The future of the president’s new strategy is fraught. Let’s see what the analysts say, but three first thoughts:
- I’d like to think the president wouldn’t allow himself to escalate “just 475 soldiers at a time.” We know how that ends. But eventually an American pilot will be shot out of the sky. Mr. Obama was mocked about his toughness after the Syrian red line debacle and now, after these beheadings, goaded into trotting out America’s old air campaign trick that even he flatly acknowledges won’t be sufficient.
- He has now declared a new American goal – to ultimately ‘defeat’ ISIS – but plans to rely on untrusting and untrusted allies to accomplish it. After the U.S.-built Iraqi army version 1.0 turned and ran from ISIS, we now propose to push in front of us version 2.0, made up in significant part of Iranian-backed Shiite troops. These may be the only people northern Iraqi Sunnis detest more than ISIS.
- Shame on the usual suspects for inciting Americans into another air campaign in the same part of the world where we seem incapable of remembering even recently learned lessons.
It doesn’t add up. There are too many needles that won’t be threaded here. More later.