You have to wonder what President Obama will say about foreign policy and national security next Tuesday in his State of the Union Address (SOTU). Perhaps he won’t say anything about it all — which may just be a good idea.
It’s clearly evident we have not decimated al-Qaida and they’re certainly not on the run — well, except for running to kill us. And what shall be said of ISIS to the full chamber of the legislative branch?
Certainly not this report from The Daily Beast — not exactly a conservative outlet — which says, “ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there. At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate.
“Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group doesn’t appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources. In Syria, ISIS “has not any lost any key terrain,” Jennifer Cafarella, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War who studies the Syrian conflict, explained to The Daily Beast.”
Now before you get all excited about 800 airstrikes, remember they began in early August, so that means we are looking at 165 days – with the average airstrikes per day coming out to somewhere around 4.8. So much for a vaunted air operation to degrade, defeat and destroy ISIS.
Sadly, we’re not paying attention to this simple battlefield calculus — and I remember the days of Desert Shield/Storm and in Iraq where an air campaign meant hundreds of sorties. That’s how you pummel an enemy.
But clearly that’s not really the objective of our current Commander-in-Chief; it’s just about the facade of doing something with the real intent of doing nothing. If we cannot even bring ourselves to say who the enemy is by simply repeating what the enemy says about themselves — then we are at a loss.
It becomes blindingly obvious that not only are we loathe to define the enemy and its inspiring ideology, we are also reticent in employing our full military might to crush this 7th century cancer that has metastasized in this the 21st century.
Then again, the only force that has been decimated is our own military at the hands of President Obama. All of this I’m quite certain won’t be articulated at the SOTU next week.
“Even U.S. military officials privately conceded to The Daily Beast that ISIS has gained ground in some areas, even as the Pentagon claims its seized territory elsewhere, largely around the northern city of Kobani. “Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast. A map developed by the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a Syrian-American opposition umbrella group, shows that ISIS has nearly doubled the amount of territory it controls since airstrikes began last year. “Assessing the map, ISIS has almost doubled its territorial control in Syria. But more importantly, the number of people who now live under ISIS control has also increased substantially,” CDS political adviser Mouaz Moustafa said.
And pictures released yesterday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) show just what it’s like to live under ISIS practicing pure Islam — where are the feminist and gay groups on this?
This first picture is of two men who were pushed off a tall building in front of a crowd for being homosexual.
Thieves are shot from behind after being crucified.
A woman is read her death sentence for adultery.
The woman is stoned to death.
And speaking of which, there is no radical Islam. There is pre-622 AD Medina and post-622 AD Medina Islam. That is the difference between what is termed “peaceful” as opposed to that which is “militant.” However, under the theory of abrogation the latter verses — more violent verses — of the Koran supersede the previous more peaceful text. And the traditions of Mohammed in the hadiths dictate their actions and model for perfect man.
As the Daily Beast writes, “In the first two months following American airstrikes, about a million Syrians who had previously lived in areas controlled by moderates now lived in areas controlled by extremist groups al Nusra or ISIS, according to CDS, citing conversations with European diplomats who support the Syrian opposition.” And what frustrates the Syrian opposition the most seems to be the almost disoriented employment of the airstrikes. “The bombing campaign has been focused at the heart of ISIS-controlled territory, rather than at the front lines, where ISIS territorial gains could be pushed back. The coalition strikes seem similar to drone campaigns in Yemen or Pakistan, targeting only leadership. The front-line strength of ISIS has undoubtedly increased even as some of these targeted strikes take out mid-level individual leaders,” Moustafa said.”
Of course we all know Obama isn’t going to do the one thing that could make the airstrikes effective — deploy ground air controllers who can accurate direct precision guided munitions against the frontline ISIS fighters. And I’m not talking about a truck here or there.
“As of Sunday, the U.S. and its coalition partners had conducted 790 airstrikes in Syria, according to Pentagon statistics. In all, the U.S. has spent $1.2 billion on its campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
Of course this has been done without any formal declaration of war against ISIS. So it begs the question — what are we doing? This befuddled response from the Pentagon’s spokesperson Admiral Kirby is a testimony as to the confused state in which the Obama administration finds itself, “When the reporter pressed for an answer on what was happening in Syria, Kirby struggled, saying, “I couldn’t give you a—a specific point at which, you know, we believe, well geez, we’ve halted their momentum. It—it’s come slowly, in various stages. But I think it’s safe to say that over the last three to four weeks, we—we’ve been confident that momentum has largely been blunted.”
Well, here you have it. Let’s see what President Obama says to the American people next week on this subject. Something tells me the entire topic will be avoided. Just like his other failed policies.