Obama's Advisors Want to Step Up War Against ISIS

President Obama's advisers are promoting the greater use of special forces and stepping up air fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The debate over the proposed steps, which would for the first time position a limited number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria and put U.S. advisers closer to the firefights in Iraq, comes as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter presses the military to deliver new options for greater military involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Apparently, the Pentagon agrees we've hit a "stalemate" in the battle against ISIS. [More...]

So far, Obama has resisted "boots on the ground" in a combat role.

The Pentagon is dreaming if it still thinks working with the Syrian rebels can defeat ISIS.

The newly proposed Special Operations forces would work with moderate Syrian Arab rebels and possibly some Kurdish groups, such as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, that have scored some recent victories against the Islamic State.

A direct attack on Raqqa may be among their plans:

These groups, backed by American air power, are expected to mount a military offensive on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, in the near future. The push against Raqqa, if it proves effective, would mark a significant setback for the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

Why isn't the alternative to the stalemate packing up and going home? ISIS isn't going anywhere, and either is al Qaida. We're just throwing money down the drain.

Obama should think about his legacy. Does he want to be remembered as the President who brought the U.S. back into a war in the Middle East?

The money we are wasting in the Middle East could be of far greater benefit to Americans at home.

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    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 04:46:57 AM EST
    Jeralyn: "Why isn't the alternative to the stalemate packing up and going home?"

    We've spent billions on a reconstituted Iraqi army, yet two whole divisions guarding the city of Mosul, some 30,000 men, simply threw down their arms, left their equipment and fled when confronted by less than 2,000 ISIS rebels in pickup trucks.

    If they're unwilling to defend themselves against a truly violent and odious adversary, I'm very hard-pressed to make the case that we should do so in their stead. Perhaps it is best that Iraq be dismembered, dissolved and reconstituted as fully autonomous Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.

    As far as ISIS is concerned, unless we're willing to redeploy significant numbers of U.S. ground forces to the region, the best we can likely hope for at this point is their containment.

    Because with the notable exception of the same loud little handful of wingbats who revel at the prospect of war, so long as they're not the ones who have to actually fight it themselves, I see no appetite in this country for full-scale U.S. military re-engagement in the Middle East. That pooch has been screwed for the forseeable future.


    I don't think there is a perfect answer (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 12:26:05 PM EST
    And I used to entertain ideas that I needed to let evil burn itself out. That was before I came to understand that I was just standing there allowing someone else's innocent to be murdered or become scarred to the core of their of being, broken forever, doomed to inflict the violence they were exposed to.  There is no perfect answer. We can only do the best we can.

    Not True, it is 42 (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    Presumably all questions fall under the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

    Given our history in the ME, there is about a 97% chance that our involvement will only makes things worse.   I don't want to be here in a decade talking about the people our involvement aided into power, are making ISIS look like cub scouts.

    The idea that this is our moral responsibility is a very compelling argument right up until you realize we will F it up, create more enemies, spend a fortune, bury a bunch of soldiers, kill a entirely too many civilians, and the ME will still be the epicenter of muslim extremism.

    The notion that the right has, that 1) Iraq was somehow successful and 2) that this time will be the time we actually get it right, are nothing but deluded fantasies from people who don't have a lick of sense.


    As long as there are innocents that (none / 0) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 01:04:08 PM EST
    evil can feed into the fire, it will never end.

    Which is why, if nothing else, we help to relocate those who don't wish to stick around to be used as fodder.

    We can't just keep sending our own innocents into that maw, either, but I don't know what the answer is.

    Just please tell me that some of this "advice" Obama is taking isn't about being sure the Dems don't look "weak" in the face of terror heading into a big election.  I'm trying not to think those thoughts, but they keep pushing their way into my consciousness.  What is Joe Biden counseling?


    I don't know how "innocent" Spec Forces (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 02:07:17 PM EST
    Are these days Anne. And that will be the only boots on the ground.  Delta Forces Joshua Wheeler was 39 and battle proven. We won't be sending the innocent into this again.

    Fareed Zacarhia did a good piece on the ME yesterday and our track record. As a whole it is a very mixed bag, we have attempted every possible  solution at least once, and what he has come away with is that the Middle East is its own problem.

    With aligning with Assad, the next step is Russia blows our deal with Iran. So we need to remain relevant in the region, and stopping the next video mass execution is a good thing.

    From what I can tell though, what the White House and DOD are doing now is the culmination of a years worth of behind the scenes work, and has nothing to do with election.

