December 28, 2015

The "linguistic contortions" the Obama adminstration uses to "mask" the "boots on the ground" that are the Special Operations forces.

Explained in the NYT:
“You know, when I said, ‘No boots on the ground,’ I think the American people understood generally that we’re not going to do an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert,” [President Obama has] said.

Defense Secretary Carter, in a discussion this month about a new deployment of as many as 200 troops, including scores of Special Operations forces, to Iraq to conduct raids and gather intelligence, spoke in Pentagon jargon. He called it a “specialized expeditionary targeting force.”

Senior American officials disagree on what exactly these troops will be doing, with top aides to Mr. Obama playing down any fighting role. “This is not a combat mission,” one senior administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal directives to the Pentagon. “This is to enable partners.”

But in a conference call with reporters on Dec. 2, Col. Steven H. Warren, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said, “I mean, a raid is a combat operation. There is no way around that. So, yeah, more Americans will be coming here to Iraq, and some of them will be conducting raids inside of both Iraq and Syria.”

84 comments:

coupe said...

Obama ended the war in Iraq. That's what he said, that was his election promise.

Alas, the poor American public are such fools. They are fools twice if they listen to his bullshit now.

I'm calling bullshit on everything he says, until the day they escort him out of Washington DC.

...and take that fucking Biden, fuck-stick Carter, and fat diabetic Mrs Clinton with him...

Levi Starks said...

"I think the American people understand that practically every word that comes out of my mouth is either an exaggeration, falsehood, half truth, obfuscation, or bald/bold faced lie"
Or at least they should by now.

Owen said...

Color me surprised.

Really, this was obviously going to happen. I think the Administration would have done far better just to say, "We won't insult your intelligence. We changed our mind. We'll do whatever we think best. You're welcome."

Gahrie said...

All of this is necessary because President Obama is incapable of saying three words: "I was wrong".

MadisonMan said...

When I hear boots on the ground, I usually think that boots are actually, you know, on the ground.

How very Clintonian of Obama to condescend to explain just exactly what I should be hearing.

traditionalguy said...

That is leading from as far behind as it gets. Under that method Peace arrives when we have nothing left to lose.

Obama creates Power Vacuums for the fun of it. That proves we don't need that military thingee anymore. They would take the credit and not President Zero.

rhhardin said...

In German, "boots on the ground" is "boots on the ground."

Die Erfahrungen aus den jüngsten Einsätzen im erweiterten Aufgabenspektrum zeigen, dass asymmetrische Konflikte nach wie vor "boots on the ground" also Bodentruppen erfordern.

Bodentruppen though suggests "troops on the ground" works.

The Drill SGT said...

The whole Military Public Affairs business has become much much more political since I left the active Army nearly 30 years ago into the reserves. "kinetic operations", "nation building", "overseas contingency operations", "COIN". I'm a firm believer in a muscular diplomatic / military stance for the US, but our Politicians keep lying to the people.

"Gentle people sleep peacefully in their beds, because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".

As a former rough man, speaking for the majority of rough men, we are ready to do that, but we want our leaders to tell us and the people, what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what it may cost in lives and treasure both for doing it and not doing it.

If the need arises that we need to put "boots on the ground", then we want the "Powell Doctrine", not some State Dept Weenie or WH lawyer cutting the force employed in half for some political reason.

"Few Operations fail because of too many troops"

Finally, keep the F'ing Lawyers off the battlefield and the radio net.

traditionalguy said...

During the Vietnam LBJ days , the war on North Vietnam Nam was done over downtown Hanoi with very strict Rules Against Engagement.
The only boots LBJ allowed on that ground were Pilots boots being walked into the Hanoi Hilton.


amr said...

These special forces will wear moccasins to allow Obama to keep his promise.

Hagar said...

The "Powell Doctrine" is actually the "Fuss and Feathers" (Winfield Scott) Doctrine, which worked well for the U.S. Army for 150 years.

Obama cannot very well go public and tell us that what he is attempting to do is not only run U.S. foreign policy, but also everybody else's, especially Iran's.
I think it must be very frustrating for the ayatollahs. They cannot refuse the freebies, but really, they would have preferred to make it by their own efforts.

PB said...

No, we understood that the president's promises mean nothing. His words mean nothing. Just words.

sean said...

Prof. Althouse has said--and her point has considerable merit--that she supported the election of Obama because it would force the Democrats to take ownership of the War on Terror. I don't know if she contemplated that it would also lead to the complete trashing of the War Powers Act. I'm less enthusiastic about the latter result.

cubanbob said...

