Should We Expect Ground Troops Soon in the Fight Against ISIS?



"Kobani does not define the strategy of the coalition," Secretary of State John Kerry insisted yesterday. That's probably a good thing, because even as the Obama administration has committed the United States and whatever coalition partners it can talk into dropping a few bombs to "degrade and destroy" Islamic State/ISIS/whatever, the Kurdish city is poised to become conquered territory.

This is no shocker given that the Pentagon admitted last week, "Airstrikes alone are not going to do this….They're not going to save the town of Kobani."

But, for a town that "does not define the strategy of the coalition," Kobani and ISIS's advance in Iraq is consuming a lot of U.S. diplomatic effort. The State Department has been busily negotiating with Turkey for access to its military bases and apparently gained just that—a commitment from Turkey that its turf can be used for training more moderate Syrian fighters and launching further airstrikes, neither of which, as the Petagon points out, are getting it done.

With its long border with both Syria and Iraq, Turkey could also act as an effective staging ground for a ground war against ISIS. Not that President Obama would ever break his promise to never do anything of the sort.

Unfortunately, the U.S. commitment to "degrade and destroy" ISIS wth airstrikes—and what passes for local military forces—isn't working in Iraq, either. The Iraqi government now just controls one large town, Haditha, in Anbar province. Having had their heads handed to them figuratively, and getting ever closer to having it done literally, provincial leaders are openly calling for U.S. troops to intervene.

Hmmm… Maybe that presidential vow that "I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq" is looking a bit shaky, after all.

Just a reminder, Mr. President: The majority of the American people aren't fond of repeating that mistake.

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  1. Might be easier to get support for a war if it were, I dunno, legal and stuff.

    1. I wish there were some meaningful opposition to the war.

      1. So long as the all-volunteer force means that nobody’s college-age son or daughter is at risk of having to fight in it, and the “we have printing presses, so funding is no problem” crowd remains ascendant, there will be no opposition to the war until the Republicans win another Presidential election and can be blamed for it. And with the current state of the party, that is looking like a long wait.

        1. Well, the Republicans aren’t going to oppose it, and the Democrats aren’t going to oppose anything Obama wants to do, no matter how unpopular he is.

          I guess we’re screwed.

          It’s interesting, too, that neither the Turks nor the Kurds seem to be willing to do anything until the U.S. does, which tells me it must not be as big of a deal as people say it is–or the risk of failure is much greater than is generally realized.

        2. So long as the all-volunteer force means that nobody’s college-age son or daughter is at risk of having to fight in it

          First, this blood debt like “skin in the game” is despicable. Second, it didn’t change popular opinion during most of the Vietnam War. There was a stark divergence in support between those who weren’t draftable (including parents) and those that were.

    2. This is the kind of racist obstructionism that makes Gwyneth Paltrow sad that Obama is not a dictator.

  2. So Kerry is saying that the Kobani-maru scenario means we have to keep playing it out, over and over again, for eternity.

  3. Pic: ISIS militants or US SWAT team?

      1. Wait, it has to be ISIS – not encumbered with enough gear to be SWAT!!!!

    1. That’s a tough one, being as they share the same source acquiring military hardware.

  4. Of course the evil war looters will get more cannon fodder.

  5. General McChrystal and Obama share at least one opinion. Troops should not be on the ground, perhaps for different reasons. We should save only those who want to be saved and who can join in a sustained security. The alternative is what we saw in the total effort in Iraq. Clever enemies turn people against our efforts.

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