like they are winning and everyone wants to join the winning team. Fear is real and never more potent then at the begining of a war. In World War 2, it was reported that Americans were apprehensive about fighing Germans over Italians in North Africa. Yet, as Americans went from fresh recruits to hardened Veterans, by 1944 we were storming the beaches of Normandy and taking the fight right to the heart of Germany itself. Fear is a human condition and right now it is being leveraged on behalf of ISIS rather than Americans.
The premise of Shock and Awe in 2003 was to make the enemy see the futility of fighting. I was there in 2003 Iraq and no one wanted to mess with the United States Marines. Yet, as the war dragged on and they realized Americans were just flesh and blood like them, they got bolder and bolder. In 2003 Iraq, we drove the streets with unarmored vehicles and sometimes one vehicle at a time. By 2005, you couldn’t drive the streets without a full convoy of armor. I fear the long approach to fighting ISIS could only embolden more to fight on as much as I fear a protracted ground war could get out of control. Tough questions that need to be asked.
Is a long slow campaign creating hardened enemy Veterans instead of dead bodies? What say you world? You get extra points if you can type your comment without mentioning either President or political party. Long slow war versus immediate full scale ground war that would end it by Thanksgiving? Speak your mind planet Earth.
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