Is there no end to the idiocy of Obama and the Democrats? If he doesn't want to legitimately claim no American troops are engaged in a ground operation then contract out the job to foreign mercenaries. Otherwise enough with the boots on the ground nonsense.

Drago said...

Gahrie: "All of this is necessary because President Obama is incapable of saying three words: "I was wrong"."

Actually, all he has to say is that conditions on the ground have changed and require new tactics. He wouldn't even have to say he was wrong before, only that conditions now warrant a change in tactics.

But remember, all of obambi's cult-followers have been lying to themselves and the rest of us for the last seven years in saying that the entire world is playing checkers while our earth-bound messiah has been playing n-dimensional chess.

They simply can't bring themselves to back off that rhetorical position though the lunacy of their assertions have been manifest for many years now.

Not that it matters really.

The Obama-ites make proclamations while the rest of the world simply keeps acting in accordance with reality.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Obviously, Obama believes that special forces fight barefoot. Or perhaps they levitate, Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon Style.

Anyway, that means no boots on the ground, right?

Hagar said...

Meanwhile, China continues to build up its stationary carrier bases in the Spratly Islands, protesting U.S. flights touching their claimed boundaries, while provoking the Japanese and others by cruising warships through their touchy zones. And Viet Nam, another hereditary enemy of China, has signed a mutual defense pact, or something, with India, the world's second most populous nation.

Thorley Winston said...

Really, this was obviously going to happen. I think the Administration would have done far better just to say, "We won't insult your intelligence. We changed our mind. We'll do whatever we think best. You're welcome."

Agreed but now instead because of this attempted obfuscation, the Obama administration will probably be compared to administrations who referred to the US soldiers stationed in Vietnam as being “advisors.” Granted many of them were there in such a capacity but most of them weren’t and calling them such became seen as a sign that White House wasn’t being honest with the public on our role in Vietnam which ultimately undermined support for the war. I won't say that's the intention here but I'm hard pressed to think of how someone determined to undermine our strength and role in the world would act differently in these circumstances.

Bay Area Guy said...

Boots on the ground -- a good thing.

Obama declaring there are no boots on the ground -- a stupid thing.

Obama qualifying his declaration that "no boots on the ground" is interpreted not to exclude special force "boots" on the ground -- a lawyerly weasel thing.

John said...

Unless we're just dropping boots in boxes, those boots on the ground have feet in them. American feet, connected to American men somof whom will die.

Fuck you, president Obama and your "boots" on the ground.

John henry

khesanh0802 said...

These guys are going to be in a bullet proof bubble and will only be allowed to travel from their quarters to the mess hall and the shitter. They will not partake in any military activity more strenuous than polishing their brass and boots. They will be issued firecrackers for self defense if that should ever become necessary. There, you see, anyone can describe what Obama's boots on the ground mean. I could be the Pentagon spokesman!

Of course when you get closer to the front lines the description of their activities shifts a bit: "a raid IS a combat action, stupid" says the Colonel.

Those of us with any military experience have been predicting that the role of ground pounders would have to increase if we were to have any success against ISIS. Here we are. If Obama really wanted to succeed he would send in a self -sustaining force like the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force and have done with the creeping addition of troops. Won't happen, but it's what's needed.

Qwinn said...

The thing is, Democrats never have to "take ownership" of anything. Ever. No matter how bloody obvious it is that they do own it. The media will simply lie and blame it on Republicans anyway. When they won't even own Detroit, why would you think they'd ever a dmit to owning something that *did* have a Republican within 100 miles of it in the lasg century?

khesanh0802 said...

@ Hagar...and the Japanese have just passed a budget that ups their military commitment significantly. They are not fools.

Fernandinande said...

“You know, when I said, ‘No boots on the ground,’ I think the American people understood generally that we’re not going to start telling the truth about something for no good reason."

Brando said...

This is the problem with arbitrary policies, such as "no boots on the ground". If it's a bad idea to put American resources there--even one soldier--then don't do it, and defend your decision. If it's a good idea to do so, then do so, and defend it! If some magic number of say 200 or 2,000 or 200,000 troops are necessary and desirable, then defend that.

But when you box yourself in by saying "never put boots on the ground" and then you have to do it but don't want to look like you changed your mind, you succeed in only creating a credibility gap and losing everyone's confidence. This president has long appeared to not have any goals except to hope he can avoid blame for whatever messes ensue. Not the sort of thing that makes you think our foreign policy is in good hands.

Of course, picking Clinton and then Kerry to be his highest ranking foreign policy makers says a lot about this man's judgment.

Biff said...

I have a feeling that Col. Steven H. Warren will never become Gen. Steven H. Warren.

