Obama Must Be Honest About The Possibility Of American Ground Troops In His War Against ISIS

President Obama is still insisting that his war against ISIS will not require American ground troops. He's not being honest with the American people.

Barack Obama

As I noted yesterday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey raised some eyebrows he he stated that he would not rule out the use of American troops in a combat role in operations against ISIS in Iraq or, potentially, Syria notwithstanding the fact that the President and several members of the Administration have been repeating for weeks that there would be no American ground troops involved in the fight against ISIS. Today, the Army Chief of Staff essentially repeated Dempsey’s comments during a visit to Germany:

WIESBADEN, Germany — The United States general who beat back Islamic extremists in Iraq in 2007 suggested on Wednesday that the battle against Islamic State jihadis would only succeed with the use of ground forces.

Speaking a day after his commander, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American ground troops might be needed in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno was careful not to specify that those ground troops had to be American. But he made clear that success would be dependent on the presence of forces from all of Iraq’s sectarian groups.

Airstrikes have halted the advance of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, General Odierno, now the Army chief of staff, told journalists from four news organizations, including The New York Times, in what aides said were his first public comments on the current situation in Iraq. Ultimately, though, “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said, referring to the Islamic extremists.

The airstrikes “will not be the end all and be all solution in Iraq,” he said. Similarly, he added, the jihadis cannot be allowed to have a safe haven across the border in Syria.

Later in the day, though, after a meeting at Central Command in Tampa, President Obama was singing a far different tune from two of his top military advisers:

TAMPA, Fla. — President Obama on Wednesday repeated his vow to destroy Islamist terrorists in Syria and Iraq, but he insisted that the United States would not go it alone and promised a military audience that he would not send them back into direct combat.

“Whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn the same thing that the leaders of Al Qaeda already know: We mean what we say,” Mr. Obama said at MacDill Air Force Base. “We’ve always known that the end of the war in Afghanistan didn’t mean the end of threats or challenges to America.”

But Mr. Obama also hailed the official end of America’s combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of the year and said he was not starting another extensive war in the Middle East. He said the American troops currently in Iraq — they will soon number 1,600 — were not there to fight on the ground.

“The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” he said. “I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

Mr. Obama was at the base to meet with his top military commanders at United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, and his national security team, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. A week ago the president told the nation that he was expanding the American military campaign against the extremists of the Islamic State, known as ISIS or ISIL.

Afterward Mr. Obama told servicemembers in a packed gym on the base that the United States had a unique responsibility and capability to lead the world in attacking the extremists, also known as ISIS.

But he vowed that “we are not going to do this alone” and said that more than 40 countries had offered to help the United States in assisting Iraqis and rebels in Syria to fight against the terrorists. He did not give any new information about which countries might provide ground troops in Iraq or Syria, but he said America’s military partners would include a “broad coalition of countries that have a stake in this fight.”

(…)

Mr. Obama’s comments at the base came just a day after Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president’s top military adviser, generated headlines when he said that he might eventually recommend deploying ground troops in Syria if airstrikes were not sufficient to defeat the Islamic State extremists.

Aides later said that despite General Dempsey’s comments to a committee on Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama would not deploy combat forces on the ground in Iraq or Syria. They said Mr. Dempsey was merely describing contingency plans that the military is responsible for developing as operations in the region move forward.

As I noted yesterday, there is a difference between the comments that Generals Dempsey and Odierno  made and the President’s oft-repeated statements that American troops deployed to Iraq would not have a “combat role.” The Generals are in some sense simply stating the fact that they would not rule out any ccontingenciesin making recommendations to the President and, as I said yesterday, that’s exactly what they ought to be doing. At the same time, though, there is something at least slightly disingenuous between an Administration whose top military advisers are stating explicitly and repeatedly that we cannot rule out the possibility of a combat role for American troops and a President who is in fact ruling them out. Obviously, if this is what Dempsey and Odierno  are stating publicly, one in a Congressional hearing and the other in response to reporters questions, then we can be assured that they and other military advisers are saying this and more to the President and his advisers in private. Given that, I would suggest that the President isn’t being entirely honest when he rules out the possibility that American forces will need to become involved in combat when it’s obvious that his own Generals are telling him that such a possibility cannot be ruled out under the current plan. Indeed, Odierno’s comments that airstrikes on their own will not be enough to accomplish the President’s mission in Iraq would seem to suggest that the possibility of widening our military commitment beyond what the President outlined last Wednesday is already being actively considered. If that’s the case, then the President owes it to the American people to be honest about that fact before they get behind his strategy against ISIS which, in all honesty, has not been very clearly articulated to begin with and appears to rely on an international coalition that has yet to take shape and “moderate” Syrian rebels that don’t seem very trustworthy.

Another point worth bringing up is one that General Dempsey hit on in his testimony yesterday in response to a question about what the role of the American forces, on the ground and in the air were actually involved in at this point. Dempsey stated that, from his point of view at least, there were already American forces engaged in a Iraq in a combat role, specifically the airmen who have been attacking ISIS targets for the last two months. In that sense, then the idea that Americans aren’t already involved in combat is really nothing more than a fiction that the Obama Administration is maintaining because the political costs of acknowledging that we may well be headed down the road of another American ground war in Iraq is more than the President and his political party want to bear at the moment. Regardless of the political cost, though, the President is committing the nation to what his own advisers are admitting is likely to be a mission that will last years, most likely into the term of the next President. Given that, he has an obligation to be honest with the American people about what that commitment could amount to as we get further sucked into this conflict. Anything less means that he isn’t doing his job, and that he will likely pay a political price down the road if he finds it necessary to go back on the promise he has made to the American people, a promise that his own advisers seem to be admitting he likely won’t be able to keep.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Military Affairs, National Security, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. alanstorm says:

    “Obama Must Be Honest…”

    I don’t care what anybody says – y’all are writing better comedy than The Nation!

