Friday, September 19, 2014

Obama And The Art Of War

In my 57 years of life I cannot think of a single time when a U.S. President has given so much information to an enemy before and during a war.

Back in 2009, President Obama told the United States and the world that he would withdraw all of our troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. He made good on that promise, appeasing his voting base and bragging about it. Against the advice of his military leaders he did not leave a residual force in Iraq to maintain peace and to hold on to the military gains we had made. 

Two and a half years later, half of Iraq is under control of the brutal Islamic terrorist organization, ISIS. Funded initially by the Obama administration (because they were rebels fighting against Bashar Assad in Syria) ISIS recruited and expanded, taking not only Northwestern Iraq but the Eastern half of Syria as well. They did this virtually unimpeded for two reasons. In Syria, Assad has so many things going on, and so much opposition, he didn't have the resources to deal with ISIS. And in Iraq, the U.S. troops were gone and the Iraqi army, facing an enemy who kills anyone and everyone who opposes them, soldiers or not, ran away in fear. City after city that was liberated by U.S. forces fell to ISIS until they got to Baghdad, where the Iraqi army had no choice but to fight to hold their own.

Iraqi officials begged President Obama for assistance with fighting ISIS. Obama refused. ISIS now controls the cities of Mosul, Falluja, Tikrit, Sinjar, Baiji, and Qaim and Ana, and pretty much all the open territory in between.

Of course, now that ISIS has done this President Obama wants no part of the troop withdrawal he bragged about. Now he says the withdrawal was the combined fault of George W. Bush and the Iraqi government. All of his bragging about the troop withdrawal suddenly turned into denial of responsibility. Imagine that.

In Syria, where ISIS originated, they have not conquered quite as many cities but they are moving. And while the Assad regime and the U.S. share a common goal of defeating ISIS, that is the only common ground the two governments share. The United States is still trying to figure out how to battle ISIS and arm yet another group of Syrian rebels to fight against Assad at the same time. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said recently "In Iraq, we have a government that has asked for our help and asked for our support and welcomed us in. That obviously is not the case in Syria."

Well, duh. Why would Assad ask for our help when Obama has made it clear he wants Assad out of power? 

Harf went on to say "the Assad regime's own actions that helped lead to the rise of ISIS."

That's only true in the basic sense. The Assad regime is responsible for the formation of the rebel group that became ISIS. Backed by Al Qaeda, they formed to fight against the Assad regime to oust him. Even though they were backed by our enemy, Al Qaeda, the Obama administration armed and funded them because they opposed Assad. It was then that they began to expand and grow.

President Obama is now going to fund another group of Syrian rebels, the"moderate rebels" to fight against ISIS and the Assad regime. The problem with that is - those "moderate rebels" have already signed a non-aggression agreement with ISIS. We're going to fund a group that won't fight. How stupid are we, really? Ah - but that's a story for another day.

Earlier this year, and once again against the advice of his military leaders, President Obama announced to the world that he would pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016. For some reason (personally I call it narcissism) the President believes that the hostilities of a war immediately and automatically cease because he has declared the war over. In fact - he took things one step further and traded five Taliban generals for a U.S. army deserter declaring "That's what you do at the end of a war. You exchange prisoners." He also said those five Taliban generals would not return to the battlefield.

The big problem there is that the war is not over and four of the five have returned to the battlefield - one with the Taliban and the other three with ISIS. Great move, Mr. President.

Most recently, President Obama finally made a public statement of his strategy for fighting ISIS. Once again going against his military leaders, the President told the world he would increase air strikes but would not, under any circumstances, put U.S. troops back on the ground in a combat role. Even his Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Martin Dempsey, disagrees with Obama's decision. And Obama is being criticized by military experts nationwide for broadcasting that information to the enemy when the fight has barely begun.

Marine General James Mattis, who retired last year, told the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron of the highest nature) that Obama was tying the hands of the U.S. military with his blanket prohibition of U.S. troops on the ground. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”

Our fighting forces have to be in a state of emotional conflict. They want and need a Commander-in-Chief that will utilize their skills, training and capabilities for their intended purpose. The President likes to say he won't put our soldiers in harm's way. But is that not what they're trained for?

Retired General Thomas McInerney said in an interview last night that the only way to beat ISIS is for President Obama to hit them hard, as we did to Iraqi forces in 2003 - overwhelming air strikes followed by a large ground force to clean up the residual ISIS forces. But we all know President Obama won't do that. And if he did you can bet he'd broadcast his intentions well ahead of the actual implementation of them.

It seems President Obama is sometimes our enemies' best ally. Giving useful information to the enemy has always been considered treasonous - at least until Obama took office. Now it seems to be the norm. I'm already feeling sorry for our military members who have fought so hard (with some making the ultimate sacrifice) in Afghanistan. You can bet it won't take long, after our troop withdrawal, for the terrorists to fill in the void. Once that happens all of the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will have been for naught. And regardless of what Obama or anyone else might claim - that won't be the fault of George W. Bush.

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