Jason said...

"Just the tip. I promise."

The Drill SGT said...

khesanh0802 said...
Those of us with any military experience have been predicting that the role of ground pounders would have to increase if we were to have any success against ISIS. Here we are.


It could be done without the 2MEF, but it would take new ROE.

1. Arming the Kurds (SF Work)
2. Enough boots on the ground to get laser eyes on targets (SEAL or SF Work) and do some intel raids (any SOF)
3. Taking the F'ing lawyers out of TOCs
4. New ROE that allows us to hurt the Bastards
5. a few Arclights to soften enemy morale :)

CWJ said...

The Drill SGT wrote -

"As a former rough man, speaking for the majority of rough men, we are ready to do that, but we want our leaders to tell us and the people, what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what it may cost in lives and treasure both for doing it and not doing it."

I thought of The Gettysburg Address while reading this.

Owen said...

"Boots on ground" = "red line." Obama is an out-of-the-box thinker who doesn't worry about being boxed-in.

In this he is helped by Special Operations - Narrative Control Group, a/k/a liberal media. They say whatever needs to be said.

The Drill SGT said...

@CWJ said...

TYVM

I wasn't trying to be memorable, just direct and honest, as befits a rough man... :)

JAORE said...

I'm sure the WaPo/NYT/MSNBC headlines will scream "LIAR!" Or at least, "We Won't Be Fooled Again!"

Sure I'm sure.....

Does anyone think Ms. Clinton is better equipped to serve as CIC after seeing her SoS tenure?

Now, is THAT a deal breaker for your vote? Or is vagina the ultimate trump card?

wildswan said...

Obama did the Iraq withdrawal wrong; hence ISIS. Now we have to do the whole Iraq invasion over again but he can't say so. So he puts some guys in harm's way - not enough to do the job and acts as if he's defended the Republic but without being a militarist. No. His mistakes have had the inevitable consequences and he, being of the victim class, cannot be held accountable, cannot even imagine that he is accountable.

Only a white man or a Republican can be held accountable. That's the new normal. Special ops vs. special snowflakes - election 2016.

So if you want accountability or reform in national political life or in foreign policy or in how Obamacare is administered or how pensions are funded or reform in any way - vote Republican or at least vote for a member of the non-victim class, like Jim Webb. The politicians from the victim-class, like Hillary Clinton, will just say they are being picked on when you ask where the money is or where the jobs are or why those people died in San Bernardino or Benghazi. Will ISIS stop if we keep our special snowflake politicians snuggly, comfy warm? Since when did we start working for them?

damikesc said...

I'm calling bullshit on everything he says, until the day they escort him out of Washington DC.

As Instapundit pointed out, EVERY one of his promises comes with an expiration date.

How very Clintonian of Obama to condescend to explain just exactly what I should be hearing.

That's a big reason I don't want a Dem President. It is tiring to try and figure out what they REALLY mean with any utterance they make. For all of his faults, there wasn't a lot of parsing with Bush.

What I want to know is: What kind of foreign policy can we have after Obama? When NOBODY can rely on your word that you will do what you say, you cannot have treaties which makes diplomacy a bigger triviality than usual.

n.n said...

Send in the abortionists led by #CecileTheCannibal. Open several dozen Planned Parenthood clinics. Accompanied by a massive psy-ops women's rites campaign. Import several million aliens or refugees to diversify the ranks. The bastards won't know what hit them.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If you like not having boots on the ground you can keep telling yourself that we don't have boots on the ground.

Not having boots on the ground will save the average American taxpayer almost $2,500 per year, I bet.

khesanh0802 said...

@Drill SGT I agree with you on the Kurds. Absolutely. #3 absolutely as well. I think you are dancing around the edges a bit with points 2,and 4. If you want to hurt them, have sufficient force on hand to let them know you can hurt them. A Division of Marines with accompanying support would get that message across in a hurry, I guess I am, in a way, like Powell: You can't have too much force available. Doesn't mean you have to use it all, but its availability puts a hell of a tactical strain on the opposition. All of a sudden that secure route of retreat becomes a lot more important and a lot more iffy.

(I am not sure Arclights would work in this environment - pretty indiscriminate. I would much prefer observed artillery and air strikes. Of course I am an arty guy!)

At the beginning of this ISIS business I was opposed to our getting involved. I have since become convinced that the danger of allowing ISIS to thrive has become too great to trust that someone else will do the job. Takes us back to the removal of the troops from Iraq. Though the remnant force would have been relatively weak, its presence and the capabilities that it threatened would have had a significant deterrent effect.

