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I’m not sure what’s up with all the administration’s chatter about the forthcoming – or not – assault on ISIS in Mosul. Why telegraph our military intentions to the enemy? Unless Obama’s Boyz are trying to deflect criticism that the President doesn’t have a plan for combatting the proto-Islamic caliphate’s killers ahead of the Congressional “debate” on the use of force authorization. Or maybe it’s a double fake . . .

Maybe we’re pretending that we’re going to attack because ISIS will think we’re bluffing. Which would make today’s story that the Iraqi army says it won’t be ready a double double bluff. Like I said, I’m confused. In any case, reports that cases of guns are headed to Iraq . . .

Iraqi officials continue to insist they haven’t gotten the advanced weapons they need for the offensive in the northern city of Mosul, and some question whether they will be ready for a spring offensive. But the Pentagon insists the United States has sent tens of thousands of weapons and ammunition and more is in the pipeline . . .

A U.S. Central Command official provided some details of the battle plan Thursday, saying the coordinated military mission to retake Mosul will likely begin in April or May and will involve up to 25,000 Iraqi troops. They have cautioned, however, that if the Iraqis aren’t ready, the timing could be delayed.The core of the fighting force will be five of Iraq’s most accomplished brigades, which will go through additional U.S. training before the operation.

But Zamili said that while several of Iraq’s units have gone through training recently, “these well-trained brigades cannot get involved in battles without being equipped with advanced and effective weapons that would enable them to penetrate enemy lines.”

His comment reflects a common complaint from the Iraqi government, both in recent months and throughout much of the Iraq war. The U.S., however, has sent tens of thousands of weapons, ammunition, body armor and other equipment to the country.

According to a senior defense official, the U.S. sent nearly 1,600 Hellfire missiles to Iraq last year, and has already delivered 232 more. About 10,000 M-16 assault rifles are due to arrive in the next few weeks, along with 23,000 ammunition magazines. The U.S. also has delivered thousands of rockets, mortar rounds, tank rounds, .50-caliber rounds and 10,000 M-68 combat optical sights, a rifle scope commonly used by the U.S. military.

About 250 mine-resistant, armor-protected vehicles will be delivered in a few weeks, along with sophisticated radio systems for the MRAPs and more ammunition rounds, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Anonymously? You mean treasonously! Check out that video of ISIS’ stockpile of M-16’s leaning against the wall. Not to sound defeatist, but unless the U.S. gets its you-know-what together, ISIS could be set to add to their collection.

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  1. This will be obamas “Bay of Pigs”.

    Either that or he’s trying to deliberately underarm the Iraqis/subtlely hand weapons over to Isis so he use it to blame the military and further his own agenda.

  2. I can’t believe we are going to give them more guns to supply to ISIS. I know we’re stupid in general, but watching ISIS running around in OUR APCs and waving rifles I paid for is already bad enough, WTF makes anybody think the result is going to be any different this time? We need to address the whole area, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria the same way. Drones, A-10s, B-52s, whatever, running up and down the roads destroying everything that moves, downing power lines, blowing up pipelines and dams, until there is a serious crisis wherein everyone is in danger of dying of hunger, thirst, or disease, and then GTFO, sayonara, KMASYOYO. These are violent stone age morons armed with modern technology they don’t even understand. Get them back to swords and camels, and 1/10 the population they now have. When they form a national government, bomb it.

    • Not a bad idea. But, honestly I say it’s time we start having a serious discussion about using Nuclear Weapons. I’m not talking about the same ol’ “Just nuke em all!” rhetoric you in hear in the local bar every now and then. I’m saying we’re about out of options in the middle east, and honestly, we can do it and get away with it. We’ve been dealing with this directly for 15 years now, and indirectly since the Carter administration. Think about that. Damn near 40 years of dealing with issue after issue, and it effecting not only us and our money, but Europe, Russia, and China’s. Think about this too, Mutually Assured destruction does not apply here. Because truthfully, Russia and China aren’t going to nuke us, unless we get nuke happy and they’re effected by the fallout severely. Russia and China both don’t care about humanitarianism, or really what happens to the middle east, and both are having to contend with islamic extremism as well now too. So really, we’d be doing the civilized world a favor, and as long as we could minimize the fallout risks, I see no reason why we couldn’t do this. At this point, this is the only way it ends. There’s never going to be some magic turn around where suddenly the middle east magically decides to get its act together. That’s what all the liberals thought would happen with the Arab spring, and look how that turned out. Its even worse now. The only way this ends is if the people who live there, want it to end, and take up arms to do this themselves, and that’s not going to happen. Sure, we could invade and put boots on the ground and drive ISIS into the ground. But then they’ll merely fight an insurgency until we get sick of it and leave again. So, instead, I say its time we give them the apocalypse they want, and watch the region disappear in a few bright flashes.

