President Obama took pride that he unilaterally led US troops out of Iraq in 2011 (without achieving a Status of Forces agreement) and promises to do the same in Afghanistan by 2016. Casual political observers may now conclude that President Barack Obama has dispensed with the dangerous illusion about optional wars after the aerial bombing of ISIS and Khorasan Group targets in Syria. US CentCom claims that the Khorasan Group was in the final stages of an imminent attact on US targets, potentially even in the U.S. Homeland.
However, in the run up to the still unnamed mission from the nascent anti-ISIS coalition, President Obama insisted on being clear about not having American boots on the ground.
Congress voted for funding to train Syrian rebels, but that training is said to take a year to accomplish. Now that American airpower decimated ISIS and Khorason targets near Aleppo and Raqqa, Syria, an ISIS pull out would leave a power vacuum. Without American boots on the ground, who re-establishes order? Prior to the bombing, former Marine Corps Commandant (Ret.) General James Conway suggested that Mr. Obama's apparent strategy against ISIS did not have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding.
Mr. Obama may still harbor the illusion about cafeteria conflicts, but General Douglas MacArthur's warning that: "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it" rings true today.
America acting to stop the brutality and belligerence of terrorist armies like ISIS and the Khorason Group which threaten US is a tardy step in the right direction. However, not having a clearly defined plan of action other than ruling out boots on the ground may keep the chimera alive for the Commander-in-Chief.
h/t: Bob Englehart