Gusty Winds said...

For the people who voted for him, this is the language they want to hear. They want drone killings that they don't have to think about or hear about. That way they can feel like they 'protected' our soldiers from unnecessary combat.

There's a point to that, as historically a lot of it was a waste.

They don't want to hear Obama tell them there are boots on the ground. It gives them plausible deniability, and they can still look down their noses and call everyone else war mongers. Madison is built on this type of thing.

rehajm said...

His first accomplishment as president will be to close Guantanamo.

Drago said...

Qwinn: "The thing is, Democrats never have to "take ownership" of anything. Ever. No matter how bloody obvious it is that they do own it. The media will simply lie and blame it on Republicans anyway. When they won't even own Detroit, why would you think they'd ever a dmit to owning something that *did* have a Republican within 100 miles of it in the lasg century?"

This is one reason why anyone, including Althouse I'm afraid, who claimed that putting the dems in charge would force the dems to "own" something is always laughable on it's face.

The Drill SGT said...

khesanh0802 said..

(I am not sure Arclights would work in this environment - pretty indiscriminate. I would much prefer observed artillery and air strikes. Of course I am an arty guy!)


I said it "could be done without the 2MEF, because using the 2MEF is an example of Obama straw man talk...

"My fellow Americans, my opponents want to deploy large numbers of ground troops such as the 2MEF. This would .... and would help ISIL recruiting....

The only reasonable solution is to stay the course and ... yada yada, do nothing much and let the next POTUS deal with it, cause 4 years isn't enough time...."

What I was proposing was the way we beat the Taliban the first time. e.g. northern Alliance, some SF teams on pony's, lasers and satellite phones.

Me, I'ma tanker. Give me a tank heavy Brigade and I'll give you ISIL and Assad :)

as for arclights, you know that they really would not be inaccurate radar bombing these days, but I think surely there is some target in Syria that deserves some extra heavy loving. Say 3 B52H's dropping 450 500lb bombs from above visual range.

Quaestor said...

Contrary to what appears to be overwhelming evidence Obama is not Orwell's Big Brother.

He's Big Sister.

walter said...

Damn..another distraction from comvbatting our greatest security threat, global ___ing.

jr565 said...

"When I said no boots on the ground I was serious. Those combat forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq will not be wearing boots, per se. Instead they will be cross fits that are part boot and part sneaker combining the durability of a boot and the agility of a sneaker. So, I repeat NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND! And I mean it"

"If you like your non interventionary ME policy you can keep it. Just like your doctor and health plans"

"We need to stop air raiding villages! Instead I propose sending in troops and killing them on the ground"

"my boots on the ground are different than Bush's boots on the ground. When our soldiers shoot them the bullets are actually pleasant as they tear through flesh, as opposed to George bush's bullets which were also filled with racism
And sexism. In no way will this incite jihadism. Unlike trumps call to not let Muslims into the country which most assuredly incites anyone joining Isis"

jr565 said...

Let's suppose he does put boots on the ground in even greater numbers. It's not as if his followers will hold him to his words. And it's not as if the media will really say much about it.
It will be swept under the rug like all his other unkept promises and talking points.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Sean,
"Prof. Althouse has said--and her point has considerable merit--that she supported the election of Obama because it would force the Democrats to take ownership of the War on Terror"

There was no indication, from the Clinton admin through the Bush years, including the Obama campaign, that the Democrats had any willingness to do that. That was always a very obvious pipe dream.

jr565 said...

Remember, Obama, when you were running against McCain (it was a while ago, I admit) and the discussion of withdrawing troops based on artificial timetables came up? McCain argued that we shouldn't withdraw troops until facts on the ground dictated we could remove them. And we shouldn't base withdrawal on artificial timetables that coincided with American election.
Yeah. So, this is why we were having this discussion.
Now, if you are proposing to put people back in, I hope you put enough in to actually achieve an objective and are not just inserting them for political purposes.
Like Rumsfeld, who re left accused of trying to fight the war on the cheap. Always underestimated the number of troops required causing troops to be killed needlessly. So, yeah.
How about putting in enough troops so that they aren't sitting ducks. I propose having the same number of troops hat was proposed to stay in Iraq before we left so abruptly.
Or at least with a number that is justifiable based in the objectives you want to achieve.

n.n said...

Obama is pro-choice. So is The New York Times. Their principles and semantics change with the climate and special interests.

tim in vermont said...

I can't wait to head down by the Unitarian Church at the end of Church Street in Burlington and see the same old gang of war protesters that were there every day through the Bush administration. Ha ha JK-LOL, their job is done.

mccullough said...

