John Kerry at NATO: No Boots on Ground Against ISIS

John Kerry addressed the ISIS crisis at the NATO summit conference today, saying:

“They’re an ambitious, avowed, genocidal, territorial-grabbing, caliphate-desiring quasi-state with an irregular army, and leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us.”

But he and other officials made clear that at the moment, any ground combat troops would come from either Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters in Iraq, or moderate Syrian rebels opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here: no boots on the ground,” Mr. Kerry said.

So it's not just the U.S. ruling out ground forces, it's all of the western countries. His full statement is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Way to go, Mr. President (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 01:28:11 PM EST
    Obama Enlists 9 Allies to Help in the Battle against ISIS:



    And (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 01:41:13 PM EST
    American officials are hoping to expand the coalition to many countries, particularly in the region. Obama administration officials said privately that in addition to the participants at the meeting Friday, the United States was hoping to get quiet intelligence help about the Sunni militants from Jordan. Its leader, King Abdullah II, was attending the Wales summit meeting.

    United States officials said they also expected Saudi Arabia to contribute to funding moderate Syrian rebel groups. In addition, Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States, said in a statement this week that the Emirates stood ready to join the fight against ISIS. "No one has more at stake than the U.A.E. and other moderate countries in the region that have rejected the regressive Islamist creed and embraced a different, forward-looking path," the ambassador said.

    Now all we need is Iran to join the fray...


    But, but, (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by NYShooter on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 03:11:50 PM EST
    When is Obama going to do something???

    After years of inept, counter productive, self defeating, quagmire digging, and, economy destroying incompetence I can see why some people would be impatient. I mean, gathering facts, eliciting information, discussing ideas, studying history, and calmly reflecting on possible variables takes a little more time than chest bumping, and, feel good, seat-of-the-pants, "bringing it on" would.


    Sarcasm (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jack203 on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 06:55:55 PM EST

    Seriously? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Angel on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 10:12:43 PM EST
    Obama: Case for Broader U.S. Mission Against ISIS (none / 0) (#23)
    by Green26 on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 11:56:23 AM EST
    NY Times article this morning.

    Speech coming on Wednesday.

    "What I want people to understand," he said, "is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum" of the militants. "We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we're going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we're going to defeat them," he added.

    "Mr. Obama also suggested that he regretted his decision last month to go golfing immediately after responding publicly to the ISIS release of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist James Foley.

    "I should've anticipated the optics," the president said, adding that the "theater" of his job was "not something that always comes naturally to me.

    "But it matters. And I'm mindful of that."

    It is one of the pitfalls of any presidential vacation, Mr. Obama said in the interview. "What I'd love," the president added, "is a vacation from the press."


    US expanding airstrikes in Iraq (none / 0) (#24)
    by Green26 on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 12:08:56 PM EST
    Washington Post article today.

    Now protecting Haditha dam area on Euphrates. Iraqi special forces calling in airstrikes. These are the first strikes outside of northern Iraq. This area is western Iraq, in the Anbar province.

    "The attacks marked a sharp escalation of the U.S. military campaign that began Aug. 8...."

    "U.S. officials said Saturday's airstrikes around Haditha were conducted under Obama's previous authorization to prevent humanitarian disasters. Had the dam fallen into extremist hands, they said, Shiite areas to the south once again would be at risk of flooding and Iraq's electricity supply would be endangered."


    Excuse my skepticism... (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 05:54:09 AM EST
    but these grand coalitions always seem to wind up with the USA doing the bulk of the action and paying the bulk of the expenses.

    Perhaps my memory is faulty, but when Bush the First "liberated Kuwait" - (thanks a bunch) - the grand coalition he is credited with assembling seemed to me to be us.


    ISIS (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by desertswine on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 01:52:58 PM EST
    can handle almost anything.

    Sorry.  I run with the speed of gazelles.

    Amazing (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 02:39:21 PM EST
    ... which brings us back to Go: (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 01:06:58 PM EST
    In place of 'boots on the ground,' US seeks contractors for Iraq.

    Well, the operative words (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Zorba on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 01:42:13 PM EST
    were very interesting.  People don't consider "contractors" to be those "boots on the ground," so that's okay, I guess.
    To me, if this country is not willing to send it's own actual troops to conflict zones because of "political risks," then maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't be there in the first place.
    Using hired mercenaries does not seem to be the way a democracy should work.  YMMV.

    David Johnson, a former Army lieutenant colonel who is executive director of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, said contractors aren't considered "boots on the ground" in conflict zones.

    "The government always seeks to minimize boots on the ground to reduce domestic political risk," he said in an email. "The American people and media do not consider a paid contractor to represent them in the same way that they do a soldier."

    Using contractors, who, most studies show, are cheaper than soldiers, trims the official presence and still accomplishes the logistical and security objectives, he said.

    Interesting article on contractors. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Green26 on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 04:52:06 PM EST
    Surprising number of contractors. "Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institute, said the U.S. government has employed as many contractors as it has deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    " Contractors are carrying a greater share of the load in Afghanistan these days as well. The U.S. plans to reduce the number of troops deployed there to fewer than 10,000 by year's end but, according to a Congressional Research Service report, the number of contractors in Afghanistan ballooned to 108,000 last March at a time when 65,700 U.S. troops were there."

    "Johnson said vast numbers of contractors would likely remain in Afghanistan as troop levels declined."

