Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committees on Tuesday, telling officials that if coalition partners don’t deal with the Islamic State group’s operations in Iraq, then he would not hesitate to say what President Obama doesn’t want to hear: “Send in the ground troops.”
“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” the general told the committees, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. He added that his recommendation, “may include the use of ground forces.”
One only needs to look Syria to realize that reliable ground troops — by someone — will be necessary to deal with Islamic State.
Reuters reported Tuesday:
Islamic State has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.
In the city of Raqqa, 450 km (280 miles) northeast of Damascus, residents say Islamic State has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria. …
Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, Islamic State fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas. In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.
In Raqqa, the group has evacuated buildings it was using as offices, redeployed its heavy weaponry, and moved fighters’ families out of the city.
“They are trying to keep on the move,” said one Raqqa resident, communicating via the Internet and speaking on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. “They have sleeper cells everywhere,” he added.
Anyone who peddles the idea that days of precision airstrikes on Islamic State convoys, parades and gathering places will “destroy” the terrorist group is a fool. For over three years the president did everything he could to ignore its rise by “leading from behind.” He tried to wash away his own “red line” in Syria and then allow others in the region to handle the civil war their own way. He opted to play a passive role when the world needed leadership, and contrary to the logic regularly espoused by Code Pink, the threat metastasized.
The men at the top of the Islamic State food chain are smart. Given that they have assets in Syria in Iraq — and Obama has ruled out using ground troops — the logical course of action for them is to go underground. Yes, it will slow their advance, but who cares? They already have access to millions of dollars in oil money a day, control main roadways and financial centers, and have suicide bombers at their disposal. Iraq does not have the political or military leadership at this time to go on the offensive without serious logistical support from western nations, and the U.S. has no one it can trust in Syria. If the U.S. was really serious about destroying Islamic State anytime soon, then Gen. Dempsey would publicly recommend ground troops immediately. He won’t do that because it is clear that the president is more concerned with finding a way to pass the buck onto a future U.S. president than he is with handing the threat now.
How can anyone know this? Easy. Simply read The New York Times, which reported Sept. 13 on the a meeting the president had with select journalists:
Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.
But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.
If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.
What kind of president gives an Islamic terrorist group ideas on ways to undercut U.S. public support for military operations that simultaneously allow the caliphate’s continuous rise? Mr. Obama’s Times interview translates: “You know, if you play your cards right, you can turn the public against me and still achieve your objectives, right? Think it about, guys. Seriously.”
Mr. Obama’s unsolicited advice to Islamic State only further highlights his deep desire for all radical Islamic terrorism to be a problem that is largely confined to the Middle East, with occasional “law enforcement matters” (e.g., car bombs) that affect western interests around the globe. His infamous “jayvee team” interview with The New Yorker once again comes back to haunt him:
“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
Mr. Obama’s interview with the Times essentially gives the terrorist group the “off ramp” elitist Beltway pundits always speak of any time an international thug starts invading countries or slaughtering his own people. The president is saying, “Guys, there’s still time. You can still make this ‘none of our business.'” What he doesn’t understand is that the end game for any group that seeks to create an Islamic caliphate requires the subjugation of free people.
Before Mr. Obama was elected president in 2008, people joked about the number of times he voted “present” in the Illinois State Senate. It wasn’t a joke, because he adopted a “vote present” foreign policy upon assuming the role of commander in chief. In the vacuum created by a sudden absence of American leadership, it was never going to be picked up by the cultural cadaver that is Europe. Instead, it was filled by the world’s worst actors, acting like prisoners who just had their jail cells thrown open by the head warden.
“Peace at any cost” doesn’t bring peace — it brings war. Sadly, it appears as though the message hasn’t penetrated the minds of Code Pink’s most ardent supporters, the president or members of his inner circle.