We shouldn't be risking the lives of our best combat soldiers to appease our allies who can't or won't send in their own troops. Obama is still doing too much here. Let the Europeans and Saudis send in troops. If they don't want to, then fine. It's a Civil War in Arabia. Let them fight it. No intervention and no refugees. The Arabs have needed to get their shit together for a long time.

damikesc said...

We're putting a middling amount of troops in the line of fire when they lack the forces or numbers to make a difference?

How is this not labeled cruelty?

Drago said...

In other terrific news: State Dept. counts 'bringing peace' to Syria as a 2015 win

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/state-department-claims-peace-syria-2015-win-217168#ixzz3veLDcbbA

Hooray!

So, then why are all those Syrians fleeing their nation? Why would Syrians be fleeing the delightful and liberating peace that Obambi has brought them?

Pookie Number 2 said...

Prof. Althouse has said--and her point has considerable merit--that she supported the election of Obama because it would force the Democrats to take ownership of the War on Terror.

I'd actually be very interested in hearing how Althouse views the Democrats' forced ownership of the War on Terror.

khesanh0802 said...

@ drill SGT I think the conditions in Syria/Iraq are different from our original incursion in Afg. ISIS has managed to capture HumVees, Tanks and APCs. (God knows if they can keep them running but it's a risk I would rather not take.) I believe the Taliban were on horseback as well so they had no advantage there. The Kurds could play the role of northern alliance, but that creates almost as many problems as it would solve.

If we restrict ourself to SF " advisors" I am afraid we are going to have every SF trooper in the ME and I don't think that's a good solution. I know I sound like the run-up to VN, but I think that to have staying power you need conventional forces such as the MEF that has it's own air, arty and logistics. We know that we are now depending on the Iraqis and Kurds for infantry and arty. I bet we are contracting out logistics and its security to some commercial outfit in order maintain the myth of "few" boots on the ground.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Drill SGT ....and tanks - the MEF has tanks!

robother said...

Rhetorically, Obama is a one trick pony. Whatever the political argument, he always and only has recourse to the Straw Man. Apply the most extreme definition to: the other side's position, his prior inconsistent promises, terrorist threats.

He appears to have maxed out intellectually somewhere at 10th grade level (i.e., when most of us discovered and spent a year or so practicing this level of rhetoric on every History/PolySci test).

jr565 said...

"We shouldn't be risking the lives of our best combat soldiers to appease our allies who can't or won't send in their own troops. Obama is still doing too much here. Let the Europeans and Saudis send in troops. If they don't want to, then fine. It's a Civil War in Arabia. Let them fight it. No intervention and no refugees. The Arabs have needed to get their shit together for a long time."

Except, if we wait on unreliable people to get the job done we will be waiting for eternity for the job to get done.
This was the problem with the Clinton brand of Regime change proposed under the Iraq Liberation act. IT called for regime change but then said we'd achieve it by working with the people in the area who will overthrow the regime.

There may have been people fighting the regime, but is it realistic to assume that they'd be able to take out Sadaam without our direct interference? based on what?
So, if we dteremine that its ultimately in our interest to take on ISIS, or have Sadaam removed, we ultimately have to be the ones that will do it.
Russia has no problem sending in its military to keep Assad in place, including using it to kill people that might try to take out Assad.
Thus, our reluctance to intervene works against our own policies if we are trying to achieve a result.
Why hasn't Saudi Arabia stepped up? Because Saudi Arabia wont. And yet we still have a regugee problem precisely because we allowed ISIS to grow, unmolested.
That will still be a problem so long as ISIS is still in play. How then to get rid of them? WE have to do it.

EDH said...

Schoolyard taunt...

"Obama: you're mama wore commie boots!"

The Drill SGT said...

khesanh0802 said...
@ Drill SGT ....and tanks - the MEF has tanks!


LOL, They have a few. I was thinking about 150, not 58. I remember hearing about how a BTF would land 2 rifle companies abreast, each with 2 tanks attached.

don't get me started on USMC Tanker jokes :)

or about how the USMC refused to buy the M1. (yes they have them now because they got the Congress to force the Army to give them 300.

One thing I do really like about the USMC is Marine Air. Yeah, I know... I was a dogie, and was stuck with the USAF. Give me A-10's or USMC Air any day. Somebody who wants to do air-to-mud.



Jim said...

I hate to see some of our best men and women deployed by that numbskull obama. What is the precise mission? He can't or won't say. The policies of obama and clinton were disastrous for the ME. To put some of the finest soldiers in the world at risk is worse than stupid, it shows obama's ignorance of what is taking place over there. His interests are his legacy, and the willingness to blame the outcome of his childlike world view on the next President.

n.n said...