      • What exactly is the “issue” that you’re trying to deal with? ISIS isn’t really a serious threat to anyone other than local populace and surrounding countries.

    • Drones, A-10s, B-52s, whatever, running up and down the roads destroying everything that moves, downing power lines, blowing up pipelines and dams, until there is a serious crisis wherein everyone is in danger of dying of hunger, thirst, or disease, and then GTFO, sayonara, KMASYOYO

      Because that won’t make any of them resent the US even more. And then there’s the problem of killing civilians… You do realize that is a problem, right?

    • You do realize that ISIS doesn’t have the majority support even in Raqqa, much less the rest of their territory? They’re not a national government and cannot form one, because they don’t represent any nation. They’re an occupying force.

      OTOH, if you start reducing everything in their zone of control to rubble, that’ll be an extremely efficient recruiting strategy for them.

  3. Just my somewhat jaded opinion, but I think precise use of smallish nuclear weapons would be much quicker and very cost effective. It’s probably a good thing that I’m not in charge of such things.

    • You’re NOT the only one thinking that Bontai Joe. Korean war,Vietnam and now I-rack. And didn’t we use depleted uranium in the Balkans? I know we shouldn’t spill American blood killing these savages-but it’ll never happen…

    • Starting with two small nuclear weapons, dropped simultaneously without warning. One for Qom, to take out the Ayatollahs. The other for Riyadh, to take out our Wahhabi “allies”. Then, like with Japan, a frank discussion about what happens next if there is not complete and unconditional surrender. Like with the Japanese and the Germans, they could surrender to us or try a dialogue with Putin and the Red Army. If we had ever developed a real national energy security plan, with domestic energy production from all sources, conventional, nuclear, renewable, without the either-or politics, and a rational approach to conservation rather than urban Luddite fantasies, we would have been able to give that ultimatum years ago. We could again, very soon, if we had the will and actual leadership in Washington.

  4. Those numbers suck. What good are 10,000 M-16 rifles for 25,000 troops? And what good are 23,000 magazines for 10,000 rifles? Somehow 2.3 magazines per rifle doesn’t seem like an adequate battle load.

    And are M-16s a poor choice for urban warfare? I thought many U.S. military groups were using the M-4 with the shorter barrel for urban combat.

    And wouldn’t those Iraqi troops need some heavier firepower as well? Some rifles for long range shooting (sniping) in something like .300 Win Mag or larger? Maybe even some .338 Lapua, .416 Barret, or .50 BMG rifles?

    • “The one in front takes the rifle and shoots. The one without the rifle follows. When the one with the rifle is killed, the one without the rifle takes the rifle and shoots.”

    • What makes you think that they don’t have a generous supply of weapons already? Meaning the ones they did not abandon to ISIS. It’s not like they have been fighting ISIS with rocks, is it? Ummm, no. The complaining is the typical Iraqi cowardice, an easy excuse for battlefield failure. Just look at the last decade of Iraqi Army performance. After a successful invasion of Kuwait, these guys fled like rats from a sinking ship when we counter attacked. And when we invaded ten years later, their entire army collapsed and surrendered in droves. We rebuilt the army, but then ISIS attacked, and yet again the Iraqi Army fled in the face of the enemy, leaving tens of millions of dollars of equipment behind. Not even an orderly retreat. If we want to win this war, we need to arm the Kurds.

      • You also forgot that in their cowardly retreat they left behind something like 500-800 million dollars worth of gold in the Mosul banks. Just think about that for a second…..ISIS with 800M$ of gold to fund what they want to.