  2. michael reynolds says:

    1) Army generals have a deep, institutional bias in favor of ground troops. Guess who you don’t need if you don’t need ground troops? That’s right: Army generals and Army weapons systems and funding which will go to the real enemy if air power does the trick. . .The Air Force.

    2) I don’t believe Mr. Obama is being quite honest, but not in the way you think. He’s talking “obliteration” and taking steps for containment. This is political, not just for domestic consumption but international as well.

    3) The steps being taken are perfectly adequate for a policy of containment.

    4) What’s your plan, Doug? What’s anyone’s realistic plan?

  3. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Doug’s entire plan, so far as I can see, is:

    1.Do nothing.
    2.Hope for best.
    3. Fling poo at Obama’s plan.

    Somehow I don’t think it will work, out there in the real world.

  4. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Airpower won’t do the trick without guys eventually being on the ground to control the airstrikes. At this point, when the targets are far from friendly ground troops–which includes any of our Kurdish and Iraqi allied forces–it’s not necessary. But as soon as ground troops get involved, you have to have someone there to coordinate and provide final control and clearance to drop the bombs. I guarantee you nobody in any of those allied forces is capable. It will have to be American JTACs, and they aren’t going to go in alone. And even if they did, JTACs sure as hell count as combat troops, even if it does say “Air Force” on their uniforms. I know because I was once an ETAC, the predecessor to the JTAC.

    I believe it a certainty that American ground troops will get involved in a direct combat role.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    What he really needs to be honest about is that if we are serious about defeating ISIL we are going to have to make nice with Assad and Iran.

  6. John425 says:

    As CinC he does as he wishes but when the Arab world is overrun and they mass on Israel’s borders he’ll no doubt blame Bush.

  7. Ben Wolf says:

    Doug,

    War is too important to be left to generals, particularly when said generals want in on the action. IS is literally surrounded by its enemies; if they can’t take care of the ground component while backed by the U.S. Navy and Air Force then IS is here to stay and we should simply wash our hands of the problem.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    Special forces can handle targeting and in this odd world we live in they don’t count as “boots on the ground.” Special forces are already there – as evidenced by the fact that have run a couple hundred bombing missions so far.

    If all we’re doing is containing – which I believe is the reality — we need air power, drones, spotters and local forces. We’ll also inevitably have advisers with the Kurds and the Iraqis.

    Don’t forget that everyone kept saying we’d need ground forces in Libya, and Mr. Obama, true to his word, did not do that. Obama will not send in serious ground forces. The only way I see that changing is if ISIS hits the US or Europe with something pretty major.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @John425:

    You know, pop a couple Advil and it’ll bring that fever right down.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    To this day people don’t realize that a big part of our trouble in Iraq came because we listened to the generals. We listened to the wrong generals.

    Generals are just like any other professional – some are brilliant, and some are putzes. Or brilliant at one thing (Patton and armored assaults) and suck at something else (Patton and logistics.)

  11. Grewgills says:

    As I noted yesterday, there is a difference between the comments that Generals Dempsey and Odierno made and the President’s oft-repeated statements that American troops deployed to Iraq would not have a “combat role.”

    Not really, or not in the way you are implying. If you are simply stating that special forces will have to be involved for targeting of air strikes then that strikes me as too small a distinction to merit as much space as you have been giving it. If, on the other hand, you are saying that you think we will have to move in army and marines to take the fight directly to ISIL on the ground, then you are overstating your case. Saying there must be ground troops to root out ISIL forces is NOT saying that those ground troops need to be American. Obama can indeed rule out American ground troops (sans ‘advisors’ and special forces) without contradicting what the generals are saying. Those ground troops should be Kurds, other Iraqis (backed by Iran), and other regional players. That you cannot or will not acknowledge this is on you, not Obama. If the regional powers won’t pony up the ground troops there is absolutely no reason we should. They are the ones that face some danger, not us.

  12. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: I agree. It became pretty clear our military leadership had no idea what it was doing then and doesn’t now. They seem very good at lobbying for opportunities to bolster their budgets.

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  14. C. Clavin says:

    Do I believe Obama , or a Mataconis post?
    Hmmmmmm

  15. bill says:

    they won’t be “troops”- they’ll be “advisers”, heavily armed but still “advisers”. it’s like deja vu, all over again.

    oh, doug’s not the guy who pulled out too soon….as “the people” wanted. but then again, “the people” didn’t want obamacare – and we still got that.

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Obama must be honest? Why the hell should he start now?

    Actually, by Obama’s standards, he is being honest. Just remember — every single Obama promise comes with an expiration date. Every. Single. One. This one will, most likely, have a sooner expiration date than others.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Please provide us with a list.Here’s mine:

    1) He promised he would follow Al Qaeda into Pakistan. Did it.
    2) Promised he’d get Osama. Did it.
    3) Said he’d pass Obamacare. Did it.
    4) Promised no ground troops in Libya. Kept that.