Obama's premature evacuation from Iraq, and expanded warfare, has cost several hundred thousand lives, and initiated long-term damage through anti-native policies implemented in the The Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and America.

cubanbob said...

Its pretty obvious the consensus here is either do the job right or get out completely. So far Obama hasn't articulated what is our national interest here is and without that what are doing dicking around? Arming the Kurds is great but lets not suffer any delusions; the Kurds are looking to first protect Kurdish territory as it is and eventually fight for the creation of a Kurdish state. Now I don't see a problem with a Kurdish state, indeed humbling the Arabs, the Persians and the Turks to my mind is a good thing but lets be clear, the Kurds are not in it just to accomplish our goals, which we really don't know since Obama hasn't told us what they are. The Russians and the Iranians do know what their national interests are ( or at least what their leadership thinks they are) and in that respect we can learn something from them.

Michael K said...

"The Obama-ites make proclamations while the rest of the world simply keeps acting in accordance with reality."

The left, and the Democrats who are 98% of it, do not live in the real world. They inhabit a fantasy world where good wishes make things happen. "If you build it they will come."

The other problem with ISIS and Syria is that there are no allies. We have only Israel and Obama has alienated them enough so Netanyahu probably had better relations with Putin.

This is a Sunni-Shia civil war. The Sunnis include the Saudis and the ISIS is being run by Saddam's generals who went to Syria and ran the insurgency. I have ordered a book titled "Black Flags" about how ISIS began. I think the best strategy may be to kill them all and let Allah sort it out. I don't see any "Arab allies" and I think they are in Obama's imagination.

The Kurds just want to protect their own turf and probably retake Mosul as that was theirs until Saddam started his "Arabization' strategy to round up all the oil. They want the oil and should get it. They are not interested in fighting the Sunni's fight for them.

Bobby said...

Michael K,

"The Kurds just want to protect their own turf and probably retake Mosul as that was theirs until Saddam started his "Arabization' strategy to round up all the oil. They want the oil and should get it. They are not interested in fighting the Sunni's fight for them."

And Kurdish leaders have said this repeatedly, so it should be no surprise to anyone. It's why I keep pointing out that "arming the Kurds" is an incomplete strategy. Now the perfect should never be the enemy of the good, and KRG control of Ninewah and Kirkuk Province and Kurdish control of north and northeastern Syria is better than the status quo, certainly, so I'm all for arming the Kurds and using them as proxies where they're available. But I know that it doesn't drive ISIS out of western Iraq nor does it drive them out of central and eastern Syria, and it does not defeat ISIS and 12 months from now, we'll answer for what to do about all of the ISIS atrocities that are still going on. Is that better than the status quo? Definitely, but when our foreign policy has set the bar so low practically anything would be better than the status quo, so that's not saying much.

Tellingly, Israel has largely sat out the ISIS civil war -- other than providing (lots of) covert support to Jordan and to generally turn a blind eye to Druze fighters crossing into Syria to battle Assad, Daesh, al-Nusra and the other extremists, Israel doesn't see an outcome that advances their strategic position more than just letting a bunch of a**holes kill each other.

Hyphenated American said...

Boots on the ground, ended the war in Iraq, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, peaceful demonstration upset at the video.

As Hillary Clinton famously said - at this point, what difference does it make?

mccullough said...

We have a refugee problem because, unlike Japan, we take in refugees. This is folly. We get involved in these wars because our allies want us to but won't fight themselves. If Europe is overrun with Arabs, so be it. If ISIS wants a state, it's up to Arabs to stop them. ISIS is partially a result the result of the Saudis suicide act wth their Wahhabist clerics. A good chunk of this fight is crazy Sunni ISIS vs. crazy Sunni Saudis. And now the Shia Persians with the Shia Arabs in Iraq and Syria have to either team up with the detested crazy Sunni Arabs who detest ISIS to defeat the crazy Sunni Arabs who comprise ISIS. Throw in the Russians and the Turks and we have so many adversaries/enemies involved n this conflict that it makes no sense to intervene (other than to placate our House of Saud "allies" and
our allies in Western Europe who don't want their countries overrun by Arab Muslims.

Europe needs to learn its lesson. And the Arab, Turk, and Persian Muslims need to learn that their actions have consequences. Their crazy religion is more virulent and violent than the Aztec's.



Robert Cook said...

"Gentle people sleep peacefully in their beds, because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf".

