According to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the United States will be sending an undetermined number of special forces back into Iraq in the next few weeks. As part of a growing military strategy to defeat the Islamic State, the Obama administration has authorized somewhere between 100 and 200 special ops troops for a mission centered around intelligence-gathering, raids, and assassinations of top ISIS leaders.
Carter said it would also give the U.S. a better vantage point, allowing troops to move into Syria with ease.
“This is an important capability because it takes advantage of what we’re good at,” Carter said. “We’re good at intelligence, we’re good at mobility, we’re good at surprise. We have the long reach that no one else has. And it puts everybody on notice in Syria. You don’t know at night who’s going to be coming in the window. And that’s the sensation that we want all of ISIL’s leadership and followers to have.”
Critics, such as U.S. Senator John McCain, say this reeks of the administration’s usual nonchalant approach to war. “We don’t have a strategy. What we’re doing, what this administration is doing, is incrementally adding capabilities and in reaction to ISIS activities. Rather than taking the initiative and developing the overall strategy,” McCain said this week.
Unfortunately, the Republicans are as confused as the Democrats when it comes to outlining a real strategy. Because there isn’t a significant American appetite for Iraq War, Part III, very few politicians are willing to speak the truth. The truth being that, unless we want this problem to arrive explosively on U.S. soil, we need to destroy this group using the full force of the military.
With President Obama at the helm, that will never happen. Unless ISIS pulls off another attack on the scale of 9/11, he will not allow his presidency to be tarnished with another Middle Eastern war. He’s content to merely tread water and hand this problem off to the next administration.
There has also been a surprising amount of resistance from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi. Upon hearing of the administration’s plans to send in special forces, Al-Abadi released a statement saying there “is no need for foreign ground combat troops” in his country. He instead asked for more weapons and training and warned Washington to “respect Iraqi sovereignty.”
Hey, how about this: To hell with your country’s sovereignty. If you can’t deal with the sectarian slaughter, then we will.
We’re running out of time here. According to a new report from George Washington University, there are currently thousands of ISIS sympathizers living in the United States. The FBI has over 900 active investigations open. Spurred on by propaganda and social media, these sympathizers are a tragedy waiting to happen.
Make no mistake about it: Troop withdrawal or no, the Iraq War never ended. This is still the very same insurgency that President Bush spent six years fighting in Baghdad, Fallujah, and across the Iraqi countryside. This is what happens when you pull out before the job is done. No one wants to see another ten years of war, but the alternatives – if any exist – are dwindling fast.