Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today's Obama Speech Sounded Good, But .....

President Obama delivered a 15 month speech today, laying out his “strategy” for fighting ISIL It was the President Obama of 7 years ago, reading a speech with cadence and emotion – not the all too often perfunctory speeches since his election. His heart may actually be into it. He proposed attacking the financing of ISIL, combating their ideology, and stopping the inflow and outflow of militants to ISIL All these steps are for the good. And yet, he can’t confront reality. He still intends to withdraw from Afghanistan, thereby repeating the mistake in puling out of Iraq. He hasn’t learnt from his mistake. The Taliban have already reoccupied much of Afghanistan, and seem poised to seize the rest. Second, there will be no American boots on the ground, although he is dispatching another 375 service members to Iraq. He’s firm, but it sounds like the beginning of a poorly panned mission creep. He is relying on “a systematic campaign of air strikes” Third, he will be relying on existing Arab and Iraqi boots on the ground. The Iraqis proved an inability to fight to date. The Syrian opposition forces were bad-mouthed by the President in early August. He now expects them to suddenly, overnight become a solid fighting force. Most of ISIL tanks, APC’s, and heavy mortars were captured or obtained from the retreating Iraqis and the opposition forces. Fourth, he still refuses to use the terms “War on Terror,” “Islamic Terrorism,” “Radical Islam” or even “Islamic extremists.” Instead he said “The Islamic State” is not Islamic because “No religion condones the killing of innocents.” He is still in denial. He also did not say he would do “whatever” it will take to defeat and destroy ISIL He is proposing a “broad Coalition,” which will be substantially less than the coalition President George W. Bush. England has already said it will not engage in a bombing campaign in Syria. He had already blown off our special relationship with Great Britain. The understory is that much is expected of Turkey, which hitherto has been sympathetic to ISIL. ISIL captured Mosul on June 11. They took prisoner the Turkish Consul General, 18 staffers and their family members, and 18 Turkish Special Forces acting as security for the Consulate. ISIS is holding them hostage against hostile acts by Turkey. President Obama’s speech did not rally Congressional bipartisan support for his actions. He claims the power to do so unilaterally. He looked to Yemen and Somalia as examples of American strategy at work. He must not, once again, not reading or heeding the morning Presidential Briefs. Yemen and Somalia are terrorist ridden, failed nation states. Finally, the President has been substantially downgrading the American military. He did not request Congress to stop the diminution, much less enlarge the military. The President may have acquired talking points, but he still lacks a strategy.

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