Maybe true in WWII, but not since then, and rarely before. The military is primarily always a tool by which nations take what they want from others by force. General Smedley Butler admitted this truth back in the '30s.

cubanbob said...

Tellingly, Israel has largely sat out the ISIS civil war -- other than providing (lots of) covert support to Jordan and to generally turn a blind eye to Druze fighters crossing into Syria to battle Assad, Daesh, al-Nusra and the other extremists, Israel doesn't see an outcome that advances their strategic position more than just letting a bunch of a**holes kill each other.

12/28/15, 7:03 PM"

No kidding! Who would have thunk it differently? Since when do the cops pick sides in a mob war?

Jason said...

I would probably advocate a more decisive policy in normal times. But I don't trust this president, nor his piece of shit national security advisor, nor his upper class twit of a Secretary of State nor the perfumed sycophants currently running the DoD with the lives of our servicemembers. They would fuck up a wet dream.

I have zero confidence in the national command authority to make sound decisions. They are clowns. And they would get good men killed while still failing to achieve US war aims... Even if they could come up with a set of objectives that don't amount to an "own goal" and I don't think these useless imbiciles can even do that.

Jason said...
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Drago said...

Robert Cook: "General Smedley Butler admitted this truth back in the '30s"

Aaahhh, the 30's. The good old days when western leftists were in open cahoots with mass-murdering communist regimes.

Or, in Robert Cooks world, paradise.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "The military is primarily always a tool by which nations take what they want from others by force."

It would have been nice to actually get some of that Iraqi oil that the lefties claimed was the primary reason for ousting Saddam.

Such are the fevered imaginations of October Surprise Truthers.

Roughcoat said...

The Kurds just want to protect their own turf and probably retake Mosul as that was theirs until Saddam started his "Arabization' strategy to round up all the oil. They want the oil and should get it.

Mosul and its environs belong to the Christian Assyrians not the Kurds. The Assyrians have an ancestral claim on the region that goes back over 5,000 years. They've formed an army which have proved quite effective in battling ISIS and, not incidentally, in preventing the genocide of the Assyrian people in their ancestral homeland. Their goal is to drive ISIS from the Assyria Nineveh Plain and ultimately to establish an autonomous Assyrian state. The establishment of a Christian Assyrian state in the heart of the Middle East will radically change the political and strategic calculus of the region, and that change will greatly benefit America and the West.

The Kurds are bad news. But you and most Americans don't know this because you've been hoodwinked by the Kurds' highly effective public relations efforts. They are masters of self-promotion. The Assyrians know better: the Assyrian army is nominally allied with KRG forces and Assyrian troops have even fought in the KRG ranks; but when the chips are down the Kurds are not to be trusted--they have abandoned Assyrian forces on the battlefield, leaving Christian villages to the non-existent mercies of ISIS. Do the research. It's no secret.

We should be putting the full weight of our support behind the Assyrians. And, yes, if the Assyrians achieve their objective of establishing an autonomous state, that state will be economically viable because of the oil reserves it will contain, and politically stable because the Assyrians are a united people.

Roughcoat said...

I say again: Mosul is the capital of Nineveh Province, and Nineveh Province rightly belongs to the Christian Assyrians not the Kurds. Those of you advocating for the Kurds plainly don't know or understand the situation on the ground over there. You should find out more about it. You need to dispense with your starry-eyed naivety about the Kurds. The following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Nineveh Province is minimally instructive in this regard:

Many Assyrian leaders advocate an autonomous Assyrian homeland within Nineveh Province for the indigenous Assyrians. Most National Iraqi leaders have not taken this plan seriously, but it has a strong proponent in the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Finance Sarkis Aghajan, himself an Assyrian and a prominent figure in the Kurdish dominated government. Minister Sarkis has claimed that the autonomous region he envisions would stretch from the Syrian border to the north at Peshkabur to Bakhdida. He says it would have its own parliament, executive council, constitution, budget, logo, and flag.

Of course that excerpt is outdated and inaccurate as a result. In fact just all reputable Assyrian leaders are united in advocating an autonomous Assyrian homeland. This notion is gaining momentum along with adherents in the international community, including the United States.

Roughcoat said...

Finally, I would point out that the Kurds were the chief executors of the Armenian-Assyrian genocide in the period 1915-1923. The Turks sponsored and organized and directed the massacres but Kurdish tribesmen for the most part carried out the actual killings, and they did so gleefully and with great enthusiasm. Who's to say they would not subject the Christian Assyrians and other non-Muslime peoples living in the Nineveh Plain (e.g., Yazidis, Shabaks, Zorastrians) to another round of genocide? Are you willing to hand over control of Mosul and Nineveh Province with their non-Muslim populations to the Kurds merely because they promise not to commit the sort of mass murders they committed in the past?