    Now let’s see your list. And while you’re producing it, explain why “every single one” doesn’t account for the four I was able to pull out of my butt in ten seconds.

    Are you getting dumber? I mean, how do you not anticipate how easy it would be to blow you out of the water? Drunk? High? Alzheimers?

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    8 minutes, dude. 8 minutes from the time you posted that bit of dumabassery, that’s how long until you were refuted. Not that it took me the full 8. I just got home, sat down, and in 60 seconds killed you. I do not understand how you feed or dress yourself.

  19. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Special forces are already there – as evidenced by the fact that have run a couple hundred bombing missions so far.

    Yeah, we call them “advisers” but one would have to be pretty naive to think calling “cleared hot” on a flight of F-18s doesn’t count as combat action.

    I’m not really hard over on calling the President out on this, I know he’s saying what he has to politically. Cynical, maybe, but realistic.

  20. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh, snap.

  21. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    I was hoping you would school us a bit more on the teachings of Jesus. You kind of vanished from that thread 🙂

  22. anjin-san says:

    Just remember — every single Obama promise comes with an expiration date. Every. Single. One.

    Here’s how PoliFact rates Obama on promise keeping:

    Promise Kept 45%
    Compromise 24%
    Promise Broken 22%
    Stalled 1%
    In the Works 7%

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/

    Every comment Jenos makes will be stupid. Every. Single. One.

  23. mannning says:

    One missing set of numbers to me is the effective strength of the kurds and Iraqis. If they are not numerous enough or effective ehough, even with our advisors, this whole episode will be far more than just an embarassment. Iraqis were not noted in general for their bravery in Gulf I or II, and our training and equipment did not seem to make any difference when they faced ISIS jihadists.

    Further, it is apparent that to retake the cities you must fight the ISIS jihadists street by street with ground forces. Air power can interdict and destroy some vehicles, and some troop concentrations, but they cannot displace the ISIS hold on cities with their relatively innocent populations in the way.

    I am not sure that either the Kurdish forces or the Iraqi forces are up to the task now, and to bring them up that far I believe is a daunting task. If Obama really wants to destroy ISIS in this century he must find enough troops from somewhere to do the heavy lifting, probably at least two or three well trained armored brigades and support, if not more.

  24. mannning says:

    One missing set of numbers to me is the effective strength of the kurds and Iraqis. If they are not numerous enough or effective ehough, even with our advisors, this whole episode will be far more than just an embarassment. Iraqis were not noted in general for their bravery in Gulf I or II, and our training and equipment did not seem to make any difference when they faced ISIS jihadists.

    Further, it is apparent that to retake the cities you must fight the ISIS jihadists street by street with ground forces. Air power can interdict and destroy some vehicles, and some troop concentrations, but they cannot displace the ISIS hold on cities with their relatively innocent populations in the way.

    I am not sure that either the Kurdish forces or the Iraqi forces are up to the task now, and to bring them up that far I believe is a daunting task. If Obama really wants to destroy ISIS in this century he must find enough troops from somewhere to do the heavy lifting, probably at least two or three well trained armored brigades and support, if not more.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @mannning:

    Nah. Contain them and they’ll die off. Look where they are on the map, the only possible way they can go is to Saudi Arabia, otherwise they’re in a box. They’ll have their little Caliphate and it’ll collapse, nibbled to death by Iraq and Kurdistan and Syria, and bombed by us. They’re screwed if they don’t break out.

  26. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Don’t see why you think I’m feverish. Even you can muster enough brain cells to realize that Obama is an incompetent or a liar. Where in the world are we better off in international relations since Obama took office? Uzbekistan?

  27. Grewgills says:

    @John425:

    Where in the world are we better off in international relations since Obama took office?

    Where are we not? I defy you to find any country of note that we don’t have better relations with now than before Obama took office. I’ll match you five to one. In fact, why don’t we make it interesting. If I can’t show you polling or other compelling evidence at a 5 to 1 ratio that shows we are more popular with foreign nations now than the last year of Bush 43’s tenure in the WH I will admit you were right in any thread of your choosing and will not comment on this blog for a month. If I can, you admit on this thread that I was right and you stay away from this blog for a month. What do you say? Can your research back up your bald assertions?

  28. dazedandconfused says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    I think we should admit we screwed up and accept Assad re-gaining full control of Syria is the least worst option myself, but I doubt Obama is lying about that. By agreeing to overtly fund a rebellion against the Syrian government, Congress has agreed with Obama to effectively declare war against Assad, whether or not they have realized that yet.

  29. Robin Cohen says:

    @michael reynolds: With all of his lovely promises, including change we can believe in(what happened to that one?) we are still up the creek in the middle east and, once again, he is promising something he CANNOT deliver-no boots on the ground. I don’t care what euphemism you use: trainer, support personnel, whatever, they are “boots on the ground,” OUR soldiers risking THEIR lives, to once again wipe Iraq’s ass.
    Obama IS a liar and we are buying into his lies.

  30. Robin Cohen says:

    @munchboxgrad: What I WOULD see as positive is evidence that the g-d Iraqis have learned to stand up for themselves and not to rely on US to do their fighting. The whole damn Middle East mess is about religious/tribal crap, including ISIS. We should fight and die for THAT? Religious wars are from the Middle Ages and so are the residents of the Middle East. Obama is pacifying us by saying “no boots on the ground.” If he really meant that, he would destroy the ground on which ISIS lives just as we did in Japan in WWll-destroy the root of the problem. One bomb here, another one there will just drag out the war and kill more of our soldiers.