        When BHO pulled the Americans from daily command and control the Iraqi foot soldier had no faith in what was left over. All those American lives wasted in capturing ground that was immediately relinquished to ISIS. A colossal blunder perpetrated by a leftist fool and protected by a shipload of leftist press types.

        • ISIS has access to even more capital than that. What differentiates ISIS from AQ or other terrorist groups is that ISIS now has both huge stockpiles of currency and commodities that can be converted to currency. Most other terrorist groups are always short of cash to run operations. ISIS is the first terrorist group that has over $1B USD in liquid assets, and more than that in controlled oil field/gas field assets.

    • M-16s have been in Army and Marine use in Iraq and have fought fine in urban areas. USMC infantry armed with M-16A4s got so many head shots in Iraq the Islamist complained to human rights groups about marksmanship LOL. M-16A2s and A4s still a good weapon to use. Iraqi forces have M-4s as well but its used for more vehicle crews than infantry. M-16s now days still didn’t have as many problems as the shorter M-4 did anyway.

    • They already have 10’s of thousands of guns and mags, this is to beef them up before the offensive. And the article said they were getting everything else from hell fire missiles to apcs to 50cals.

      The longer barrel of the m16 could well be preferable for the type of siege this will be, mosul is flat with long views. then again the m16s are older stock so that’s what they get. Then again the media often calls everything that looks like an m16 an m16, m4s included.

  5. More weapons and equipment is meaningless without the necessary leadership, will and training of the Iraqi military to fight ISIS, in that order. That “new” M16 or MRAP is worthless if your commander bugged out because he was either paid off or his family was threatened, you were given the wrong ammo and supplies, and ISIS has claims the moral authority to commit systematic genocide on any groups of people they can get their hands on.

    • +1M When the army you’re training and supplying has no patriotic loyalty or will to fight, it doesn’t matter how many weapons you send them.

    • Add to that that many of the regulars are conscripts, which, when combined with despicable leadership, results in low morale. Then there are the 50,000 “regulars” who draw a paycheck but are never seen anywhere near a military base or unit–institutionalized corruption, with military leaders supporting their extended families rather than supporting their country. A surefire recipe for desertion in the face of the enemy.

  6. “these well-trained brigades cannot get involved in battles without being equipped with advanced and effective weapons that would enable them to penetrate enemy lines.”

    Come on this is ISIS not the Siegfried Line. ISIS fighters are well known to fold under any concerted response from an actual professional military (Which granted are in short supply in the middle-east) A truck and 20 well-armed hicks from Missouri could probably penetrate their lines.

    • ISIS is not dumb. While they were largely a rabble one or two years ago, they’ve acquired enough money to go out and hire some professionals to show their guys how to use the captured US weaponry they got from the Iraqi army when it collapsed. So they’re better than they were. Their fundamental weakness is that they’re still a third-world military, and a rag-tag one at that. They’ve never really fought a stand-up offensive against a real military, let along one with genuine first-world capabilities (which the Iraqis won’t have even with American help). The Kurds, for instance, have more than held their own, even when fighting with scavenged and second-hand light-infantry weapons. One of the Fox commentators, a real combat soldier, said that ISIS is “a mile wide and an inch deep”. If Jordan, which after Israel has the best military in the region, sends a brigade sized force into ISISLand—-something ISIS has yet to face—with the intent of doing as much damage as possible, ISIS could very well collapse.

  7. This is the present day nightmare that we approximate in the board game Risk for anyone who remembers board games. Not only do you have to take a territory, you have to be able to keep it. While 25,000 Iraqi troops may be able to take some or even all of the areas that ISIS currently controls, are 25,000 troops enough to keep all of those areas?

    There are something like 1,000 miles of roads currently in (or vulnerable to) ISIS control running from just north of Baghdad to Syria and Iran. I also counted something like 16 towns/cities (according to Google Maps) along those roads. If Iraq is going to keep 25,000 active troops after taking control, that works out to about 25 troops per mile of road or something like 1,500 troops per town/city if they abandon the roads. Is that enough? Given that ISIS can show up anywhere with any number of fighters, I question whether Iraq has enough manpower. Thoughts anyone?

