President Obama spoke to our military earlier today with regards to our ISIS / ISIL involvement. He did not miss words though he was specific in leaving options open that must be discussed.
President Obama emphatically says he will not commit combat ground forces
The president said the following in the snippet above. The full speech can be found here.
And this thing I want to emphasize. This is not and will not be America’s fight alone. One thing we have learned over this last decade is, America can make a decisive difference. But I want to be clear. The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission. They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists.
As your commander in Chief I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq. After a decade of mass deployment it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries’ future. And that is the only solution that will succeed over the long term.
We will use our air power. We will train and equip our partners. We will advise them and we will assist them. We will lead a broad coalition of countries who have a stake in this fight. Because this is not simply America versus ISIL. This is the people of the region fighting against ISIL. It is the world rejecting the brutality of ISIL in favor of a better future for our children and our children’s children, all of them. But we are not going to do this alone.
One thing we have learned is when we do things alone and the people of those countries aren’t doing them for themselves, as soon as we leave, we start getting the same problems. So we’ve got to do things differently.
To be clear, everybody knows that ISIS / ISIL is an evil and violent terrorist organization. It should be clear however that ISIS / ISIL is not an existential threat to the US. In fact much of the lead up to where we are today was a concerted effort by some to con us into war. Iraq was a war of choice. Taking the lead to run a war with ISIS / ISIL is a choice. It is a choice that Americans now seem to want as they saw the graphic decapitation of two Americans.
One wonders if Americans saw the graphic results of our bombs and other military actions on the bodies of thousands of civilians, whether they would feel the same. How would Americans feel if they saw the blood, broken and bloody flesh protruding bones, cracked skulls, spilling brains that we have inflicted on innocent civilians as we hunt terrorists over there presumably so they don’t come over here.
The President is trying to walk slowly into action. He knows involvement is a no win situation, a lost cause. It detracts from the serious economic problems we have at home (unemployment, income/wealth disparity, living wage, infrastructure rebuilding, educational assistance, and more). Unfortunately if the past is prologue, he will continue to get pulled by the military industrial complex, the moderate and center left of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and a petrified population.
The President has a choice, he can continue to placate with his statement above. That statement is full of holes. Thousands on the ground via military advisors, equipment operators, and other military personnel on the ground would not be classified as combat ground forces. One can guarantee that they will be there. When our airplanes start falling out of the sky, our ground forces will be there.
One can only wish that the President could bow out and finally force the Arabs, Iranians, Turkish, and to some extent Europe to take the lead. Our involvement over the years proved as destabilizing as no leadership at all.