Obama has a problem. Yes, I know I am the King of Understatement. But I was speaking specifically in terms of his coalition building attempts to battle ISIS/ISIL/IS/ those 'beheading folk'. He once again makes the classic blunder of telling his opponents exactly what he will and won't do in regards to "managing" the ISIS crisis. One of those things he has been adamant about is committing combat troops, commonly referred to as "boots on the ground".
Obama is willing to send bombers and intel and support personnel, but refuses (at the present time) to commit combat troops to the effort. The reasoning?
"..this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region... America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat."You see, it's not really our fight, well, it's kind of our fight, but just because we're leading the fight doesn't mean it's our fight. It's your region, so it's only fair that you guys put up the bulk of the
Man! That really ranks up there with "I have not just yet begun to fight!" doesn't it? More like, "Damn the torpedoes, you guys go on ahead, I'll catch up with you!"
Other than a sophomoric "fairness" argument, I have not heard Obama make the case for why any country should commit ground troops to a war where we will not.
America is seen by most of the world as a land of wealth. People we consider as being "below the poverty line" have a standard of living envied by most of the third world. One of the criticisms of the Viet Nam war, advanced by good liberals, was that the draft was "unfair" because the sons of the wealthy were able to avoid it. The sons of poor people died in disproportionately high numbers to the sons of the wealthy. The son of Senator Al Gore did go to Viet Nam, but as a REMF with a typewriter, well behind the battle lines. I don't believe that he has ever heard a "shot fired in anger". And George W. Bush, even though he was trained as a fighter pilot, still caused apoplexy among liberals as being "AWOL from Viet Nam".
How much will the world, Mr. President, view your request for ground troops from poorer nations to engage in mortal combat, while the sons of the 'affluent' sit home and play Mortal Kombat? "Unfair"?
If you are serious about destroying ISIS, why not care enough to send the very best? I, like most of the nation, am war weary. Mostly because it is unfair to ask even one young man to risk his life for no other real purpose than to provide photo ops and cover for venal politicians, as has been the case for the last six years.
The armed forces of the United States should be committed only when there is a clearly defined objective, are properly trained and equipped, and there is an exit strategy. Allowing casualties in Afghanistan, for example, the war that Obama said we needed to fight, simply to mark time until it is politically expedient to withdraw them, is criminal.
We need to destroy ISIS and simultaneously need to secure the borders that allow any people of uncertain motive into the heartland of our country.
But if we expect a coalition of countries to join us, and commit combat troops to the effort, we must lead by example. Nothing less will do. Nothing.
When Twain's Tom Sawyer was whitewashing his fence, he was able to con a number of people into doing the work for him. Those were simpler times, and Mr. Obama:
You're no Tom Sawyer.
Original art by John Cox. More at John Cox Art
Cross posted at LCR, Political Clown Parade