ISIS: Our Non-Strategy and Our Too-Calm Republican Candidates

 

screenshot 2015-03-17 12.38.59I was flabbergasted to read this morning that we are “embracing a new approach” in the battle against ISIS:

In a major shift of focus in the battle against the Islamic State, the Obama administration is planning to establish a new military base in Anbar Province and send 400 American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi.

Point 1: With all respect to our highly accomplished and experienced men and women in uniform, at this point a force of 400 military trainers in Anbar Province should properly be described as “next month’s hostages.” How could anyone of even cursory familiarity with this region — or the history of warfare, for that matter — fail to think of that immediately?

Point 2: No one in his or her right mind would think air power alone a sufficient tool to defeat the Islamic State. But nor would one in his or her right mind think a near-complete failure to use air power the tool of choice, either. As retired Air Force general David A. Deptula notes, we’re now averaging 12 strike sorties per day:

During Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, the average was 1,241; in Operation Allied Force in Kosovo in 1999, it was 298; in the first 30 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, 691; during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001, 86.

These mishagas stories about sandstorms holding us back? We have sensors that can readily penetrate fog and sandstorms; and I can’t be the only one who knows this. We’ve used not a single Reaper drone. Not one. I can’t begin to imagine what we’re thinking: We’re planning to send 400 “advisers” into Anbar without so much as a hint that we’ll even offer them air cover when ISIS decides they’ll make a tasty afternoon snack?

Point 3: It would take me far too long to enumerate all of ISIS’s latest advances and atrocities, but among the highlights: In Libya, they just ambushed a vehicle traveling to Tripoli, taking hostage 88 Eritrean refugees. These include women, children, and an unspecified number of Christians who will surely meet the fate of the 28 Ethiopian Christian they took hostage two months ago. Teenage girls abducted by fighters in Iraq and Syria are being sold in slave markets ‘for as little as a pack of cigarettes,’” the UN envoy on sexual violence reported on Monday:

Bangura described the ordeal of several teenage girls, many of whom were part of the Yazidi minority targeted by the jihadists.

“Some were taken, locked up in a room — over 100 of them in a small house — stripped naked and washed.”

They were then made to stand in front of a group of men who decided “what you are worth”.

Bangura gave the account of a 15-year-old girl who was sold to an Isis leader, a sheikh aged in his 50s, who showed her a gun and a stick and asked her “tell me what you want”.

“She said ‘the gun’ and he replied: ‘I didn’t buy you so that you could kill yourself’,” before raping her, Bangura said.

Abducting girls has become a key part of the Isis strategy to recruit foreign fighters who have been travelling to Iraq and Syria in record numbers over the last 18 months.

“This is how they attract young men: we have women waiting for you, virgins that you can marry,” Bangura said. “The foreign fighters are the backbone of the fighting.”

Meanwhile, as we meditate thoughtfully on the entirely atypical and unexpected phenomenon of sandstorms in the desert and count the hapless prospective hostages we might usefully send to Anbar, ISIS staged attacks in Amariya al Falluja. That means they’re now about 37 miles southwest of Baghdad. They also attacked Surt, capturing a critical power plant on the coastal road to Misurata. That means they can shut off the power in central and Western Libya. The Kurds — our great hope, remember them? — are reportedly beginning to panic:

The Kurds desperately need an influx of arms and supplies in order to be able to continue to hold their 600-mile long border against ISIS attacks.

The need for weapons has only increased over the past months as the militant group has effectively plundered Iraqi military bases after overrunning cities, Yaroslav Trofimov reports from Kurdish-controlled areas for The Wall Street Journal. 

“Peshmerga ammunition stocks are running low and whatever heavy weapons they have are mostly of Saddam Hussein-era vintage,” Trofimov reports, citing Peshmerga commanders. Currently, Kurdish lines throughout Iraq consist of defenses manned by Peshmerga troops armed with outdated weapons with dwindling supplies of ammunition.

And although the Peshmerga have put up an effective defense since being driven back by an ISIS offensive last summer, their positions could be easily overrun should ISIS launch a concentrated assault.

