‘No boots’ is recipe for fail­ure

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - LT. COL. DO­MINIK GEORGE NARGELE Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia

As the Pen­tagon con­tin­ues the U.S.-led coali­tion’s air cam­paign against the Is­lamic State, the best mil­i­tary’s pro­fes­sional as­sess­ment is that de­feat­ing the en­emy re­quires the use of trained and prop­erly equipped U.S. forces on the ground. Pres­i­dent Obama has pledged not to send ground troops and does not ac­cept the as­sess­ment of the top gen­er­als and ad­mi­rals. In ac­cor­dance with the Con­sti­tu­tion, he will win the ar­gu­ment un­less he changes his mind for what he con­sid­ers to be good rea­sons.

Top com­man­ders worry about many pos­si­ble prob­lems, one of which is that, lack­ing ground forces, a U.S. pi­lot forced to eject by me­chan­i­cal break­down or en­emy fire would wait a long time to be res­cued. It could be a dis­as­ter if the Is­lamic State cap­tured a fe­male Amer­i­can pi­lot who landed safely after eject­ing over en­emy ter­ri­tory. The Is­lamic State has man-por­ta­ble air-de­fense sys­tems (“manpads”) in large num­bers, and th­ese can hit air­craft fly­ing be­low 10,000 feet. Search and res­cue is dan­ger­ous enough when he­li­copters have to fly short dis­tances, but when they have to fly hun­dreds of miles, as in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, their chances of suc­cess rapidly de­crease.

If Mr. Obama and mem­bers of his ad­min­is­tra­tion do not ad­mit their strat­egy is a mis­take and the fight­ing turns into fail­ure with­out ground troops, they will blame the com­man­ders. They now blame the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity for lack of warn­ing about the Is­lamic State threat — even though this threat was ear­lier re­ported in the Pres­i­den­tial Daily Brief. The ter­ror­ists will not march into open deserts where they can be de­stroyed by U.S. fire­power. Rather, as in Gaza, they will seek cover in hos­pi­tals, schools and houses in the ci­ties and towns they now oc­cupy. At­tack­ing from the air is use­ful, but it won’t suc­ceed with­out ground forces that can clear and oc­cupy en­emy ter­rain and seize con­tested po­si­tions.

Se­nior of­fi­cers have a choice. They can obey or­ders to carry out a failed strat­egy, or they can put in their ter­mi­na­tion pa­pers and re­sign. Res­ig­na­tion by se­nior of­fi­cers should not be done to em­bar­rass the pres­i­dent, but rather to point out the grav­ity of the Is­lamic State threat and the gen­er­ally bad sit­u­a­tion into which our armed forces have been placed by the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The United States is fight­ing with many old weapons, air­craft and ships. We are los­ing our naval su­pe­ri­or­ity as the gov­ern­ment slashes the Army’s strength and re­duces the Air Force to its low­est strength ever. Mean­while, the Is­lamic State has forces con­sist­ing of tens of thou­sands of ji­hadists, high morale, plush fund­ing and mod­ern arms from Rus­sia and the United States, in the lat­ter case cap­tured weapons.

U.S. airstrikes have been de­scribed as in­ef­fec­tive by mem­bers of Congress. Fur­ther, Mr. Obama gave the Is­lamic State a tac­ti­cal ad­van­tage when he said that there would be no U.S. boots on the ground. Any­time U.S. cit­i­zens are at­tacked by ter­ror­ists, those ter­ror­ists must brought to jus­tice or killed like they kill their many vic­tims.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.