There are two words everyone who has served or is serving in the military does not want to hear: mission creep. It has been the deadly episode in the history of military operations throughout time. It is the piecemeal commitment of forces into a nebulous endeavor with no clear guidance or intent – basically no strategy. And those who commit warriors into the cauldron of uncertainty are doing solely to maintain a weak facade of taking action.
And so it is, just days after Commander-in-Chief Obama announced to the world ten months after first stating he did not have a strategy to combat ISIS, that he STILL doesn’t have a strategy, the White House announces it will send another 450 troops into Iraq as trainers.
No clear guidance was issued other than an intent to train more Iraqi troops. Sadly, we now have a little over 3,400 “trainers” in Iraq and only 2,598 Iraqi Soldiers in training. Of that number there are 800 Kurds and 1798 Shia, and no Sunnis are being trained. Do y’all see the laughable irony? We have more “trainers” in Iraq than those being trained.
When we were still there in Iraq with actual boots on the ground, there was a mandated percentage for sectarian integration. We were successful in unit and leadership integration. And let us be reminded that we were training Iraqi forces at the Al Asad Base — well, due to the ISIS advance into Ramadi, we have abandoned Al Asad. In other words, we are on the run.
Now consider all the pictures you see of ISIS parading through these cities in broad daylight with clear skies. What’s missing? The effective dropping of bombs on their savage arses. And now, because ISIS has a base close to Baghdad, we just saw bombing attacks in the city resulting in 140 Iraqi deaths just two days ago. Remember from 2009 to 2011 the occurrence of suicide bombings in Baghdad was almost nil.
Apparently President Obama believes hope is a means by which one institutes a strategy. It is not a method – it may be a good campaign theme, but it’s not convincing to the enemy.
So what will these 450 troops do? If we don’t have any Forward Air Controllers (FACs) we will not have an effective air campaign. If we don’t have permissive rules of engagement, the enemy will continue to have freedom of maneuver. If we don’t show vision and leadership, no one will follow — maybe President Obama and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter are more concerned with Gay Pride month celebrations — seems they have a strategy for that.
How does the Obama administration believe it will be able to isolate ISIS from financial support? How will the Obama administration be able to use diplomatic pressure to seal off any support for ISIS and preclude the ability of recruits transiting into ISIS held territory? What is the Obama administration information operation plan to be able to defeat ISIS ideology — that is vital. And for the president to throw the Pentagon under the bus as he seeks to escape accountability and responsibility is just plain despicable.
Let me explain to y’all how it works. The Combatant Command headquarters responsible for the Middle East is U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) located at McDill AFB Florida. It is joint forces headquarters and is responsible for the geographic area of responsibility (AOR). On the CENTCOM staff there are military planners, who do nothing else but develop and review CONPLANS (Contingency Plans) for their AOR. I can guarantee you these astute folks who are oft time referred to as “Jedi” have refined CONPLANS under General Austin, the Commanding General of CENTCOM — who just happened to be the Operational Theater Commander in Iraq who developed a CONPLAN recommendation for a residual force — which was denied and rejected by President Obama.
Something tells me that General Austin — who I knew as a Parachute Infantry Brigade Commander at Ft. Bragg in the 82d Airborne Division when I was a major — is rather frustrated with having his CONPLANS rejected. If we lived in a normal America, the recommended CONPLANS would be accepted, with some refinement perhaps, and then become a CONOPS (Contingency Operation).
Folks, we are witnessing none other than Neville Chamberlain 2.0.
The simple military maxim is that you do not reinforce failure – but that is exactly what we are doing in Iraq.
ISIS is not just in Iraq. Their command and control with logistical support base operates out of Syria. They have expanded into Libya — y’all know who enabled that to happen, right? So actually, from a strategic perspective, ISIS exists in three countries — what is an additional 450 troops gonna do about that?
That is why this deployment order is just an empty gesture, just like the empty rhetorical speeches delivered by President Obama. We are watching what will go down as the most inept presidential administration EVER. ISIS has evolved into a multi-front viable military force and we are piece-mealing forces with no objective.
What is the command and control structure for U.S. forces in Iraq? We basically have a Brigade/Regimental size element in Iraq. What is the line and block chart organization? If we had competent leadership who understood, they would be able to articulate answers to these inquiries. If we had a media that wasn’t a gathering of giddy Kool-aid drinkers but objective reporters, perhaps they’d know the questions to ask.
I pray for our military over the next 18 months. I pray for our nation. What President Obama just did yesterday was essentially put a dirty band-aid on a sucking chest wound — and walk away. An actual leader would be able to articulate how every element of our national power would be leveraged against ISIS — actually any of these militant Islamist jihadi groups. We should be building an actual coalition of Islamic nations who realize that ISIS is a pestilence that must be defeated, just as Iran. The Saudis are now having suicide bombings in their country.
President Obama once said after he won in 2008 that elections have consequences, I agree, and so do reelections. The consequences of electing and reelecting Barack Obama will prove detrimental for the free world.
Hope y’all enjoyed your “happy moment” and will come to understand we do not need “gimmick” marketed folks in charge of our country. We need proven leaders, not intransigent ideologues.