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Thread: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

  1. #1

    Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    President Obama has committed the United States to another open-ended Middle East war in which the potential for doing harm rivals the possibility of doing good.

    That’s the bottom line from Obama’s sober address to the nation. The president made his decision cautiously, reluctantly, even painfully. But make no mistake: The pledge to “destroy” the Islamic State is a long-term commitment, and success will depend on a host of partners who may be unreliable.

    The biggest winner is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who must have broken out the champagne when the president finished speaking Wednesday night. Obama’s stated policy is that Assad must go, but U.S. military action now promises to make it easier for him to stay.

    Expanding the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State into Syria is meant to inflict serious damage on the most capable rebel force seeking to oust Assad’s brutal regime. As Islamic State militants are forced to evacuate territory they now hold, Assad’s army will move in.

    In a more perfect world, “moderate” non-jihadist Syrian rebel groups would be the ones to occupy and hold this land. But no such force is up to the task. U.S. airstrikes likely will pave the way for Assad — who has used chemical weapons against defenseless civilians — to take much of his country back.

    Obama’s plan involves identifying, training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels, but the administration has no illusions that this can be accomplished quickly. Groups such as the Free Syrian Army — which has a long way to go before it is a match for either the Islamic State or Assad’s military machine — may have to content themselves with trying to hold bits and pieces of terrain in the western part of the country until the conflict reaches a point where a political solution is possible. To state the obvious, this could take a while.

    To ask the even more obvious: Once you get involved in the Syrian civil war, how on earth do you get out?

    The Obama administration’s position is that the United States plans to go after Islamic State fighters in Syria but not to intervene otherwise. Obama’s plan does not contemplate any military action against Assad’s forces. But Syria has an extensive, if aging, system of anti-aircraft weaponry. What if one of those missiles is fired at a U.S. warplane? Is the United States then compelled to attack Assad’s air defenses? Do we accept an apology if Assad says, “Sorry, my bad,” and promises not to do it again?

    In fact, won’t all sides try to provoke the United States into doing their dirty work for them? Without much better intelligence about who is who and what is what in a maddeningly complex conflict, the potential for a tragic gap between intentions and outcome is huge.

    In Iraq, Obama’s no-boots strategy anticipates that the Iraqi army — which was initially routed by the Islamic State — can somehow be transformed into an effective fighting force. But is this a reasonable expectation or magical thinking?

    If Iraqi forces are going to take back and hold the territory that the Islamic State occupies — primarily the part of the country where the Sunni minority lives — the new government in Baghdad will have to be seen by residents as legitimate and inclusive.

    Even if this change takes place, the Iraqi military and police will have to be able to exploit the battlefield advantage that U.S. airstrikes provide. To expect a force that recently proved itself incompetent to be changed overnight into a fighting machine is not realistic, I fear.

    Then there is the matter of the broad international coalition that Obama has assembled. The NATO allies are no more inclined to send troops than we are. As for neighboring countries threatened by the Islamic State, how many can be trusted to play a truly constructive role? After all, Saudi Arabia — perhaps the key player — has done more than any other country to finance the spread of jihadist philosophy throughout the Muslim world.

    Iran is not part of the coalition but might as well be. Will relations between Washington and Tehran continue to be defined by the nuclear issue? Or does that take a back seat to cooperation in Iraq and Syria?

    One more question: What if Obama’s plan doesn’t work? Plan B, I suppose, will be for his successor to figure out.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...a37_story.html

  2. #2

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    You know it's pretty bad when Robinson agrees with Krauthammer:

    He’s sending an additional 475 American advisers to Iraq. He says he’s broadening the air campaign, but that is merely an admission that the current campaign was always about more than just protecting U.S. personnel in Irbil and saving Yazidis on mountaintops. It was crucially about providing air support for the local infantry, Kurdish and Iraqi.

    The speech’s only news was the promise to expand the air campaign into Syria and (finally) seriously arm the secular opposition. But this creates a major problem for Obama. Just a month ago, he ridiculed the non-jihadist rebels as nothing but a bunch of?“doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.” Now he deputizes them as our Syrian shock troops. So he seems finally to have found his Syria strategy: F-16s flying air support for pharmacists in tanks.

    Not to worry, says the president. We’ll have lots of other help — “a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.” He then proceeded to name not a single member of this stout assembly or offer even an approximate number.

    Democrats have a habit of accusing George W. Bush of going it alone in Iraq. According to the Center of Military History of the U.S. Army, Bush had 37 nations with us. They sent more than 25,000 troops. So far, Obama has a coalition of nine: eight NATO members plus Australia. How many of those — or of the much touted Arab coalition behind us — do you think will contribute any troops at all?


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...a37_story.html

  3. #3

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    anyone see any israeli "boots on the ground"?
    http://www.bigdelivery.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=31&dateline=142444635  1

  4. #4

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    I don't think anyone wants Israeli boots on the ground in Mesopotamia...

  5. #5

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    i would rather see "god's chosen people" boots on the ground more than american boots...
    http://www.bigdelivery.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=31&dateline=142444635  1

  6. #6

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    The OP doesn't care who criticizes Obama, or why - hawks, doves, you name it, he's on board.