“If ISIS combines its forces and pushes into one area with multiple vehicles, they will break through — and then the whole line breaks,” Jamestown Foundation analyst Wladimir van Wilgenburg told The Journal.

This concern is especially true should ISIS launch a suicide blitz like it has done previously in Ramadi and Mosul. On those occasions, the militants overwhelmed well-defended static Iraqi defensive positions through waves of suicide car bombings that demoralized and ultimately drove back the Iraqi forces.

Point 4: In the Further Annals of the Fastest Imperial Decline in the Recorded History of Humanity, Obama boldly announced last Monday at the G7 Summit in Germany that the United States does not yet have a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi security forces to reconquer territory seized by Islamic State fighters. (Yes, we know — that much is clear to the whole world, I assure you. Why it was necessary to say the obvious, I have no idea.) However, the White House has come up with this ingenious alternative to a strategy: As NPR cheerfully reports, “the Obama administration has turned to a group of social media experts — millennials.” No, I kid you not. Our millennials. The ones who still haven’t left their parents’ basements. They are, apparently,

… supposed to create an initiative or product or tool that will challenge violent extremism. Think of it as…

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TEMPLE-RASTON: “Mad Men” meets millennials.

SGRO: “Mad Men” did not have the tech savviness that we have with Gen Z and Gen Y. So it’s even uber “Mad Men.”

TEMPLE-RASTON: And yesterday was pitch day at the State Department.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STORROW: I’m now going to introduce the judges.

TEMPLE-RASTON: The judges weren’t just State Department officials. They included television and broadcast executives, terrorism experts and academics. And they sat facing the teams on stage like judges from “American Idol.” Mount Royal University from Calgary, Canada, was the first to make its pitch.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KADE GRANT-JOHANSEN: Violent extremism is the most compelling issue of our generation.

TEMPLE-RASTON: That’s Kade Grant-Johansen, a marketing and management major from Mount Royal. This group decided to start a prevention campaign called the WANT Movement. WANT stands for We Are Not Them. Patty Derbyshire was the faculty adviser.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDERS: 52 JUMAA is an interactive app which enhances personal identity, social interaction and community spirit.

TEMPLE-RASTON: That’s one of the international team members laying out the program.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) …

ANDERS: This app mobilizes positive behavior among communities of young Muslims.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Show gratitude by making tea for your mother. Show generosity by feeding a homeless person. The idea is to provide positive reinforcement. And, finally, there was Missouri State University. It had an ambitious program that aimed to unite the world against violent extremism called ONE95.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ONE95 is a digital platform for starting initiatives and receiving support.

TEMPLE-RASTON: It has a social media component, curriculum for teachers and created the hashtag #EndViolentExtremism.

Think I made that up? I wish. I couldn’t, even. Go listen for yourself.

So clearly we can say that for reasons known only to God and this Administration, Obama has no serious interest at all in repelling ISIS’s advances. Fine. We’ve got No-Drama Elagabalus in the White House.

But tell me: Why aren’t the GOP presidential candidates screaming about this? I don’t mean screaming about whose fault this is. I mean screaming the way reading the paragraphs above would make any sane person scream — no less one who proposes to become the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military and the leader of the Free World on his first day on the job.

Do you get this?

Update: The Independent is now reporting that according to Australian intelligence reports, ISIS has now seized enough radioactive material to build a devastating dirty bomb. The news just gets better by the minute.

Published in Foreign Policy, General
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  1. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    I can’t say I really understand the complaint against the GOP candidates considering you think that something has to be done NOW, Claire. Correct me if I’m wrong but the only one in a position to do something about this is our current president. Anything the current GOP candidates say will be labeled political opportunism and an attempt to undermine our current leader. Tom Cotton got raked over the coals for weeks for simply taking out an ad in the NY Times.

    The situation may well be on the verge of total collapse, but that is entirely the fault of our current president, and only he can do something about it. He’s not going to, Claire. You should accept that fact and not point fingers at people who can’t do a damn thing about it.

