What to do about Isis was clear from the beginning and it was simple. The
only evaluation that had to be made was this: ask military and civilian
intelligence a single question - if Isis is left to its own devices, if we did
nothing (not Obama's ineffective half baked air strikes) does Isis pose a real
and serious threat to Americans here at home. If the answer is "no" then there should be no U.S. combat involvement. If the answer is "yes"
then whatever ground troops and military force is necessary to destroy Isis where
they are in Syria and Iraq is what was needed then, and what is needed now.
In spite of the usual knee jerk responses from those who react to every need for military force by yelling "Viet Nam" and "Iraq" as if those mistakes and the
weakness and lousy judgement of those who were responsible somehow justifies doing
nothing in the face of a real global threat, if Isis had been recognized as the global threat it was, and effective military action was taken from the beginning, what happened in Paris could have been avoided.
There is no one, not a single military commander or intelligence expert,
not one, who hasn't said that destroying Isis is going to take ground forces and cannot be done without deploying ground forces. Up till now, with Obama, Cameron and Hollande refusing to commit ground forces
to destroy Isis, the world has decided to let the Kurds and moderate Syrian rebels do
their fighting for them. It hasn't been enough.
Since the estimate is that in both Syria and Iraq there are about 30,000
Isis fighters, and we know where they are conventional military wisdom and
strategy and what was called the Powell Doctrine, says that there should be a
coalition, led by America of 100,000 combat troops, perhaps 25,000 each
committed by the U.S., the UK, France and Russia, and whatever air power is
necessary to support them to do one thing -- destroy Isis and their ability to
make war and carry out acts of terrorism as surely as the Allies destroyed the
Nazis, Japan, and Saddam Hussein.
The immediate belief is the attacks in Paris were carried out by those who
went to Syria,were trained, and then came back to France. It's something every
country in Europe and the U. S. is concerned about though there have been far
more in Europe than in the U.S. And now there is talk of how better to defend
against those coming back to commit acts of terror. But the best way to insure
against French or British or American citizens traveling back to their home
countries to commit acts of terrorism, is to make sure there isnt anyone left to
come back. And that means taking the fight to Isis wherever they are in Iraq and
We keep hearing from political leaders whether its Obama or Kerry or
Cameron or other world leaders that no matter what the danger or threat it
represents, "there is no military solution" to the problem. It doesn't matter what
the problem is, there is no military solution.
That same philosophy was used by
Neville Chamberlin in the peace deal he made with Hitler which he called "peace
in our time", right before Hitler invaded Poland. It's the same thinking that
went into supporting the nuclear deal with Iran which is already unraveling. That deal avoided the certainty of what MoveOn, ThinkProgress and Daily Kos said would be
war, within days if the U. S. rejected Iranian demands on the nuclear
Obama's statement on the attacks in Paris as usual carried all the weight
and gravitas of a sack of feathers. Obama calling the attacks " outrageous" and
" heart breaking" is the usual Obama approach of stating the obvious with no
solutions, no pledge of action, and doing what he has always done throughout his
political career better than any politician whoever lived -- doing nothing and
thinking empty words are enough.
"We stand prepared to provide whatever assistance the French need to
respond." Then more from the politicians book of cliches about "standing
shoulder to shoulder with France." (except when world leaders met in Paris to
literally stand shoulder to shoulder in a march of defiance and to show
solidarity after the Charlie Hedbo murders, Obama's shoulders were noticeably missing)
then Obama went on to say, " those who think they can terrorize the people of
France are wrong".
What Obama added was telling when it comes to his approach
to dealing with a difficult problem. Denial. Obama called the Paris attacks, "
an outrageous attempt (italics mine) to terrorize innocent
civilians". It was, as everyone saw, no attempt. It succeeded in killing and terrorizing innocent
civilians. Had it been stopped or thwarted Obama could have called it an
"attempt". But it was no attempt. It was carried out.