    • It’s a large, sparsely populated area. Take and hold would be impractical even for a force the size of the US military.

      The only viable option is extermination. encircle and sweep from one end to the other. Otherwise they’ll just scatter and regroup later.

      • How do you exterminate a force that can melt into the civilian population?

        There’s an answer, but I don’t think we’ll be okay with it.

        • Well, there’s actually a couple of answers.

          The first, for those who are squeamish about using nuclear weapons, is to revisit the tactics of Gen. Curtis LeMay, USAAF in Japan. Look at the Tokyo firebombing raids. It is possible to turn a city to flyash without nukes. We’d need perhaps two dozen B-52’s to haul the required payloads of napalm and incendiaries into the zone.

          And then there’s the “one bomb” tactic, where we use a low yield nuke (I’d say 100 to 150 kt) set off at about 5,000′ AGL. Poof. Not too much fallout, but the city below is burned within the hypocenter and building crushed and collapsed within about a seven mile radius. This could be done with a cruise missile launched off a sub.

        • ISIS won’t do that. Their main difference with al-Qaeda is that they don’t believe in that whole sleeping cell, civilian daily / terrorist at night thing. They think that they’re fulfilling a prophecy, and that prophecy involves an open military confrontation with the “army of Rome” at Dabiq, Syria, in which they will supposedly crush the superior enemy force by the will of Allah, triggering the end of times. That’s precisely why they have formally established a caliphate, run it as a country, and openly engage in military action.

          Probably the best thing that we could do is to actually send a heavily armed division, with air support etc, to Dabiq and let them have their battle with “crusaders”, just as prophesied – and then pound them with everything and anything in the field (hell, maybe even small tactical nukes, why not?) and make sure that they are not only defeated, but are wiped out so badly that survivors could be counted on two hands – just enough to carry the story back to Raqqa.

    • I can only think of one word – glass.

      I’m sorry but the U.S. cannot achieve any good outcome in the Middle East.

      If we financially back but don’t directly engage with U.S. military power, any victory would be short-lived. Even if any coalition were able to eradicate or at least push ISIS to a small geographic area where they are no longer a threat there’s no guarantee that the resulting political institution in Iraq would be able to remain stable for long.

      The other option is to commit manpower and might directly to the fight which would result in a prolonged occupation in order to ensure the new fledgling government had enough years to stabilize. IMO we shouldn’t have left when and how we did – but we did and the cost in lives and money needed to get back to a state Iraq was at before we left is too great.

      If the U.S. isn’t committed to a long term occupation in order to end hostilities in the ME the only cost effective solution is to turn the territories controlled by ISIS into glass (sand heated to a very high temperature).

      • “I can only think of one word – glass.”

        Unfortunately, I knew exactly what you meant without having to ponder or read any further.

        I feel deeply saddened for the people of the Middle East. I wish they could commit themselves to living in peace with each other.

    • “This is the present day nightmare that we approximate in the board game Risk for anyone who remembers board games. Not only do you have to take a territory, you have to be able to keep it.”

      Actually, you don’t. In fact I think trying to occupy that much territory would be a huge mistake. What is important is systematically destroying ISIS’s ability to mount organized resistance. Grind them down to the point where the local Sunni tribes can taken them on with impunity and let them deal with the control issues at their level. As we found with the “Arab Awakening” strategy, the Sunni tribes are no great fans Islamo-fascism.

      Iraqis are justifiably tired of occupations (and that’s what ISIS is). It’s their country. Give the Sunni’s a chance and they’ll deal with ISIS on their own.

      • The enthusiasm of the Iraqi Sunni tribes’ resistance against AQ is directly correlated with the amount of greenbacks they received. When the money stopped coming and when the Shia government started murdering them, the same tribes went straight to the nascent ISIS.

        The utter failure of “hearts and minds” means the US military had nothing more than cold hard cash to offer. To the Sunni tribes, ISIS is a better deal than the US-supported Shia regime. Such is the sad reality of the US-backed “war on terror”, which has created more terrorism from all sides.

        • ” . . .and when the Shia government started murdering them, the same tribes went straight to the nascent ISIS.”