    Thanks for calling it to our attention. I just checked with my former Ranger son. He said that he's been contacted multiple times starting in the spring, with contractors trying to put together crews who know the Ambar province. He fought in Fallujah and Ramadi just before and during the Surge, during his first deployment. He's sticking with his day job of being a lawyer.


    Not sure using the (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 01:19:07 PM EST
    "Red line" analogy was a great idea.  

    Now we find out (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 01:46:03 PM EST
    How naming themselves "Islamic State", which puts NATO in the position of vowing to destroy the "Islamic State" effects the attitudes of the Islamic countries in the region.  If at all.  

    In a hastily organized meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit meeting here, diplomats and defense officials from the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark conferred on what they called a two-pronged strategy: working to bolster allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria, while attacking Sunni militants from the air. They said the goal was to destroy the Islamist militant group, not to contain it.

    Either way.  This might be a good day for smart ISers to start thinking about slipping away under cover of darkness.  Or under any other circumstances they can get the heck out of dodge.    
    Shorter version - the hammer is about to fall.

    More quotes from Kerry's remarks. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Green26 on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 06:19:30 PM EST
    "So we're convinced that in the day ahead we have the ability to destroy ISIL. It may take a year, it may take two years,it may take three years. But we're determined it has to happen. There are obviously implications about Syria in this...."

    "We just put another 350 people on the ground in an effort to build up our advisor capacity." Guess they must not be wearing boots. Ha.

    What's with all the references to "holistic" and "kinetic". Was Kerry just at a yoga retreat or what?


    Honestly (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 06:23:41 PM EST
    The terminology struck me as a bit odd.

    As with McCain, (none / 0) (#21)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 06:05:51 AM EST
    these guys are willing to throw us into messes that will last 100 years.

    It may take a year, it may take two years,it may take three years. But we're determined it has to happen.

    How the fk long have we been in Korea? 28,000 troops still there.
    In Germany for christsake? 40,000 troops still there.

    160,000 active duty personnel spread out among 150 countries.

    And we can't figure out how to give Americans universal healthcare.


    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#6)
    by Angel on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 07:15:14 AM EST

    Guessing (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 07:42:40 AM EST
    English not first language

    Are you confused? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jack203 on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 12:01:34 PM EST
    Got this email from a relative with four sons that went though the naval academy.  We are both Obama supporters although his sons are more conservative.

    Are you confused by what is going on in the Middle East?

    Let me explain.

    We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS.

    We don't like ISIS, but ISIS is supported by Saudi Arabia who we do like.

    We don't like Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but
    ISIS is also fighting against him.

    We don't like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government in its
    fight against ISIS.

    So some of our friends support our enemies, some enemies are now our
    friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other
    enemies, who we want to lose, but we don't want our enemies who are
    fighting our enemies to win.

    If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they could be replaced
    by people we like even less.

    And all this was started by terrorists who were not called terrorists
    by us until they actually killed our people........and still we don't
    want to offend them by calling them terrorists.

    It's quite simple, really.

    Do you understand now?

    Forget it, Jake... (none / 0) (#9)
    by unitron on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 12:47:16 PM EST
    ...it's the Middle East.

    I'm assuming whoever composed that "explanation" had plenty of previous experience writing the synopses of the previous week's show that always ended with the line..."Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap."


    Had to look up the SOAP sitcom reference (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jack203 on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 11:41:36 PM EST
    Good stuff.  When I was a kid my parents used to like that show.



    I do understand... (none / 0) (#20)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 05:57:15 AM EST
    We are constantly being fed a bunch of bs to support the agenda du jour dictated by the military-industrial-legislative-executive branch-media complex.

    No strategy still (none / 0) (#14)
    by thomas rogan on Sat Sep 06, 2014 at 04:42:08 PM EST
    President Obama said that he would degrade ISIS the way he "degraded" Al Qaida.  Unfortunately, he ignored the fact that it took American boots on the ground in Afghanistan to lay the groundwork to degrade Al Qaida and it took boots in the form of Seals to get Osama Bin Laden.

    Al Q (none / 0) (#18)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 05:49:00 AM EST
    doesn't seem all that degraded - boots or no boots.

    If you want to talk about being degraded, look at the whopping expense we are paying on a daily basis from our degraded coffers to maintain our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. And every bloody place else.

    Look at the consequent degradation of our inner cities - and outer cities.
    Look at the state of our transportation systems.

    And look at the degradation of our quality of life - the institutionalization of the worst of Bush: our government spying on us - warrantless wiretaps - military action by executive fiat...



    Gentleman (none / 0) (#22)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 08:11:08 AM EST
    John, the Secretary of State, has made a bold pronouncement speaking of committing the United States to battle ISIS or ISIL or ISIR or whatever the next permutation will be.

    It may take a year, it may take two years, it may take three years. But we're determined it has to happen.

    Who is the "we" to whom it refers?
    It's clearly not "us".
    We haven't been consulted.
    We have been told what's gonna happen. "Informed" they call it.

    This nouveau riche gent is telling us about yet another open-ended military commitment for the American people to shoulder.

    And - as luck will have it, in this glorious endeavor, we may bond with Bachar (he gassed his own people we must act) el-Assad. Also, the lively prospect of being in sublime partnership with Iran, a charter member of the "axis of evil".

    Together with Denmark and Poland, and the Evil Empire and The Gasser, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids.

    Ketchup anyone?