Friday, June 26, 2015

No Good Options
     News about ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate occupying large parts of Iraq and Syria, has been reported on a daily basis in US news media for the past year.  Pundits, politicians, and various national security "experts" have offered opinions regarding the effectiveness of a US strategy to disrupt and destroy ISIS and whether a US strategy exists.  That strategy began with a bombing campaign last August with little effect to date on ISIS's ability to take and hold territory.
     In February President Obama sent to congress a request for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS.  Many of the abovementioned critics of the strategy are among the 535 members of congress to whom the request was sent.  For six months congress has ignored the request for the full committee hearings, no floor debates, no votes.  I suspect it may be because they would have to acknowledge in the debate several uncomfortable facts:
1)  The moderate Free Syrian Army is a myth
2)  The Iraqi army is a tragic failure despite ten plus years of "training" by US forces and billions of dollars in arms and equipment provided by the US and subsequently surrendered to ISIS when Iraqi forces deserted
3)  Iraq is a country but not a nation and many Iraqi leaders in Bagdad distrust the US
4)  Iraqi Sunnis in ISIS held territory do not trust the Shia government in Bagdad and see ISIS as the lesser of two evils
5)  If ISIS is defeated in Syria, it is still a civil-war torn mess with Assad in place
6)  It would probably take 120-150,000 US troops occupying Iraq and Syria for ten years at a cost of two trillion dollars to destroy ISIS there
     Given these facts, which allow for no good options, it is little wonder that congress is reluctant to publicly debate the AUMF request.  It is much easier and politically less risky to criticize from the sidelines.  Unfortunately, that is not what congress was elected to do.


  1. General, you not writing anymore?