    • #31
  2. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Zafar:

    Claire Berlinski:

    Larry3435:I don’t understand all the handwringing about what to do. There is a hostile military force on the ground, in formation. Smashing it is what our military was built to do, and what it does better than any military force in history. No, we are not good at fighting terrorists disguised as civilians who fight by burying mines on roads and killing random civilians. No, we are not good at nation building. But this, we are very very good at.

    Go in with overwhelming force. Kill everyone standing under an ISIS flag. Blow up all of their equipment. Destroy their headquarters. Kill their commanders. Then get out. It will take less than a week.

    The Iraqis and Syrians can deal with the aftermath. It can’t possibly be any worse than it is now.

    Yep.

    No, it really can be worse. Let’s not do this ‘work it out as we go along’ thing again because we always always always get something awful that we didn’t but should have expected.

    Seriously, that’s about what Bush tried to do in 2003 and it resulted in the insurgency of AQI. That was only stopped by the surge. Stability will only be maintained by a permanent presence of US forces. So until we are willing to commit to a generations long project like we are still engaged in with North and South Korea, sending in overwhelming force is a foolish idea.

    • #32
  3. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Larry3435:Go in with overwhelming force. Kill everyone standing under an ISIS flag. Blow up all of their equipment. Destroy their headquarters. Kill their commanders. Then get out. It will take less than a week.

    The Iraqis and Syrians can deal with the aftermath. It can’t possibly be any worse than it is now.

    This presupposes a Walter Russell Mead Jacksonian foreign policy stance that the US has not had since Andrew Jackson. We didn’t turn Riyadh into a glass parking lot after 9/11, so what makes you think we’re going to do it wherever ISIS is today?

    For what it’s worth, though, this is my philosophy of war: you don’t react with force to provocation. You inform the aggressors that the third act will result in horrifying reprisals from one of the world’s nuclear powers. If they don’t take the hint, after the third time, it’s straight to the nukes, do not pass go, etc. The point being to have that generation’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren’s knees turn to water anytime anyone’s stupid enough to suggest harming the US as anything other than sick gallows humor.

    Short of that, we leave the world alone. Avoid foreign entanglements, remember? Defend our borders and skies. Put much of the current military budget into missile defense. Yep, I’m talking about Fortress America, but retaining overwhelming offensive force for responding when we are attacked.

    Attacking the US is suicide.

    That needs to be the foregone conclusion of everyone in the world. The only thing preventing it from being is our lack of will.

    • #33
  4. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    BThompson:I can’t say I really understand the complaint against the GOP candidates considering you think that something has to be done NOW, Claire. Correct me if I’m wrong but the only one in a position to do something about this is our current president. Anything the current GOP candidates say will be labeled political opportunism and an attempt to undermine our current leader. Tom Cotton got raked over the coals for weeks for simply taking out an ad in the NY Times.

    The situation may well be on the verge of total collapse, but that is entirely the fault of our current president, and only he can do something about it. He’s not going to, Claire. You should accept that fact and not point fingers at people who can’t do a damn thing about it.

    Was he out of line in saying this? 

    Does our country deserve less?

    • #34
  5. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Seems like common sense to me.

    –C. Jackson Berlinski

    • #35
  6. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    No matter what the training or equipment if an army is led poorly it will fail. You are grasping completely just how bad BHO is as Commander in Chief.

    If the Republicans are to attack him they must do so in a coherent and specific manner that makes it clear just how incompetent he is.

    I was on this specific line recently when we finally got down to the “rules of engagement” for our airstrikes. This is critical in ground support as long delays between knowing a target needs hit and being allowed to hit it are disastrous on a real active battlefield.

    Please watch video

    Micromanaging hampering US mission on ISIS

    Bound up with this is the choice of weapons. On an active battlefield against fluid small group actors like ISIS a low flying slow aircraft that can repeatedly hit the enemy as it circles & circles over the battlefield is far more effective than pre-called stikes by Mach II air superiority fighters launched from an aircraft carrier.

    Please reread my post.