  31. Tyrell says:

    “ISIS Plot Foiled In Australia!” “ISIS Member In US!” “Iran Questions US Resolve” “ISIS Seizes More Territory” These headlines are enough to stand your hair on end. The photograghs and videos are beyond belief. Apparently air attacks alone are not going to stop this group of murderers. By the time the Iraqis are ready to fight them, if ever, ISIS will be over here ! We are entering the apocalyptic age !

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell:

    We are entering the apocalyptic age !

    A hundred years ago Europe was engaged in a continent wide war that would kill millions. Seventy years ago we were engaged in a world wide war to defeat fascism. Thirty years ago we and the Russians were staring down each others launch tubes expecting a war that would destroy the world. THIS is an apocalyptic age?

    I remember a couple years after 9/11 hearing a lady on the radio saying she had to drive through a tunnel twice a day and every time she entered the tunnel, she was terrified the terrorists would blow it up. “The terrorists are ruining my life!” I wanted to somehow grab the radio and shout at her, “Lady, it ain’t the terrorists who are ruining your life!” Get grip, Tyrell.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    You and Butters need to calm the fvck down. They are trying to scare you. That’s the definition of terrorism. Be strong, little man.

  34. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    1) Army generals have a deep, institutional bias in favor of ground troops. Guess who you don’t need if you don’t need ground troops? That’s right: Army generals and Army weapons systems and funding which will go to the real enemy if air power does the trick. . .The Air Force.

    Actually my impression is that lately army generals aren’t particularly interested in sending troops into combat unless they’ve overwhelming numbers, and intensely dislike going into situations which will end up being a long police action after a short war – they’d be okay fighting Russians in the Ukraine, but not interested in going into anywhere in the middle east.. Certainly that was the case when Bush the younger went into Iraq; the generals were reluctant to go to war (enough so that it was commented upon by some of Bush’s staff, who made the interesting comment that the decision to go to war was too important to leave to generals, who were too worried about troop casualties since going through Vietnam as junior officers). When it was clear that Bush wanted the war, the generals wanted much larger numbers than was politically convenient (in retrospect it seems the generals knew what they were talking about), and seem to have leaked their unhappiness to the press. Not exactly a group itching to get into any battle available.

    The conservative comments at the time suggested the generals wanted the huge defense budget, but didn’t want to actually have to do anything for it (like invade Iraq).

    If that was the case then, and still is now, then its likely the generals aren’t the ones pushing for boots on the ground, unless the Vietnam generation has now retired and there’s a new generation more eager for sending soldiers into peace keeping missions.

    I think Obama has no right course of action, just different options for downsides. Which is pretty much the standard situation in the middle east. There’s no way to fix it. He certainly didn’t break it (if anyone it was Bush Jr, though even that is too simple, we could be in the same situation from some internal revolt if the Iraq war had never happened). Sometimes there’s no solution (something you learn from the start as an engineer – there are things we just can’t do, with all the good will and intelligence in the world).

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Leapin’ lizards…those guys above made a fool of you, eh? Again. Kinda typical, eh?
    They did a great job of it so I won’t bother piling on…but I am curious…do you ever stop and wonder why everything you type is so absolutely wrong? Or are you so completely lacking in self-awareness that it never even dawns on you?
    I mean seriously…how do you get thru the day being so fvcking wrong about everything? Balance your check-book…oops got it wrong. 5th bounced check this month. Oops…put bleach in with the colors. Damn…put anti-freeze in the oil fill cap of your mom’s car. Ran out of gas on the your moped…again. Ouch…put salt on your Fruit Loops instead of sugar. Late again to work…never get the am/pm thing right on mom’s alarm clock. Burnt the pasta again.
    Dude…your entire life must be one continuous fvck-up after another.

  36. beth says:

    @Tyrell: Would you click on those headlines if they said “ISIS Didn’t Attack US Today”? You’re being manipulated – don’t fall for it.

  37. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama must be honest? Why the hell should he start now?
    Actually, by Obama’s standards, he is being honest. Just remember — every single Obama promise comes with an expiration date. Every. Single. One. This one will, most likely, have a sooner expiration date than others.

    Remember when conservatives said the same thing about the run-up to Libya? How we’ll be mired in another war, American troops dying, and all of the usual “the sky is falling” dire predictions? Well, no American troops died in Libya.

  38. Crusty Dem says:

    Judging from the wingers here, there’s a vast market for rubber sheets and moisture-retaining undergarments.

    A few thousand nutjobs 10,000 miles away is hardly an existential threat. That doesn’t mean we sit on our hands, but do we really need constant panic? I thought we were stronger than that..

  39. stonetools says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    So your plan to deal with ISIS is?

    1.
    2.
    3.

    Pro tip: wringing your hands about screwed up the Middle East is and how Obama isn’t the solving the problems of the Middle East through magical non violent means isn’t a plan.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    @munchboxgrad:
    It wasn’t an Embassy. If your opinions are based on factual errors and mis-information…then perhaps they need to be re-thought???

