So, nearly two weeks after Obama's big night time address to the nation where he signaled he would order military operations against ISIS terrorists in Syria the bombs finally began landing Monday night. If the two week notice didn't give ISIS enough time to prepare defenses and move critical targets, the night time bombing of what were likely mostly empty buildings sent them a wake up message.
And now we learn that Obama, who received the Nobel Peace Prize, may be personally approving bombing targets. However you want to look at it, this is Obama's war. Can't blame this one on George W. Bush!
Obama pledged to "eradicate the cancer" of ISIS. Bombing alone won't get the job done. The New York Times reports that weeks of bombing ISIS in Iraq have had only limited impact. The Iraqi Army is still a shambles and the Kurds are still not receiving the heavy weapons they need to be an effective combat force. Training and weapons delivery make take months.
The same is true in Syria where Obama derided Free Syrian Army fighters as a "fantasy" which he now embraces. The training plan funding by Congress may train about 5,000 troops but take up to a year to do it. They will then face a terrorist army that has grown exponentially and currently numbers over 30,000. You don't have to be a military genius to see the downside in that plan.
Marine General James Conway, who served as the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps from 2006-2010 recently said this about Obama's plan: "the president’s plan has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding.” In one way or another that view is echoed by other current and former military who understand that without an effective ground force the "cancer" of ISIS will simply scatter and continue to spread despite the pinprick bombing approach.
But as the Washington Post reports, Obama has a history of ignoring military experts while he clings to short term political gains like claiming he ended the war in Iraq. And he never seems to learn from his mistakes which should be obvious to him by now.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: We Are Paying Price for Obama's Mistakes
Just to drive the message home that Obama ignores sound advice at our cost, former Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was on Sixty Minutes. He made two important points about Obama ignoring advice on keeping troops in Iraq and arming Syrian rebels earlier when it might have made a difference:
Unless Obama magically wakes up from the delusion he knows better than the Generals and suddenly has an epiphany which causes him to learn from the mistakes he's made in Iraq in the past I don't see how his current strategy can succeed. As General Conway says: not a snowball's chance in Hell!
PELLY: Back when you watched the Stars and Stripes being lowered for the last time in Baghdad, were you confident in that moment that pulling out was the right thing to do?"
PANETTA: No, I wasn't! I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq. The decision was that we ought to at least try to maintain eight to 10,000 US troops there, plus, uh, keeping some of our intelligence personnel in place to be able to continue the momentum in the right direction. And, frankly, having those troops there I think would have been given us greater leverage on Maliki to try to force him to do the right thing as well.
PELLEY: In retrospect now, was not arming the [Syrian] rebels at that time a mistake?
PANETTA: I think that would have helped. We paid a price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS.
P.S. The Democrat mantra when things were going bad for President Bush in Iraq was that Bush should "listen to the generals." They said it over and over. Funny how we don't hear that any more.