    ONLY THE A10 CAN DO THIS JOB: CLOSE AIR SUPPORT OF GROUND TROOPS

    The issue of the “rules of engagement” should have been taken up by some of the leading young Republican presidential hopefuls. This issue would clarify the fools non-strategy of BHO. It would give Ash Carter something to work with.

    By maximizing the effectiveness of our air power and coordinating it with the local ground troops we could drive ISIS out and give them stinging defeats. That is what happened with the Peshmerga. They are back in trouble because the situation is once again taken for granted by the idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #36
  7. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Larry3435:I don’t understand all the handwringing about what to do. There is a hostile military force on the ground, in formation. Smashing it is what our military was built to do, and what it does better than any military force in history. No, we are not good at fighting terrorists disguised as civilians who fight by burying mines on roads and killing random civilians. No, we are not good at nation building. But this, we are very very good at.

    Go in with overwhelming force. Kill everyone standing under an ISIS flag. Blow up all of their equipment. Destroy their headquarters. Kill their commanders. Then get out. It will take less than a week.

    The Iraqis and Syrians can deal with the aftermath. It can’t possibly be any worse than it is now.

    I totally agree.  For the love of God, all we have heard is how hard it is to fight a guerrilla war against an unorganized force of civilians.  At this point it is an organized force fighting under a flag.  We are good at this [edited for CoC, although this editor agrees with the sentiment].  Crush them and leave.  As for the Kurds, give them whatever they need, at least they will fight….

    • #37
  8. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Claire Berlinski: Point 1: With all respect to our highly accomplished and experienced men and women in uniform, at this point a force of 400 military trainers in Anbar Province should properly be described as “next month’s hostages.” How could anyone of even cursory familiarity with this region — or the history of warfare, for that matter — fail to think of that immediately?

    We have arranged for the Quds Force to protect them

    • #38
  9. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Claire Berlinski:

    Was he out of line in saying this?

    Does our country deserve less?

    That would be awesome, but it is still beside the point. Not even Churchill could wake up Great Britain before it was too late, do you think we have anyone on the GOP side that is better than Churchill?

    The point stands, only Obama can do something about it and the GOP has no leverage on him to force him to act. Obama has no intention of doing anything. And unless we are ready and willing to make a generations long commitment to keep troops in Anbar, there is no point in sending in more troops as short term solutions.

    • #39
  10. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    I don’t really think the Republicans have been silent on this.  I hope the serious contenders area able to give some specifics on what they think the right course of action is soon though.  I sometimes feel like the only person in the country that thinks foreign policy is the most important thing to look at in a presidential candidate.  Nothing Obama has done has dissuaded me of that opinion however.  I don’t give a rat’s ass what they think about transgender issues or really drug legalization.  This [edited] is more important.

    • #40
  11. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Concretevol:I don’t really think the Republicans have been silent on this. I hope the serious contenders area able to give some specifics on what they think the right course of action is soon though. I sometimes feel like the only person in the country that thinks foreign policy is the most important thing to look at in a presidential candidate.

    There are at least two of us.

    Nothing Obama has done has dissuaded me of that opinion however. I don’t give a rat’s ass what they think about transgender issues or really drug legalization. This [edited] is more important.

    I agree.

    • #41
  12. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    BThompson:

     do you think we have anyone on the GOP side that is better than Churchill?

    No, I don’t, but that’s my complaint. And I don’t see why we find it so natural that this should be so.

    • #42
  13. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @IWalton

    Claire Berlinski:

    John Penfold:

    No, it is not beyond our comprehension. We don’t have another two years to wait.

    What we understand is what our Congress and White House can get their minds around.   Then once we’re in place and doing lots of stuff, what the inter agency task forces and Congress can get their minds around as they constrain themselves for posturing and photo ops, and what folks on the ground, only a few of whom will speak the language, can do in spite of always inept interest and photo op driven instructions and way too much money to spend.  We can do really big lumpy things;   Like invade and kill them.  It’s the then what that’s the problem.  It would be hard enough with adults running things, but without a leader who has a solid vision, the will to clear away all the political rubbish, who knows what he’s doing, is credible abroad and at home, it is well beyond us.  At best that is almost two years away.  