  41. Scott says:

    Realistically, ISIS is not that strong. They made a lot of gains early because of surprise. Since then, they have been slowly retreating. They’ve had to resort to horrific beheadings because they can’t perform elsewhere. The irresponsible in Congress and the Press have been hysterically pumping up the threat.

    The US doesn’t really need to be there at all except to handhold the Kurks, Iraqis and others in the region.

    Quite frankly, the Turks could take out ISIS all by themselves.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    The question was whether Mr. Obama kept his promise that there would be no US ground troops in Libya. The promise was kept.

    The question of whether we like the results in Libya – answer: no — is a separate issue.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    The 1,2,3 thing is like Kryptonite to people. No one has anything. Nothing. It’s kind of astounding.

  44. Jack says:

    Obama Must Be Honest

    See, that’s where your argument breaks down.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    This from a man who feeds entirely from Roger Ailes’ 24-hour pig trough of lies.

  46. anjin-san says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    Obama IS a liar

    This is coming from someone who thinks Turkey is an Arab state…

  47. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Do you ever come up for air or is you mouth firmly planted on Obama’s backside?

  48. Jack says:

    There are already more than 1,000 pairs of American military boots on the ground in this effort to destroy ISIS. Yet, because they are not yet directly engaged in the use of violence in pursuit of ISIS fighters (they are training others to do so or finding targets to destroy by air), or because they are Special Forces and thus out of uniform (but no doubt armed and violent and wearing boots), the president feels he has a clear conscience when he says there are no boots on the ground.

    Obama makes Clinton look like a novice when it comes to lies.

  49. Robin Cohen says:

    @munchboxgrad: I never said he was smart and he is ignorant of fighting wars. Look at that dopey group of so called advisors he relies on.

  50. Robin Cohen says:

    @Jack: Lying is one of the few things he does well. Plenty of practice as President.

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    That’s about what I thought we’d get, a random collection of the impossible and the deeply stupid.

  52. de stijl says:

    Doug:

    Obama Must Be Honest About The Possibility Of American Ground Troops In His War Against ISIS

    Per my understanding, Obama needs to do exactly three things according to the AUMF. Those three being: jack, diddly, and squat.

    Perhaps we should petition the House and Senate to rescind the AUMF (and suggesting they actually follow the War Powers Act) before Obama leaves office.

    This President is far more likely to not resist such moves than anyone I can see being President in 2106.

    HRC is tempermentally much more likely to be an Interventionist than Obama (primarily because of humanitarian concerns, but humanitarian Interventionism can still spin out of control into occupation and nation building). And whomever the Rs eventually nominate will likely be of the “Bomb ’em all” camp if not in temperment, then because of the Republican primary / caucus voters – they will demand it. (Which is why Rand Paul can’t win the nomination unless he totally reinvents himself).

    Now is the time to rescind the AUMF and demand that Congress actually live up to its responsibilities as spelled out in the War Powers Act.

  53. Robin Cohen says:

    @stonetools: Bomb the crap out of them. Don’t leave any alive or and land for them to rebuild.

  54. Eric Florack says:

    : @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Exactly so.
    as for when this promise expires, look to the mid-terms

  55. Scott says:

    And let’s not forget, the Iraqis don’t want our troops there also.

    http://news.yahoo.com/ap-interview-iraq-premier-says-no-foreign-troops-134747998.html

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Jenos and Eric…sitting in the echo chamber…

  57. bobnoxious says:

    @Jack: Jack, do or do you not want US boots on the ground there?

  58. Crusty Dem says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    Ms Coulter, the current regiment of electroshock treatments are not working. While progress has been somewhat promising (you did not mention “convert their leaders to Christianity”), your worldview still demonstrates delusions of grandeur and a poor grasp of reality. The medical staff believes that by upping the voltage and repeating the treatment many times, it may be possible to reduce bouts of psychosis and possibly enter back into society.

    Sincerely,
    Dr Wellbutrin

    PS – as usual, all treatments will covered completely by Obamacare.

  59. Jack says:

    @bobnoxious: 1) I want a decision by this administration. No half measures or double-speak, either we are all in or all out. 2) Provide that decision to the military 3) Get out of the way and let those whose profession is to kill people and break things do their job

  60. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: patton and Logistics?
    seems to be the bulge was a great show of logistical prowess.

  61. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Actually, no. Patton had lots of problems with logistics, it was never his thing, going back to Sicily. Also had problems with joint operations. And of course he was politically an imbecile and undisciplined. Not to mention being decades behind the times when it came to battle fatigue, which had long since been recognized in the army’s own literature.

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    The Reality is this

    I don’t think that word, reality, means what you think it means.

  63. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    regain Iraqi territory that was lost and annex it as sovereign us territory

    Brilliant!!!
    We can conquer the world!!!!
    Next up…Mars!!!

  64. @michael reynolds:

    Special forces can handle targeting and in this odd world we live in they don’t count as “boots on the ground.”

    “this odd world we live in” being one where the president is a Democrat. If a Republican ever becomes president, they will magically become combat troops again.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    And there we have it: “Bomb the crap out of them.” Because you liked the results in Libya?

    Bomb the crap out of who, the innocent Kurdish civilians in Mosul? Here’s from Wiki: Mosul and its surrounding villages remained home to a mixture of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens, a few Jews, and isolated populations of Yazidis and Mandeans.

    Bomb the crap out of ISIS and who takes over next? Any suggestions?

