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"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in" -- My Take: The New Shooting War In The Middle East
by Dale Brown, [IMAGE]2014


[MEGAFORTRESS.COM image] Just a few months before the end of combat operations in Afghanistan, the U.S. is involved in yet another shooting war in the Middle East. Like Al Pacino's character Michael Corleone in "The Godfather: Part III," despite Pres. Obama's fervent desire to extricate the U.S. from all overseas battlefields, we're back at it again.

Don't get me wrong: there's no one around more than I who would like more than to see an image of an ISIS murderer looking up at the strange sound overhead...just before the Hellfire missile hits him in the face.

But let me point out a few things first:

One: this is the definition of "mission creep."

Our original objective in sending U.S. troops back to Iraq in 2013 was to protect Americans in the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil. No combat boots on the ground.

Before you know it, we have 1,400 American troops or more in Iraq, including U.S. special operations troops embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces. Apparently special ops guys are not considered "boots on the ground"--why, I don't know. But they are most definitely "boots on the ground."

Suddenly our mission changed from protecting Americans to to degrading and destroying the Islamic State. They are a national security threat to the U.S., or so the chant goes, because Americans and European citizens with passports are training with them and they could re-enter this country and attack us here. Sounds like a stretch to me, but let's give Pres. Obama and his guys the benefit of the doubt...a lot more than Democrats gave Pres. Bush's advisors.

Last night, warplanes from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and B-1 bombers from the United Arab Emirates, along with air forces from four Persian Gulf nations, launched air attacks against ISIS, and the U.S. launched cruise missiles against ISIS targets in al-Raqqa, Syria. Maybe "no boots on the ground," but now we have thousands of U.S. sailors and aviators involved in a shooting war in Iraq and Syria.

Plus, a new threat and target suddenly emerged: the Khorasan Group, another group of hard-core Islamist fighters that were supposedly seeking to target Westerners with explosives soaked into clothing and hidden in toothpaste tubes. Now we're going after the Khorasan Group. Even Wikipedia doesn't mention the Khorasan Group, but there it is. Hmmm...

Remember the outrage from liberals and Democrats in the months leading up to the second Iraq War about the ever-changing reasons for invading Iraq: weapons of mass destruction, then the possibility of an Iraqi invasion of Kurdistan, then Saddam supporting al-Qaeda, then Saddam's support of Palestinian suicide bombers, then crimes against women and children? In as many months we've now seen three reasons for sending in American fighters back to Iraq: protect American citizens and facilities, degrade and destroy ISIS, and destroy the Khorasan Group before they can attack America.

Where's the outrage? Where are the questions and protests such as those that swirled around Pres. Bush's supposed "rush to war" (that took 2 years). We are watching the textbook definition of "mission creep" playing right before our eyes, and I hear very few protesting it.

Second: the notion that air power alone can't win any war.

Perhaps true, in the air wars we've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past couple years. But Operation Desert Storm (1991, two generations of weapon technologies later, remember) proved that an extensive air campaign can greatly shorten the inevitable ground war. Five weeks of relentless pounding by coalition forces, including five carrier battle groups and hundreds of fighters and bombers launching from as far as Guam and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, reduced Iraq's ability to wage war to such an extent that the INEVITABLE ground war lasted less than 5 days.

Yes, ISIS will certainly hide within the civilian population now, so massive bombing raids might be difficult without risking large non-combatant casualties. But if we commit large-scale air forces to the fight, ISIS won't be able to roll through dozens of Iraqi and Syrian towns in one fell swoop as they do now.

Mr. President, you said you wanted to degrade and destroy ISIS. You also said you want to do this without American "boots on the ground." What are you prepared to do? Are you willing to commit massive waves of bombers to roam all across Syria and Iraq and destroy anyone roaming within the "kill zone?" That's the only way to do this thing. Unleash your forces and let them take the fight to the enemy. If you hold them back, you risk embarrassment at least and defeat at worst.

Or are you afraid of unleashing the awesome forces under your command? Are you afraid of unleashing Hell upon the world that proclaimed you as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient? Feels weird, doesn't it?--the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient starting another Middle East war in 2014?

Welcome to the real world, Mr. President. At the risk of a nobody advising a two-term president of the United States of America--what are you prepared to do?

And more importantly: how does your campaign rhetoric of 2007 square with your political realities of 2014? Big difference, isn't it?

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