    • #43
  14. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Zafar:

    Claire Berlinski:But tell me: Why aren’t the GOP presidential candidates screaming about this?

    Because sending the US Army back into Iraq is unpopular in the US and the candidates are (electioneering) politicians.

    I’m not so sure that’s true:

    http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/03/08/iraq-opinion-polls/24276663/

    And anyway, it doesn’t matter. We don’t run wars by popular dictate. That’s why the president is commander-in-chief. The problem is not that the public may or may not want to send troops to Iraq, but that the current president doesn’t want to send troops to Iraq. (Really, the problem is that we have a public that elected Obama twice–you can’t really blame Obama for being Obama.)

    • #44
  15. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Claire Berlinski:

    BThompson:

    do you think we have anyone on the GOP side that is better than Churchill?

    No, I don’t, but that’s my complaint. And I don’t see why we find it so natural that this should be so.

    You don’t understand why we find it natural that we don’t have a once in a century leader and genius rhetorician ready to step up at any given time we need them? That is really what you don’t get?

    • #45
  16. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Claire Berlinski:

    BThompson:

    do you think we have anyone on the GOP side that is better than Churchill?

    No, I don’t, but that’s my complaint. And I don’t see why we find it so natural that this should be so.

    The GOP candidates aren’t speaking out about our lack of response to ISIS because the American people don’t want to respond to ISIS.

    That is the way things are now.

    • #46
  17. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Why aren’t the GOP presidential candidates screaming about this?

    And do what with the screaming?  We’re going to have to wait for another year and a half before we can change this, whether we want to or not.  Congress can effect the purse strings–and it should–but it cannot put a strategy into Obama’s hands and make him use it.

    For now, it’s enough to let these things speak for themselves.  And this from Bloomberg, no less.

    There’s plenty of time to take the thing up when the campaigns get rolling, after HRC gets her nomination.  Then, in addition to her sleeping through her own 3 am call, it’ll be useful to talk about her own lack of strategy in support of her mentor’s lack.

    Screaming now, whether in hysteria or anger will only deprecate the screamer.

    Eric Hines

    • #47
  18. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Claire Berlinski:Point 2: No one in his or her right mind would think air power alone a sufficient tool to defeat the Islamic State. But nor would one in his or her right mind think a near-complete failure to use air power the tool of choice, either. As retired Air Force general David A. Deptula notes, we’re now averaging 12 strike sorties per day:

    During Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, the average was 1,241; in Operation Allied Force in Kosovo in 1999, it was 298; in the first 30 days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, 691; during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001, 86.

    Don’t these numbers have something to do with the size of the enemy belligerent forces?

    In the Iraq war it was over a 500,000.

    ISIS is about 30,000?

    • #48
  19. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    BThompson:

    You don’t understand why we find it natural that we don’t have a once in a century leader and genius rhetorician ready to step up at any given time we need them? That is really what you don’t get?

    No, I do not. We are the United States of America.

    • #49
  20. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    I beg you Claire.  No more Updates.  Well . . . at least until I find that bottle of bourbon stowed in the back of the pantry.

    • #50
  21. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Well, Claire, if you look at our history, our greatest leaders have only ever emerged after a crisis has taken full bloom. Until American’s are dying and the threat comes home, you will not see the type of leadership you are pining for. We never have.

    • #51
  22. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    BThompson:Well, Claire, if you look at our history, our greatest leaders have only ever emerged after a crisis has taken full bloom. Until American’s are dying and the threat comes home, you will not see the type of leadership you are pining for. We never have.

    I would only add that we talk about Churchill because there was another time in our past when we had a rising threat that almost no one was interested in.

    With respect to Obama in particular, doing enough is an admission of error and I don’t think he has it in him to admit it, at the cost of any consequences.

    • #52
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Eric Hines:Why aren’t the GOP presidential candidates screaming about this?

    And do what with the screaming? We’re going to have to wait for another year and a half before we can change this, whether we want to or not. Congress can effect the purse strings–and it should–but it cannot put a strategy into Obama’s hands and make him use it.