Michael K said...

"providing (lots of) covert support to Jordan"

Jordan is vary, very important in this fight and needs help. I don;t expect Obama to do anything.

Cookie show read Robert D Kaplan's book, "Imperial Grunts" to see how much "rough men" do to keep us safe. He won't, of course.

I have no argument about the Assyrians and wish them well. The Kurds are in the position of the enemy of our enemy. Kurds in European countries are no better at treatment of women, assimilation, etc. They are Muslims, after all.

I got "Black Flags" today and am starting to read it. I expect it to be informative.

Gahrie said...

Maybe true in WWII, but not since then, and rarely before. The military is primarily always a tool by which nations take what they want from others by force.

Just what has the United States taken by force since 1946? All I see is the U.S. reacting to others taking things by force, and the liberation of people all over the world.

Bobby said...

Roughcoat,

Always a pleasure -- I've never understood why so many so many US conservatives here (and elsewhere) are convinced that the Kurds are "America Lite," and I have pointed that out numerous times on this blog and in professional meetings. I chalk it up to the American need to simplify everything down to "this = good, that = bad" and their seeming unwillingness to consider any kind of nuance that might deviate from that narrative lest it compromises their "support" (I put support in quotes because, honestly, as you well know, the majority of Americans who say they are support" the Kurds aren't doing anything more than just saying they support the Kurds, which doesn't go very far). Ironically, however, they seem to have no problem identifying the overly-simplistic views of the liberals...

Honestly, I don't see the Assyrians pulling through this okay, but maybe- just maybe- they can reach some kind of accommodation with the Yazid and secular Kurds that allows them each to get along while provding a common defense against the Islamists. As I told the numerous Isho's and Odisho's at the Assyrian National Convention at Lake Las Vegas in 2014, I'll do whatever I can to help them, because we have no closer allies in the region, but I don't see the US government providing any real help until they no longer need it.

As always, continued good luck with your "Title 10" work with the Assyrians and Chaldeans.

SukieTawdry said...

Silly me, when he said "no boots on the ground," I thought he meant no ground troops. I didn't realize he meant no Iraq-style invasion with battalions moving across the desert. But then in Obamaspeak, a mandate is not a tax except when it is; terrorists attacks are by turns workplace violence, spontaneous demonstrations or man-made disasters; the Islamic State is not Islamic; "if you like your health plan, you can keep it" doesn't mean you can keep your health plan if you like it; and "I cut spending by a trillion dollars in 2011" means spending increased by $147 billion. The man needs to come with a lexicon.

jr565 said...

Robert cook wrote:

Maybe true in WWII, but not since then, and rarely before. The military is primarily always a tool by which nations take what they want from others by force. General Smedley Butler admitted this truth back in the '30s.

hmmm, so then this would explain why iSIS is fighting militarily. Because generally if you want to take something by force it's good to have a military behind your force. So, how do you propose fighting those using force to achieve want they want? The only real weapon in your arsenal is force as well.
If the Germans occupy France it's through force. If the French are able to fight off the Germans it's through force. And if we have to go in and liberate France it's through force. Even if you say diplomacy will solve these issues its diplomacy backed by force. Which is why, when Obama put down a red line about syria's use of chemical weapons and then backed down, Syria and Russia knew they could
Use force to achieve what they wanted without any serious attempt to keep them honest.
If everyone is using force, and force seems to be the only thing that actually gets people what they want, then the real issue is who is using force and to what ends.

Kernel Bill said...

If Obama's lips are moving, he's lying. He's just going through the motions now. He will go down in history as a totally incompetent president and a complete failure. He actually makes Jimmy Carter look good. I just hope we have a country left after this disaster so we have a chance to recover and hopefully learn a this hard lesson.

And what's sad is that this could all be seen as the probable result when the Democrats nominated him in 2008. No experience.

Kirk Parker said...

khesanh0802,

"I am not sure Arclights would work in this environment - pretty indiscriminate. "

Don't they carry JDAM's these days?

Michael K said...

JDAMs require FACs and that may be one weakness of Obama's ROE.

One of many.

Cookie has never learned that "diplomacy" requires force behind it or it is just bullshit, of which Kerry and Obama have an unlimited supply. "How many divisions has the Pope?" said one advocate of force.

Gahrie said...

Cookie show read Robert D Kaplan's book, "Imperial Grunts" to see how much "rough men" do to keep us safe. He won't, of course.

Probably not. Hell he apparently became a Bolshevik without even reading Das Kapital!