It’s always interesting to see how events can end up shaping a situation and change one’s declared position. And so it is when you focus your foreign policy and national security strategy on campaign promises and rigid ideology rather than reality on the ground. Or worse, you discount the great fact about military operations that the enemy always has a vote. So you can unilaterally declare combat operations have ended. You can foolishly disregard the recommendations of highly experienced ground combat commanders and generals. You can make really lame statements like this:
And then the enemy casts its vote, and you finally realize you can no longer blame it on your predecessor – which is where the Obama administration now finds itself.
As reported by NBC News (certainly one of Obama’s fawning media outlets), “Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. will begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, aiming to intensify pressure on the militants as progress against them remains elusive.
“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground,” Carter said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee, using an alternative name for the militant group. (because as we reported, it is actually a not-so-subtle dig at Israel)
“Carter pointed to last week’s rescue operation with Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to free hostages held by ISIS. Carter and Pentagon officials initially refused to characterize the rescue operation as U.S. boots on the ground. However, Carter said last week that the military expects “more raids of this kind” and that the rescue mission “represents a continuation of our advise and assist mission.” This may mean some American soldiers “will be in harm’s way, no question about it,” Carter said last week.
After months of denying that U.S. troops would be in any combat role in Iraq, Carter late last week in a response to a question posed by NBC News, also acknowledged that the situation U.S. soldiers found themselves in during the raid in Hawija was combat. “This is combat and things are complicated,” Carter said. During Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Carter said Wheeler “was killed in combat.”
You can watch SecDef Carter’s admission in living color here.
Uh oh, somebody is going to get a call from our modern-day Rasputin, Valerie Jarrett. And remember how all of a sudden the last SecDef, Chuck Hagel, suddenly resigned after he went “rogue” and broke from the Obama talking points about ISIS?
Well, after White House spokesperson Josh Earnest did everything possible to not call the combat raid last week, “combat,” SecDef Carter let the cat out of the bag during the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing. And they didn’t even have to threaten to waterboard him!
The Obama administration is now forced into a situation it didn’t want — commitment to ground troops in combat. This is the same word game played in the early stages of Vietnam about our having “advisors” and not combat troops in the Southeast Asia nation.
Well, if you’re in a place where there’s an enemy and they’re shooting, then it’s combat. If you’re deployed there, you’re in a combat zone. If you’re deployed into a combat zone and you have a weapon — then you are in combat, and if you’re walking on terra firm wearing boots, then you’re a combat troop “boots on the ground,” engaged in ground combat.
So the unintended consequence of the successful Army Special Operations raid to rescue the Iraqi Army hostages is that President Obama is now forced into action — unless he fires SecDef Carter, making him Obama’s fourth one to go through, and find a very good ventriloquist who will ensure the next SecDef NEVER goes off point.
How does the Obama administration react to what Carter stated? He clearly has committed the U.S. to direct action on the ground — that means fighting folks; combat. This is a change in policy and so we shall await Obama’s strategy to implement it.
Also, another action forcing Obama into action, or into finding a way to weasel out of it, is the Russian intervention into the Iraq-Syria zone of action. Obama is sitting back and watching his much vaunted Syrian rebel force being decimated by Russian, Iranian Quds Force, Hezbollah, and as we shared, Cuban special operation forces. Of course, the spin is that Russia is operating from a position of weakness — just another evidence of Bizarro World.
So is Obama going to retain his intransigence on the issue, or has his SecDef gotten out in front of him and committed him to doing something he doesn’t want to do?
Remember in the CBS “60 Minutes” interview when Steve Croft asked Obama about the failure of the Syrian rebel training mission? In case you’ve forgotten, we spent $45 million and got 54 bubbas and all but 4 or 5 were killed or captured.
Obama told Croft it was something he really didn’t want to do — how freaking convenient! Obama stands up and tells us all that his strategy to combat ISIS is to train Syrian rebels. Congress appropriates $500 milion and when it fails, Obama tells us he really didn’t want to do the strategy he presented to the American people. Hmm, kinda like that red line of his that ended up being all of ours, not just his…
Something tells me Ash Carter isn’t having a good night. But more importantly, something tells me President Obama has to put up or look even more impotent than he already appears on the global stage. Doggone, I sure wish Obama hated ISIS and Islamic jihadists as much as he does his political opposition.
Because it seems Obama has no problem deploying his domestic storm troopers whether it’s ACORN, IRS, NEA/AFT, SEIU, AFL-CIO, or Black Lives Matter here on our streets.