    For now, it’s enough to let these things speak for themselves. And this from Bloomberg, no less.

    There’s plenty of time to take the thing up when the campaigns get rolling, after HRC gets her nomination. Then, in addition to her sleeping through her own 3 am call, it’ll be useful to talk about her own lack of strategy in support of her mentor’s lack.

    Screaming now, whether in hysteria or anger will only deprecate the screamer.

    Eric Hines

    Regarding that Bloomberg link, it just merely emphasizes my question to Claire regarding the USA’s ability to bigfoot its way in world affairs these days.

    • #53
  24. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Claire Berlinski:

    Valiuth:

    Of course if your nation can be reached by a car from Syria you might have something to worry about.

    Or a flight.

    Don’t worry, a car will do. We’re making a strong effort to increase the number of Syrian refugees we admit to the US.

    • #54
  25. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Claire Berlinski:

    BThompson:

    You don’t understand why we find it natural that we don’t have a once in a century leader and genius rhetorician ready to step up at any given time we need them? That is really what you don’t get?

    No, I do not. We are the United States of America.

    And just that mere fact insulates the USA from any limits regarding when to send soldiers and Marines?

    • #55
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Valiuth:

    Frankly, I think we could have said this (and in fact did) about nearly every psychotic totalitarian regime ever. Who really thinks the Nazis would have invaded New York? The Soviets never did either, and probably couldn’t have despite their vast armies.

    I think that your view is historically inaccurate.  The Nazis were a major threat.  If they had taken out the UK — which was a close-run thing in 1940 and 1941 — they could have picked up the British fleet and added it to the Japanese, French, Italian, and of course their own fleet.  It would have been very difficult for the US to defeat that combination of sea power in 1942 or 1943.

    Technically, I agree that an invasion of New York remained unlikely.  But the geopolitical picture would have been completely altered, and we would have faced a triumphant Hitler and Tojo with overwhelming sea power.  Yikes.

    A Soviet invasion was also unlikely, even putting aside the existence of nukes by the time that the Soviets became a threat.  The issue was geopolitical domination, and they were a major threat if the combination of NATO and American nukes hadn’t kept them out of Western Europe.

    • #56
  27. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Brad2971:

    And just that mere fact insulates the USA from any limits regarding when to send soldiers and Marines?

    No, it suggests to me that we should be more than able to give rise to great leadership.

    • #57
  28. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Claire Berlinski:

    Brad2971:

    And just that mere fact insulates the USA from any limits regarding when to send soldiers and Marines?

    No, it suggests to me that we should be more than able to give rise to great leadership.

    What if the rest of the world is perfectly OK with the US “leading from behind” (in that nasty Obama vernacular)?

    • #58
  29. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    Claire Berlinski: As NPR cheerfully reports, “the Obama administration has turned to a group of social media experts — millennials.”

    On reading these words I recalled a fragment of a sentence that is well known to those of us of a certain age: “Ask Amy”.

    The survivors of the Carter Presidency know what I am talking about.

    • #59
  30. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Politically:

    I see no reasonable prospect that Obama will do anything useful about ISIS.  He’s not going to suddenly become Churchill, or even Bush ’43.  While Obama remains in office, I do not see any reasonable prospect that any Republican or group of Republicans will change this.

    I see no political advantage, at present, for any Republican candidate to take a firm stand regarding any particular action against ISIS at the present time.  Whatever they may recommend will not be done, so the usefulness of any suggestions will remain hypothetical.  If the ISIS situation becomes much worse, any Republican candidate will benefit in the general election next year, regardless of what he or she says now.  If the ISIS situation doesn’t look too bad next year, then anything that a Republican candidate said in mid-2015 will look like overreaction.

    As much as I’d like to see the US military crush these ISIS savages, in the big picture, ISIS does not appear to be much of a threat to the US or its vital interests.  They are not going to topple the Saudis or the Iranians.  The oil will continue to flow.  There don’t seem to be any real “good guys” in the region anyway, so it’s hard to see who we should back.

    Obama’s negotiations with Iran are, in my view, much more important than ISIS.

    • #60
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