    Bomb the crap out of them to empower Iran? Or should we also bomb the crap out of Iran? How about Assad? Crap bombing or no?

    You people never have anything that doesn’t come down to tons of random, misplaced violence, it’s your answer to everything. It’s always about some simple-minded macho display, as if all you have to do is wag your dick around and by golly the whole world would fall down and worship your phallus.

    We did macho strutting, genius, it’s why we’re in this mess now. We did it your way and now we are reaping the results. We’ve already seen what your idiotic approach has caused. As usual, Mr. Obama is in the position of having to clean up the astounding mess your crew left behind.

    The smart move — the only smart move — is containment. That’s what we did with the Soviets. Contain and wait for the stupidities of their system to bring them down.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Actually, no. It’s the same standard we’ve had for basically forever. We also have no “boots on the ground” in Columbia and Yemen and Somalia and a bunch of other places around the world. Get your facts straight, and that does not mean regurgitating Roger Ailes agitprop.

  67. michael reynolds says:

    In fact, why don’t you ignoramuses show us on the map just who you want to “bomb the crap” out of? Which populations? Just who do you mean? ISIS or every Muslim?

    And how long do you propose occupying central Iraq and Syria? Is it years, decades or centuries? What’s that going to cost? What’s it going to gain us?

    “Bombing the crap” out of people requires targeting, which means we need to know who we are hitting and where and why. The sum total of your knowledge is that ISIS made a snuff video and you wimps peed yourselves. You generally do.

  68. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Contain and wait for the stupidities of their system to bring them down.

    That would require faith in our own system.

  69. Robin Cohen says:

    @michael reynolds: How else do we get rid of the little bastards? Some idiot on TV suggested giving them economic and other kinds of help. You like that idea? Bombing shortened the wars in Germany and Japan. We finished them off. I don’t think our rifles or grenades or selective bombing will do that.

  70. Robin Cohen says:

    @michael reynolds: Containment will not work. They need to be physically destroyed. Take no prisoners. Level Iraq and Syria where ISIS is known to be, for a start. I don’t believe that a threat this large can ever be contained.

  71. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s a puzzler for the “bomb the crap” out of them crowd:

    1) The most potent ground force in what’s left of Iraq is the Shiite militia which are working for/with Iran and are violently anti-American.

    2) The most potent military force in Syria, is Assad, an Alawite which is a Shiite-related denomination.

    3) The Kurds are capable but only interested in getting back what’s theirs, they aren’t volunteering to conquer other Sunnis for us.

    So, if we obliterate ISIS, who moves into that geographical space? Assad and the Shiite militias. Right? And who does that benefit? I’ll give you a clue: it starts with “I” and ends with “ran.”

    So, unless you intend to try and colonize that desert, you need to explain how your approach does anything but help Iran.

  72. michael reynolds says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    The threat is 30,000 people in the desert without an air force and completely surrounded by stronger forces.

    This is what it takes to make you wet yourself? Man, you’d have had to hide in the basement in 1942.

  73. de stijl says:

    Hotheaded blood vengeance is the obvious basis for any rational foreign policy.

    C’mon, what could possibly go wrong?

  74. michael reynolds says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    regain the lost northern Iraqi territory, it becomes sovereign US territory

    I’ll give you this: you did a fairly convincing right winger at the start, and I fell for it, but now you’re pushing it too far and even I can see you’re a troll.

    But really, isn’t trolling comments sections kind of juvenile, and juvenile circa 2005 to boot?

  75. mannniing says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If the ISIS do not break out and run for it, they will be bottled up in the cities, together with a large population of civilians as hostages. If we starve them out, we hit the civilians as well. How do we save the civilians?

  76. Moosebreath says:

    An interesting , if depressing, read from Matt Stoller on ISIS’s origins and why we aren’t getting more cooperation from the region. One key paragraph:

    “In other words, ISIS got its start in Syria as part of the Arab Spring uprising, and it was financed by Saudi Arabia to go up against Assad. The Gulf states were using Syria to fight a proxy war against Iran, and the precursor of ISIS was one of their proxies in that war. It’s hard to imagine that today ISIS isn’t at least tacitly tolerated by a host of countries in the region, though its goodwill from neighboring countries may be running out. Today, ISIS may be self-sustaining, though it’s quite possible that money is still coming from conservative wealthy individuals in the Gulf states, money which originally comes from the West in the form of oil purchases.”

  77. Rafer Janders says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    Level Iraq and Syria where ISIS is known to be, for a start.

    Level the desert? Um…..

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @mannniing:
    Where was your concern for the civilians when your man Bush was killing 100,00+ of them,?

  79. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, that’s karma for ya. A couple days after I bust reynolds for hyperbole and absolutes, he gets to do the same to me. Somewhat embarrassing.

    But let’s look at those examples of yours…

    1) He promised he would follow Al Qaeda into Pakistan. Did it.
    2) Promised he’d get Osama. Did it.
    3) Said he’d pass Obamacare. Did it.
    4) Promised no ground troops in Libya. Kept that.

    1 and 2 are pretty much the same. But funny how Bin Laden was living half a mile from Pakistan’s West Point, safe and secure, for several years. Odd how Obama hasn’t followed up on that.

    3) Considering how many promises he made about ObamaCare (“if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period.” just being one), it’s arguable that the “ObamaCare” that passed wasn’t the one he promised.

