Saying “we don’t yet have a complete strategy” to combat the Islamic State in Iraq, President Barack Obama has once again proven his ineptitude in foreign affairs, lack of vision for a safe and secure world, and lack of leadership on the international stage.
Although we all expected something more from him after his G-7 summit, we are left with an empty hand offering. Obama even seemed to give new Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi the cold shoulder.
[sharequote align="center"]In war, if you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. And the enemy knows it.[/sharequote]
Imagine the joy and celebration amongst the Islamic State when they heard about Obama’s latest comments and behavior. Continuing to bomb, well, pretend to bomb targets in Syria and Iraq is a joke; 75 percent of all sorties from the coalition come back without having dropped a bomb or fired a missile.
The debate on whether or not to send in forward observers to more accurately target the enemy ended when the Obama administration declared the move “too risky.” Heck, crossing the street is risky, too, but we don’t stay home because of it.
In the military we do dangerous things. We work hard to mitigate unnecessary risks, but in the end, we all know that the MISSION comes first. What the heck is our MISSION in Iraq? And if the president doesn’t know, who does?
Sometimes you can define a thing by what it’s not.
Our presence in Iraq has NOT inspired the Iraqi army to kill Islamic State fighters. We are NOT being effective against the enemy. We DON’T have a plan to degrade and destroy the enemy. Ergo, we are marking time. But in war, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. And the enemy knows it.
Obama said we should train Iraqi troops faster, but anyone with any experience in the military knows we train to “standard,” not to “time.” The military is about mastery learning. It’s not good enough to know how to wire and ready a claymore mine, you must also know which direction to face the thing so you don’t blow yourself up. In the Army, training is “go” or “no go.” No go’s get sent to the end of the line until they figure out how to perform at an acceptable level.
It could be our Iraqi allies know this and are purposely mucking things up. Anything to delay the inevitable: Death at the hands of the Islamic State.
Nothing short of United States Marines or 82nd Airborne Division soldiers leading them into battle will steel those Iraqis with a will to fight.
Which brings up an interesting point. Obama IS sending in the 82nd Airborne, or at least a headquarters element. Those of us who have been deployed know what that means. You don’t send a headquarters element to fight anybody, or even to train anybody. You send in a headquarters element to prepare for the arrival of combat troops.
War is not a game. But if it were, Obama would surely be calling for a “do over” in Iraq, in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Egypt, Iran . . . oh, heck, EVERYWHERE. This real life tragedy is unfolding before our very eyes.
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the killing of journalist James Foley in Syria during a statement in Edgartown, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. The president said the U.S. will continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite Foley's brutal murder. Obama said he spoke Wednesday with Foley's family and offered condolences. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
One would think that his recent visit with leaders of nations we defeated in World War II, and are among the world’s most prosperous and peaceful nations because of U.S. involvement and resolve, and especially coming on the heels of the 71st anniversary of D-Day, would have figured out a way to handle the current crisis. But alas, Obama is completely clueless.
Would he have stood idly by were he commander in chief in June of 1944 and let the opportunity to end World War II slip through his fingers because he didn’t have a plan? That’s all war is from a leader’s perspective. Planning.
You plan for a mission, you plan for contingencies, you plan what you think the enemy might do, you plan the execution, and then you plan for what happens after the execution of your plan. Obama couldn’t plan a gunfight at the O.K. Corral at high noon on a Sunday!
It is obvious to this Army officer veteran that Obama is not consulting with his military leaders. He is consulting with his handlers and non-military advisors, every step of the way.
Private Snuffy Smith, fresh out of basic training and Army infantry school could lead the forces of the United States better than Obama could lead a parade of fools. But isn’t that exactly what the president is doing? Leading a parade of fools?
Is congress, or the coalition, or other world leaders questioning his “no plan” approach with any volume or accuracy at all?
It is so very simple. If you want to degrade and destroy the Islamic State you send in the Marines and the Army to kill them all (or re-fill the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), and then you STAY. And then you come up with a Middle East Marshall Plan, sponsored by your friendly neighborhood (peaceful) Muslim countries. See Europe 70 years after World War II.
How about a Middle East we can all take our families to on vacation?
Montgomery Granger is a three-times mobilized U.S. Army major (Ret.) and author of "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior." Amazon, Blog, Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter: @mjgranger1
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