          Exactly. And the Sunnis are not great fans of the ISIS totalitarians, either. Put some money and guns in their hands and they’ll take care of business—for both us and them. ISIS is entirely foreign to them.

      • “Grind [ISIS] down to the point where the local Sunni tribes can taken them on with impunity and let them deal with the control issues at their level.”

        I am not sure that is possible. And even if it were, nothing stops ISIS (or any other group for that matter) from amassing 1,000 attackers in a remote location (in or out of Iraq) and and then trickling in to a city to attack without any foreknowledge or warning.

        The people in the Middle East really have to eliminate the ideology of defining a group/class of people to be sub-human and therefore subject to tax/slavery/death.

        • That. Simply. Will. Not. Happen.

          See, the problem here in the US is that we keep thinking that Islam is a religion like Judaism or Christianity. It isn’t. It isn’t remotely close to what we’re familiar with.

          Americans should undertake to learn something about Islam, and when you do, don’t limit yourself to reading only the Koran. You need to see the whole of Islam, which requires that you read the Koran, and then the Hadith (a book of commentary upon the Koran), and then you need to read the accounts of Mohammed’s life, the Sunnah and the Sira. The last book is the one that will open your eyes to what is going on.

          The “Islamic extremist” appellation pushed by our leaders is nonsense on stilts. The behavior of these terrorist groups is Islamic, but it isn’t extreme. The people who don’t do these things are, in fact, simply non-observant. An observant Moslem is supposed to emulate the life and actions of Mohammed. That’s pretty much what ISIS is doing, you see. That’s the ugly truth about Islam. Mohammed is without sin, therefore nothing Mohammed did can be wrong, therefore nothing Mohammed did is considered extreme.

          Guess what? Mohammed did all of these things. Killed Jews by the hundreds in a single battle. Took their wives and daughters and kept them for sex slaves, or sold them into slavery. Go look up the “Battle of the Trench,” as it is known in English. Then read an English translation of the Sira. Mohammed did things every bit as bad as what ISIS is doing – he just did them on a larger scale. And we haven’t even gotten to Mohammed’s preference for girls under the age of 10 yet…

  8. I served there, absolutely ridiculous. Where do all the weapons go? Well geewhiz professor they sell them on the fucking black market. Meanwhile we refuse to supply the Kurds, the one group that has steadfastly stood by the US since 2002. It’s shameful – meanwhile our government will not let go of this fiction that with enough good intentions and limitless (haha) US taxpayer money we can polish a turd and turn Arab Iraq into a nation. Bullshit.

    • It is shameful how we undersupply the Khurds. Nearly every video I’ve seen of those folks they are all saying and doing the right things. Both R and D administrations use them strictly as pawns. It really is a disgrace.

      The main reason we sheet on them is that Turkey wants to keep them down. Oh yeah, our friends the Turks…yeah right.

    • Actually, we’ve crapped on the Kurds since the first Gulf war in 1991. The Kurds tried to rise up against Saddam, and Geo. HW Bush sold them down a river.

      • US has supplied them with air cover (no-fly zone), allowing their forces on the ground to hold against Iraqi govt troops. They have been de facto independent, running Iraqi Kurdistan their way, since 1991 already.

  9. Things will never change there until the common man takes up arms and says “enough is enough” THEY are going to have to sort this out. And another thing they are “AR”‘s in 5.56 I wonder where the ammo will come from? Green tip? Hmmmmmmm. Makes ya wonder don’t it.

  10. I see they sent 23,000 mags. Where they loaded = 690,000 rounds…….of green tip? I see no mention of ammo sent for the 10,000 rifles?

    • It’s the same thing. Obama usually refers to them as ISIL, a lot of media calls them ISIS. It’s all the same group. I don’t remember what they stand for, but I do know that IS is the Islamic State.

    • They are the same.

      ISIS= Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

      ISIL= Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (term used to describe eastern coast of Mediterranean from the border of Egypt to Turkey)

    • No ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is correct. ISIL (Islamic state of Iraq and Levent) came from Obama and liberal cronies who didn’t want to connect the group with Syria which he backed them against the legitimate Syrian government ever since 2011.