    Now that Russia is on the scene though, us packing up and leaving is zero. If our deal with Iran fails, that would be catastrophic. And Putin is so nuts right now, I think he seeks some kind of global catastrophy.


    MT and DONALD: (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 02:02:22 PM EST
    Reading your comments on this issue, I find myself in mind & heart agreement with both of you.  What I'd like to hear more about is the development of a policy of containment....

    Sooner or later--maybe--it would help if we as a country had an understanding of (if not a consensus) on when any variety of military intervention/threat of military usage would be appropriate to consider.  Starting with a strong presumption of using diplomatic approaches toward international crises that cannot be said to threaten, imminently, our country & people, what factors should be considered in choosing a response.  For example: Is the Bosnia intervention--where the intervention was limited militarily in another sovereign's space and where the apparent instigation stemmed from demonstrated, massive "ethnic cleansing" of a populace tantamount to genocide--a reasonable model in terms of our interests and international interests and ethical issues directly involving humane treatment?  Should there be more or less factors to consider?

    And, in future, if we consider "containment" the best avenue in instances such as Syria, what does/should containment look like? Does the containment policy settled on with respect to the old Soviet Union offer any clues?  

    Mostly, I think real conversation throughout our land is called for about what the 21st century should look like in terms of military usage.  As one who believes strongly that most international crises can & should be dealt with directly by the country/countries directly involved, nonetheless, I cannot go so far as to say "no intervention anywhere, ever, no way, no how" ... because, here especially, the key issues for me concern an honest assessment of the risk to ourselves and others outside the region now afflicted posed by ISIL as well as the massive humanitarian suffering that might result from inaction of any sort.  I have no idea what to do ... only inclinations ... and strong interest, especially, in hearing others' ideas about how "containment" would look.


    I think what we are really finally coming (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 02:17:16 PM EST
    To terms with is there is no model. You can't let the military decide what is best. You can't allow a White House to isolate from the best advisors in the world to decide what is best. You can't leave a State Department out in the wind figuring this stuff out. You absolutely can't forget to invite the world's best sociologists and humanists to this party either, and you have to hear them out too. Everyone comes to the table, and a way forward is designed from there.

    I always like my presents neatly wrapped with beautiful bows. But there isn't a gift here for anyone, just degrees of losing, and maybe the next World War which could include nukes.


    I get this feeling too (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:08:29 PM EST
    That whatever we know about Assad, Russia, Iran, our boots on the ground, and ISIS
    ...we (the unwashed) don't even know the half of it right now.

    And we will probably never know (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:38:10 PM EST
    the half of it.
    I have friends who are from Russia, the Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
    Now, granted, these are Orthodox Christians, not Muslims.  And they fled those countries to find more freedom here.
    But still, when I talk to them, and get their perspective on the whole thing, I am not optimistic that we can even begin to untangle the whole thing.

    I'm glad they have safety and peace here (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:47:17 PM EST
    Oh, believe me, (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 04:42:57 PM EST
    Not only am I happy for them, they are so very, very grateful to have escaped that cauldron.
    And you know, one of the things that is seldom mentioned in the media of this country is the plight of the Christians in the Middle East.
    The Orthodox Christians, the Catholics, and others.  
    Those who were able to escape, did.  But many have not been able to do so, and they suffer the consequences.

    Our direction in Syria and Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 01:11:06 PM EST
    appears to be an unholy and unwholesome alliance of incremental increases in combat roles, shifting strategies and hazy objectives--undergirded by military and political frustration.

     The evident expansion of the military campaign is unlikely to produce tactical advantage let alone strategic and long-term success.

     Unless and until  the military objectives are subordinate to, and coordinated with, a coherent political strategy formulated by not only the US, but also, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the military escalation will likely result in more of the same--with that giant sucking noise being our being pulled into an even more dangerous phase of our Middle East misadventure.  

    I Would Also Add... (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 01:45:34 PM EST
    ...the solution has to include and account for the various religious factions.  Basically every one in the region needs to be part of the solution.

    In reality that will never happen, so let's stop playing war, and let the parties who are actually in the region, figure it out.


    That used to be the Baath party (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:52:53 PM EST
    Assad was a Baathist, Saddam was a Baathist, it used to a common ground until the Bush regime decided to preform something called De-Baathification. Common ground shared by many factions was shattered.

    Yes, despite (none / 0) (#25)
    by KeysDan on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 04:22:24 PM EST
    its internal disputes and splits (Michel Aflaq v Assad)the Baathist party served as a Pan Arabic institution and pillar for societal structures--supposedly in the name of unity, freedom and socialism.  But, at least, and, primarily, as a basis for ruling.