    4) He promised to abide by the War Powers Act. That he made a lesser promise and kept that doesn’t make it any better.

    So yeah, fair enough, you got me back. There have been a few promises Obama’s kept, most likely by accident. I overreached, and got called out.

  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Remember when conservatives said the same thing about the run-up to Libya? How we’ll be mired in another war, American troops dying, and all of the usual “the sky is falling” dire predictions? Well, no American troops died in Libya.

    And now radical Islamists are running things in Libya. Radical Islamists took over Egypt, with Obama’s blessing, until the military tossed them out. Radical Islamists are threatening to take over Iraq and Syria, and they had Obama’s support.

    Why the hell would you brag about Obama’s string of backing radical Islamists in the Middle East?

  81. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But really, isn’t trolling comments sections kind of juvenile, and juvenile circa 2005 to boot?

    That is the point where further discussion is pointless which is where this discussion is currently. Time to call it a day.

  82. Grewgills says:

    @mannniing:
    The unfortunate answer is we probably can’t. We can support the Iraqis with intelligence and air support if they are willing, but nothing beyond that.

  83. de stijl says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And now radical Islamists are running things in Libya. Radical Islamists took over Egypt, with Obama’s blessing, until the military tossed them out.

    I disagree with your assertion of the the facts, but will engage the premise.

    Given that you believe the current President has misused his powers, would you agree that we should repeal the AUMF? In other words, should any President have the authority to pursue significant military action over a prolonged period of time without the expressed consent of Congress?

    When would such action be permissible, and when would it be not?

  84. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Because you apparently missed it when anjin-san posted it earlier.

    Here’s how PoliFact rates Obama on promise keeping:

    Promise Kept 45%
    Compromise 24%
    Promise Broken 22%
    Stalled 1%
    In the Works 7%

    That is considerably more than ”a few promises Obama’s kept”. You didn’t just exaggerate a bit, you completely mischaracterized the situation.

  85. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    No wonder you are so fvcked up…you have no sense of reality.

  86. al-Ameda says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    Cc how’s that reading on our libyian embassy going? Do you need some help?

    Now that you mention it, that brings up an interesting comparison: 4000 Americans died in Iraq, a war waged under a false WMD pretext, while 4 Americans die in Libya, and we see that Republicans consider that (4 dead in Libya) to be the biggest foreign policy cover-up and scandal in American history.

    Has Darrell Issa found anything impeachable coming out of this?

  87. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why the hell would you brag about Obama’s string of backing radical Islamists in the Middle East?

    Who is bragging? I merely pointed out that counter to dire Republican warnings about American involvement causing the likely commitment of American troops to Libya – well, THAT never happened.

    As you know, President GW Bush contributed to the rise of the current generation of radical Islamists with his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.

    Now if you want to say that the Middle East is a region fraught with unpredictability and difficulty, and is a place where America (unlike as in 1953) may not be able to control events or dictate who comes to power in those various countries – then may we have something to discuss?

  88. Ben Wolf says:

    @Robin Cohen: What exactly are we supposed to bomb? The cities? We’ll rack up civilian casualties and strengthen the Islamic State at the same time. The oil fields? We’ll shoot our own economy in the foot. The desert? Maybe IS vehicles will bend rims on the potholes but that won’t be of much help to us.

    I’d really like to know what those encouraging a military response want to target.

  89. de stijl says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I’d really like to know what those encouraging a military response want to target.

    The id does not need a target. Basically, any blood will suffice.

  90. Crusty Dem says:

    http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/716/Hawaii-ldquoIslam-Dayrdquo-secretly-marks-September-11.aspx

    Without a doubt, the dumbest Freeper crap I’ve ever seen. September 24th is really the 11th because DERP! And it’s over 5 years old! All it proves is that you’re a poor troll or a complete moron; Normally I’d be 100% troll, but OTB tends to have a low troll/moron ratio.. Hard to say…

  91. humanoid.panda says:

    @Crusty Dem: This is so reminiscent of the people who argue that the Jews and the Freemasons are hiding symbols of their conspiracy on American currency, or the layout of major European or whatever. Let us imagine there is a band of hidden Muslims in the Hawaian legislature.
    1. Why would it advertise its existence by creating a ploy so transparent that some asshole with a calendar converter can uncover it?
    2. What’s in it for them? What does celebrating Islam Day on what is September 11 but that everyone thinks is September 24 achieves?
    3. Really, the only thing I can think of is that the existence of this conspiracy in Hawaii in 2009 is somehow related to Obama’s birth ceritficate and so forth. But then again, if the conspiracy is controlling the US presidency, why would it draw attention to itself by doing something as foolishly transparent as the guy on that blog thinks it did?

    Why is it all conspiracy theorist people think that the objects of their obsession are both infinitely clever and powerful and absolutely lacking in any capacity for planning and OPSEC?

  92. muchboxgrad says:

    Uhh usually someone that says “derp” as an argument…. is a moron? But who am i to judge.

  93. mannning says:

    @Grewgills:

    So we drive ISIS into the cities, cut off their supplies, and let them sit there, with a large civilian population at their mercy. Then we hope that Iraqi forces will take on the street fighting to free the cities. I don’t believe for a moment that the Iraqi forces will commit to doing that, with or without our advisors. They will content themselves with sniping from strong positions around the cities most likely. I do hope ISIS forces try to cut and run somewhere!