    • Just call it “Daesh”. It means the same thing as ISIS in Arabic, but all of their thugs understand it, and they hate that name (because they fancy themselves to be just IS – Islamic State – with no geographic designation, implying that they claim the entire world as their territory) and consider its use to be sedition and treason. It has been said that people who are heard saying “Daesh” on Daesh-controlled territories are flogged for the first offence, and executed for the second.

      So, fvck Daesh.

  11. Sad day, same thing happened in Vietnam in 1975. We gave the ARVN tons of M-16A1s, M-60 GPMGs, M-113s and even a few M-48 tanks. Didn’t change the balance. After the Ted Kennedy passed his export ban to South Vietnam most of rifles and tanks became paper weights W/O ammo and fuel. Many ARVN troops deserted and morale was very very low, after US troops left very little training was given to Southern solders. Same is happening to Iraq tons of weapons just now its M-16A4s and M-1A1 tanks yet no training and fact the Iraqis are themselves divided by religious lines the weapon won’t rebalance the war on our side. Lost Cause now, thanks to Obama.

  12. Bring the A-10 back out of retirement – it was a stupid move anyway – and instead of giving more weapons/ammo/expensive optics/miscellaneous to Iraqis (just so they can drop them and run at the first sign of confrontation), use the money to buy 30mm ammo and fuel.

    It’s well known that the Jihadi whackos shit their pants at the sound of the Warthog flying nearby.

  13. I’m sure Obama will insist on universal background checks for these military grade assault weapons of war. For the children.

  14. Hey look! There’s MY M-16! Well, I paid for it anyway.

    Here’s a crazy idea. You know who isn’t a member of ISIS? Me and pretty much every NRA member! So, I’d say ship those crates of M-16s to Wayne and the rest of us. Those guns will strengthen the American defense while having zero chance of falling into enemy hands.

  15. This BHO’s PR exercise to be seen to appear to do something.

    Being blunt, the Iraqis don’t want foreign help, and they’ve stated this publicly.

    We should be helping the Kurds but doing so will anger the Turks because of the Kurds’ links with the PKK who the Turks regard as terrorists for resisting the Turks militant nationalism where the only cultural identity allowed is to be Turkish. And Turkey is a key NATO member.

    With allies like this, who needs enemies.

  16. These Iraqi cowards threw down thousands of rifles and abandoned thousands of Hummers and tanks when ISIS showed up. Now we are supposed to rearm these bastards again? Damn. Maybe they can get some guns from the French. Never fired and only dropped once.

  17. The author of the above article makes several sophisticated points. I would offer some subtle counterpoints – which may not be correct, and certainly won’t be popular, but, here goes:

    1) Why would the US telegraph an attack? The author proceeds from the premise that surprise is an important asset in military tactics. We can generally accept and agree on this. But surprise is not indispensable to tactical success. Can we also generally accept that great military leaders can prevail, even when deprived of the element of surprise and the advantages that come with it? Can we also accept that when the enemy is outnumbered 10:1 and pinned down, surrounded, as ISIS reportedly is, in Mosul, that “surprise” is not really a practical chip with which to bargain? We cannot worsen the situation by doing things detrimental to surprise, because surprise was never on the table; in that situation, is the opposite of surprise – the club-footed approach – something you can work with? Might it demoralize the enemy? Ply away the loyalty of the less-dedicated fighters?

    2) The telegraphing of the punch as a response to political pressure is an even more interesting point – and of less concern to me, frankly. Let’s assume for purposes of argument that the presence, or absence, of surprise is neutral in its impact (which may not be a fair weighting, I admit). Let’s now engage in another thought experiment. What does it mean to have a “strategy for defeating ISIS?” Is it a rigid and inflexible set of Xs-and-Os… “these troopships here, these bombing missions there, this financial aid to that central bank, in such-and-such-amount on a specific date… all fit into a secret paper hidden inside Al Gore’s lockbox? That’s a “strategy”… that has all the likelihood of adapting to the real world as a Soviet style “5 year plan.” Or, is it something less succinctly-stated, and less specific, “we will provide military and economic aid to a legitimately elected Iraqi central government, and leading an international coalition in an extremely vigorous, precise, small-scale air war, dedicated to killing ISIS fighters wherever we find them, with the hope of preventing them from repeating the success of their June 2014 Northern Offensive”.