    Agreed, (none / 0) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 02:15:13 PM EST
    but with concern that the parties in the region are trying to figure it out--with barrel bombs, white Toyota pick-ups with gun mounts, sharp knives, terror--the works.

     And, the goal is for dominance by the winner. With winners changing from time to time, and wars starting again from time to time. Of course, we have  assisted in creating a conducive milieu by destabilizing the region with the Iraq disastrous invasion and botched occupation.

    The intrusion of the mess and its outcomes extends beyond the region affecting European and other countries.  And, the entry of Russian military into Syria has changed the power dynamics.  A strategy as proffered by Jimmy Carter is a rational start. Or, in my view, a re-thinking, if not re-drawing,  of the lines cavalierly  etched by colonial powers (e.g. French/Brits) after World War I.  


    Charlie (none / 0) (#2)
    by FlJoe on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 06:28:17 AM EST
    clears it all up for us
    If you're keeping score at home, in Syria, we'll be fighting alongside the people against whom we'll be fighting in Syria. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And the friend of my friend is the enemy of the enemy of my friend. And the friend of the devil is a friend of mine. This isn't foreign policy. It's a Lewis Carroll poem, and it's getting to be a longer one.

    Epic Jabberwocky indeed, and we start yet another multi billion dollar tour of the Ungrateful Dead.

    World War III scenario. Russian bombs kill (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 07:15:39 AM EST
    U.S. Special Forces in Syria.

    It might not necessarily be Russian bombs. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Zorba on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:05:41 PM EST
    It might be Turkish bombs.
    After all, the Turks bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq.
    I realize that the military advisors are not advocating directly supporting the Kurdish PKK (which we have denounced as a terrorist group), a militant group violently opposing the Turkish government in support of Kurdish independence from Turkey, but still, they are talking about possibly supporting the Kurdish YPG.  Many of whose members learned their military skills fighting with.....the PKK.
    It's such an incredible mess in Syria, Iraq, etc.  
    I don't think that our government, or our Pentagon, even begins to appreciate the whole complexity of the Middle East.  We seem to be content to believe, naively, that "the enemies of our enemies are our friends."
    Not necessarily.

    It's hard to know where the line is (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 09:54:47 PM EST
    Between the PKK and YPG. And so far over a 100 American veterans have gone back to Iraq on their own steam and are fighting beside them. The FBI will try to stop you if they suspect you are attempting to do it, but so far no plans to prosecute American veterans who do this.

    I'm Waiting For a Presidential Candidate to Agree (none / 0) (#5)
    by RickyJim on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 10:31:36 AM EST
    Maybe Trump came closest when he said "Let Russia fight them".  I would like someone to list how the US has benefited by its meddling in the Muslim world since WWII.

    This subject would make a great (none / 0) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 10:48:42 AM EST
    question for the Democratic candidates for president. Question:

    President Obama's advisors want to put a limited number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria for an extended time and put U.S. advisers closer to the firefights in Iraq, Would you follow this advise and if so, how many U.S. Special Operations forces would you put in Syria and Iraq?

    The horror! The horror! (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 12:47:12 PM EST
     - Conrad

    Perhaps Pres Obsma will reject (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 01:35:10 PM EST
    advice. There appears to be mvt. towards reaching a diplomatic solution, at least in Syria.

    When you have cards on the table (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 03:10:50 PM EST
    And skin in the boots on the ground, that inspires diplomatic solutions too. I hate to say this, but diplomacy involves first the avoidance of certain forces sometimes.

    There was a (none / 0) (#16)
    by lentinel on Wed Oct 28, 2015 at 02:08:36 PM EST
    video on Youtube - posted in 2008 - which had phrase after phrase - one by McCain and then the same words parroted by Obama.

    So here we are.

    Jeralyn asks:

    "Why isn't the alternative to the stalemate packing up and going home?"

    That was the same question in 2008 - and before that - in 2006. That was what many voted for. Packing up and going home.

    Isn't it time to recognize who Obama actually is - what his priorities are?

    By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

    I think that by now, we should know who it is we have elected.

    Can (none / 0) (#29)
    by FlJoe on Fri Oct 30, 2015 at 04:32:03 PM EST
    they take back the Nobel Peace Prize yet?

    Let's see lose one man, send in 50, let the next president sort it out. Mission creep before our very eyes.


    Stalemate? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Oct 30, 2015 at 04:04:27 PM EST
    Calling it a stalemate seems overly optimistic.