  94. de stijl says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Be very glad you don’t have to deal with this crap in your day-to-day personal life.

    My mother, fully functional in other respects, has the notion that Obama is Muslim and has been illegitimately placed in that position to pursue nefarious plans and wishes to intentionally undermine America and uplift his Muslim brothers and sisters.

    No question like why Obama had to give the speech of his political life to defuse the Reverend Wright situation she offers “He was raised Muslim. He went to a madrassa.” Asked why a Muslim would attend a UCC church for 15 years and it’s “It was planned for years.”

    You can imagine the rest. Logic and common sense have no effect; she “just knows it.”

    We now have “rules” for conversations. That I have to have rules to chat with my Mom kinda makes me want to throw up. Actually, it rips my guts out.

  95. Crusty Dem says:

    @muchboxgrad:

    Derp

    You cut me to the bone, sir. Please, will someone save me from your rapier wit..

    /Derp

  96. de stijl says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    If you actually believe Obama is Muslim (not just “believe” it because it yields some short-term benefit to your ideological Team), we have nothing to discuss besides your utter suggestibility to confirmation bias.

    Please explain why and how a Manchurian Candidate President gets elected and stays under cover for forty years. Be specific. How did he pull it off? Why?

  97. de stijl says:

    @munchboxgrad:

    If you read the transcript of the September 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos and actually believe that Obama “admitted” he was Muslim you have a reading comprehension problem.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslimfaith.asp

  98. al-Ameda says:

    @munchboxgrad: yep, it’s all in the Zapruder footage. After a 2 year old Barack Obama killed Jack Kennedy, his mother took him to Havana where Fidel Castro, Sam Giancanna, and Elijah Muhammed mapped out the next 50 years of young Barack’s life

  99. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Bin Laden was living half a mile from Pakistan’s West Point, safe and secure, for several years. Odd how Obama hasn’t followed up on that.

    What sort of “follow up” do you have in mind? Start a war with a nuclear power?

    Obama did something smart and ballsy, and he followed it up by not doing something dumb as a second act.

    Naturally, this confuses you.

  100. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    A couple days after I bust reynolds for hyperbole and absolutes,

    I see you are leaving out the part of the thread where wr scraped what was left of you off the bottom of his shoe…

  101. de stijl says:

    I apologize to everyone*. I should not have engaged with a conspiracy theorist; I should now better. They are immune to any argument.

    * except one person; btw, get your own damn nym – stop glomming off someone else and if you must do so ffs don’t choose an anti-lesbian slur, you troglodyte

  102. CB says:

    I see the words “boots on the ground”, I think 75th Rangers and armored cavalry. I see the words “1,000 advisers”, I think Green Berets and CCTs. There’s a difference, politically and militarily.

    ::ducks the shit flying though the air::

  103. george says:

    @de stijl:

    Please explain why and how a Manchurian Candidate President gets elected and stays under cover for forty years. Be specific. How did he pull it off? Why?

    Actually I’m more curious how he can simultaneously be a godless communist and a Muslim.

  104. Grewgills says:

    @mannning:
    Unfortunately I think that is our best option. It might not be the best for the Iraqis in the cities, but that is the responsibility of the Iraqis.

  105. mannning says:

    @Grewgills:

    Then I wonder what the US public will think when we leave the citizens of the cities to the tender mercies of ISIS, and the Iraqi forces sneak around outside them but not in them? That, in my opinion, is what’s going to happen. I believe many strident voices will be raised for us to do something! I can see the headline now: “Obama leaves millions of Iraqi citizens to their fate under ISIS!”

  106. anjin-san says:

    @ mannning

    The sheep who watch Fox will think what they are told to think. The rest of us will do our best to think for ourselves.

  107. mannning says:

    @anjin-san:

    Wonderful! Think totally for yourself, without any rational input whatsoever, merely your brainpower. Be sure to use unbiased sources for your cogitations. Good luck with that.

  108. Robin Cohen says:
  109. Robin Cohen says:

    @Ben Wolf: I really don’t care about collateral damage if it saves American lives. All of our blood and treasure lost in the middle east has been for nothing. Religious/tribal wars in the 21st century are beyond stupid. The middle east is a pain in the ass and an albatross around the neck of the US. Too bad we can’t just wish these ignorant, corrupt, backward countries away but we can’t and I don’t think we can contain their murderous instincts either.

  110. munchboxgrad says:

    Oh Doug and other otb lap dogs…

    I will consider the fact that you deleted my comments as a win for the winger nut troll 1 – lap dogs 0

    …. and you missed one….DERP! oh how fitting….

    It must of have been that rapier wit?

    Ok and for one last time into the rabbit hole.

    Set scene:
    Family Feud in which two families compete against each other in a contest to name the most popular responses to a survey question posed to 100 people.

    Steve Harvey has is arm around de stijl’s mom….

    It’s the final moment when Steve says “When asked about why instill a muslim Manchurian Candidate president?”

    Survery says!! Steve yells nervously….

    Time slows….then the board whirls to life the bar spins…

    “To reestablish the Islamic caliphate” Mr Harvey informs her that’s “the number one answer”

    Yea! They jump around excitedly because that’s what she said!

    De Stijl your mom just won a bunch of money and says she going to use it so you can move out of her basement.

  111. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Mikey: They’ll always be a special place in my heart for men who kill so many…with merely a radio and map. salute.