    It looks like the President has opted for the latter strategy-qua-strategy. His political opponents want to have at him for that. Even he (for better or worse) seems to realize that you could, if you’re playing semantics, say that’s “not a strategy.”

    But, in the case of this emergent threat, what good exactly would having a more specific strategy do? I would argue… it might not do any good; it might do harm. The non-strategy is a flexible a response. And it seems to be accomplishing tangible results. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s “working well.”

    If you think there needs to be “a strategy”… I’d be curious to know what that “strategy” would consist of, and whether it would really differ from the current strategy, or lack of strategy. Have we assessed its feasibility? Its legality? And once we make those compromises, would it be any better than what we have now? I have the sneaking suspicion that some of us who jumped on the President for saying “I have no strategy” (never a wise thing to say…) ought to think through what that really means. At least for me, that talking point has lost its appeal.

    I digress. I think the President’s self-deprication on the ISIS strategy comes back to his discomfort with further abusing existing AUMFs. He is willing to do it to to prevent harm to the Iraqi central government, and the Kurds, whom we’re supposed to be protecting, and particularly in the case of the Kurds, whose near annihilation was catalyzed by our own actions. He’s willing to do it – but he’s uncomfortable with it – and he wants us to know – and he thinks that by letting us know, it will catalyze or shame Congress into doing what he wants. (Fat chance of that!). Moreover, in the President’s mind, which is influenced by shall we say, “eclectic” foreign policy influences, he would say something like “‘kill them wherever we find them’ and ‘bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran'” are not a “strategy.” I think he wants to do more than just terminate the enemy with extreme prejudice. His idea of a “strategy” includes the touchy-feely, fuzzy-wuzzy, hearts-and-minds, nation-building, and lots of other hyphenated concepts. When criticized by the likes of John McCain… well, he’s not the President’s audience on this. For McCain, there’s no such thing as a difficult problem. Everything can be solved; you just have to be willing to use enough Tritonol. He could care less about the touchy-feely and the fuzzy-wuzzy. While he has used the President’s sloppy way with words against him, if push came to shove, the President is probably following exactly the McCain strategy on this: “bomb them wherever you can find them. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran”.

    Conclusion: With all of the subtext filled in, I don’t think the President would allow his planners to telegraph the attack because he’s self-conscious and on-the-defensive about John McCain’s attacking his lack of strategy. As the leader of the free world, he should never have allowed himself to riff off-the-cuff that “I have no strategy.” He could’ve said something like, “We are employing a strategy, the best strategy that our present military budget will allow, but there are better strategies that I would like to employ.” I’m about 85% sure that’s what he meant.. And I certainly don’t think he would jeopardize operational security of the Iraqi coalition against ISIS, just to answer John McCain’s braying.

    I’m not defending the President (or denouncing him)… just trying to stay true to intellectual honesty. I am cautiously optimistic that the military threat of ISIS to the Iraqi people is on the verge of extinction.

  18. We have been training and building an Iraqi Army since 2006-how much more training do they need?

    When confronted the first time by ISIS last year, Iraqi army units through down their arms and abandoned millions of dollars of US provided military hardware which the enemy now has. Sunni tribes in Northern Iraq show no interest in fighting ISIS, as the feel they were mistreated by the Shiite led government of former prime minister Maliki.

    On the borders of Iraq we have two major Sunni countries, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which combined have over 300,000 active duty troops and billions of dollars worth of US provided military hardware. They have yet to contribute 1 ground soldier to fight an enemy on their borders.

    When we look at the high cost to the taxpayers of the U.S. for welfare, one of the highest costs we pay is to provide free security services via our military for countries that don’t want to provide for their own security. In the case of Saudi Arabia, one of the most despotic and hate filled regimes on the planet, their rotten country is not worth the life of one U.S. service man or woman.

    It is time to get out of the Middle East so the Iranian Shiites and Kurds can take care of business and wipe from the face of the Middle East the scourge of Sunni terrorists such as ISIS.


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