The U.S. Must Send Ground Forces to Eliminate the Islamic State
James Jeffrey – The Washington Post
After almost 18 months of the Obama administration’s half-measures, it’s obvious that defeat of the Islamic State is not going to happen absent a first-class, mobile ground force being launched to mate with overwhelming air power.
That ground force does not have to be large — the main U.S. assault force in the largest battle of the second Iraq war, Fallujah in 2004, counted only seven to eight battalions, with reinforcement and support, for a total of 7,000 to 8,000 troops.
Nor does it have to be all American. French and other experienced Western troops could complement U.S. forces, as could effective Iraqi and Syrian formations. But without U.S. ground forces, none of this will take place. The Islamic State will hold together its “state,” and its counterattacks — as well as Iranian-Russian exploitation of the Islamic State for their own aggression — will destabilize much of Eurasia and expose the United States again to mass terrorist attacks.
President Barack Obama defends ISIS strategy after the G20 summit in Turkey:
I Was Held Hostage By ISIS. They Fear Our Unity More than Our Airstrikes
Nicolas Hénin – The Guardian
Most people only know them from their propaganda material, but I have seen behind that. In my time as their captive, I met perhaps a dozen of them, including Mohammed Emwazi: Jihadi John was one of my jailers. He nicknamed me “Baldy”.
Even now I sometimes chat with them on social media, and can tell you that much of what you think of them results from their brand of marketing and public relations. …Away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power…. I found them more stupid than evil. That is not to understate the murderous potential of stupidity….
Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.
President Obama’s False Choice Against the Islamic State
The Editorial Board – The Washington Post
Mr. Obama is right that the route to destroying the Islamic State lies in finding local partners in the Middle East and elsewhere who can stabilize their countries with U.S. and other international support…
In response to failures, Mr. Obama has tended to escalate U.S. action in small increments unlikely to make a decisive difference — like his recent decision to dispatch fewer than 50 Special Operations troops to Syria. What would make a difference?
Numerous military experts have proposed that the United States stiffen the Iraqi forces attempting to retake the town of Ramadi, and Arabs and Kurds advancing toward the Islamic State capital of Raqqa, by deploying more Special Operations forces who could act as forward air controllers and advise on battlefield tactics.
In response to failures, Mr. Obama has tended to escalate U.S. action in small increments unlikely to make a decisive difference — like his recent decision to dispatch fewer than 50 Special Operations troops to Syria.