  7. #7

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by wordjazz
    The OP doesn't care who criticizes Obama, or why - hawks, doves, you name it, he's on board.

    Don't you find it unsettling that both of these columnists (who work for the same newspaper and are usually run together on the same page as a point/counterpoint sort of deal) are both critical of Obama's strategy?

  8. #8

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    Quote Originally Posted by wordjazz
    The OP doesn't care who criticizes Obama, or why - hawks, doves, you name it, he's on board.

    Don't you find it unsettling that both of these columnists (who work for the same newspaper and are usually run together on the same page as a point/counterpoint sort of deal) are both critical of Obama's strategy?
    Krauthammer is as predictable as you - maybe more - and after Iraq how does he have the balls to ask to get paid to give his opinion on foreign policy? Better yet, who the f..k is dumb enough to listen to him?

    Robinson is always worth reading, and yes, he raises good points. Did he have a better option? I missed that. This is a tough situation, unless you have pacedog fantasies of Captain America ruling the world, and serious people can disagree on what to do, including what has already been done. Obama could be wrong, no doubt, but I'll trust him to think seriously about it, and also to actually take killing terrorists serious - he's done it before.

  9. #9

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Krauthammer has more critical thought in his pinky than you have in your whole body.

    Robinson is usually a complete apologist for everything Obama does, so this was refreshing.

  10. #10

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    Krauthammer has more critical thought in his pinky than you have in your whole body.

    Robinson is usually a complete apologist for everything Obama does, so this was refreshing.
    More insightful and decisive arguments from Trad.

    PS Did you miss what CK recommended in 2002-2003? Could he have been more wrong? Why do you listen to him now?

  11. #11

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    you obviously confused me for someone else. I don't think the Iraq war was wrong.

  12. #12

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    Quote Originally Posted by wordjazz
    The OP doesn't care who criticizes Obama, or why - hawks, doves, you name it, he's on board.

    Don't you find it unsettling that both of these columnists (who work for the same newspaper and are usually run together on the same page as a point/counterpoint sort of deal) are both critical of Obama's strategy?
    No, because the powers that be want war. It's time to put the accelerator down on making money.
    I am going to tear down your safe space
    Brick by brick I shall smash it with glee
    You cannot stop me from getting inside
    I am cold and I am hard and my name is 'Reality'

  13. #13

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    you obviously confused me for someone else. I don't think the Iraq war was wrong.
    Even after the fact? Do you think it was good that we left a massive power void in the region?
    I am going to tear down your safe space
    Brick by brick I shall smash it with glee
    You cannot stop me from getting inside
    I am cold and I am hard and my name is 'Reality'

  14. #14

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    That was Obama's doing.

  15. #15

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    That was Obama's doing.
    Come on, dude. You can't be that myopic. That void was made when Saddam was taken down. Was he a bad guy? Sure. You have to be a bad guy and rule with an iron fist to control those troglodytes. We've had nothing but trouble since he's been gone. But I guess it was worth it because a lot of people are making a TON of money off all those deaths, right?
    I am going to tear down your safe space
    Brick by brick I shall smash it with glee
    You cannot stop me from getting inside
    I am cold and I am hard and my name is 'Reality'

  16. #16

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Talk about myopic. You don't even understand the whole point of Afghanistan and Iraq do you? Take out a map. Notice that by having troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, we could attack Iran on two fronts (three with a possible amphibian assault). Having that threat would make it easier to get them to abandon their nuclear ambitions. And Obama threw it all away.

  17. #17

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    Talk about myopic. You don't even understand the whole point of Afghanistan and Iraq do you? Take out a map. Notice that by having troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, we could attack Iran on two fronts (three with a possible amphibian assault). Having that threat would make it easier to get them to abandon their nuclear ambitions. And Obama threw it all away.
    That's nothing new. You warmongers have been screaming about that since the war in Iraq started OVER A F***ING DECADE AGO!

    What do you plan on doing to fix the power void in Iraq? Are we going to stay there indefinitely?
    I am going to tear down your safe space
    Brick by brick I shall smash it with glee
    You cannot stop me from getting inside
    I am cold and I am hard and my name is 'Reality'

  18. #18

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    yes, we certainly should have stayed longer than we did. We still have troops in Germany Japan and South Korea. Why do people think we should be able to get in and out of Iraq and A-stan?

  19. #19

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tradition
    yes, we certainly should have stayed longer than we did. We still have troops in Germany Japan and South Korea. Why do people think we should be able to get in and out of Iraq and A-stan?
    You seriously want to turn this into another permanent base and deal with all the costs and deaths that are going to come with it?
    I am going to tear down your safe space
    Brick by brick I shall smash it with glee
    You cannot stop me from getting inside
    I am cold and I am hard and my name is 'Reality'

  20. #20

    Re: Eugene Robinson is not optimistic about ISIS strategy

    Well, yeah... otherwise we just wasted a whole lot of blood and treasure.

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