The only attempt was the attempt by Obama to deny reality and try to minimize what actually happened by calling it an "attempt" so he
doesn't have to actually act and do something. What happened in Paris was no attempt at terrorizing
innocent civilians. This was an act that did in fact murder 128 innocent
civilians and wound more than 300, many severely.
Naturally the gratuitous Wolf Blitzer who puts finding favor with
everyone first and foremost, characterized Obama's statement as " the president mincing no
words" when all Obama did was mince words.
More Blitzer: " its, its, its a definite situation there" reminding us
again how painful it is to have the current crop of incompetent journalists, especially the news anchors at CNN, every one of whom was sent to Paris to do what CNN always does, milk a tragedy for all it's worth, bringing us the
news in a major crisis. Like having to endure the question by Poppy Harlow to the friend of a girl who was shot in thr concert hall in the leg and arm: "Does she feel lucky that she survived"?
Reaction to the attacks on TV news has been predictable, with commentators, analysts and
experts saying we have to "beef up security" and increase our intelligence. Security and intelligence are fine and neccessary but they are purely and solely defensive. What needs to be added is going on the offensive, and that means committing
whatever military resources it takes to destroy Isis, something Obama didn't
have the stomach to do when he promised to "contain them" then "degrade them",
then "defeat them" using every "D" word in the English language except the word
"destroy"until he was virtually forced into saying " okay, destroy".
Hillary Clinton's response was unfortunately no better. She talked about
"standing with France", which also comes out of the Politicians Book of Cliches,
"in the struggle against Isis". First, if words matter, the use of the word
"struggle" had to make Isis smile, since a "struggle" means you are not
succeeding, you're on the defensive and are having a hard time. Certainly not winning and not sure what to do next. Second, presidential candidates craft their words carefully and Clinton's
use of the words "struggle against Isis" was meant to carefully avoid using the word "war",
when war is what it is.
Clinton could not have been more wrong at the Democratic debate when she said the fight against Isis " was not our fight". She sounded like the right wing isolationists before Pearl Harbor who said exactly the same thing about Hitler and the war in Europe.
The attacks have awakened Hollande who called the Paris attacks "an act of
war" and its clear he is not going to wait around to see who agrees with him.
He sounded like someone who is going to commit France militarily to destroying
Isis. Whether the U.S. or the UK or Russia will join remains to be seen. For
Obama its going to be first and foremost a political calculation designed to
avoid criticism or opposition which is always the case with Obama. But
military commitment is the only way to destroy Isis.
The last time that point was made here some time ago chastising Obama for
calling Isis the "junior varsity" and not being more aggressive against Isis in
Syria and Iraq militarily, a typically ignorant Tea Party Left "progressive" left a comment that opposed U.S. involvement and said "send your kid", which was perhaps an unintended insult to the
American parents who actually have their "kids" in Iraq carrying out air
strikes against Isis, making it sound like what they were doing wasn't worth the time. Now with the
attacks in Paris there are French parents and family members of 128 murdered
victims who, unlike the commentor, wish they had a kid to send.
Hollande sounds like this time he will. And whether Obama and Cameron and
Putin for that matter, join the fight or whether they are simply willing to
hold the coats of the French and "stand with them" remains to be seen. Saturday morning John Kerry offered "indignation and sadness" over the attacks, neither of which will accomplish a thing.
MoveOn's response to the massacre was both predictably and typically pathetic and useless. In their mass emailing they called for "A Vigil For Peace". Their email stated " there is no 'right way' to react to the (Paris) attack (no?) but that a good place to start is with compassion". They didn't say "compassion" for who. Maybe they didn't know. But yes, nothing like compassion to stop the Isis threat. It's what makes these Tea Party Left progressive groups as worthless and ignorant as their climate change denier counterparts on the Tea Party Right.
Bernard-Henri Levy, the French author and philosopher said it best after the attacks: No boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq will mean more blood on the ground in Paris, London and New York. And he added, that it is something Obama is going to have to understand.
It's something French president Hollande seems to have already learned.