September 19th, 2014

Obama vs. his generals

The WaPo has been reporting on the fact that Obama and his generals are at odds over the conduct of the operation against ISIS. The conflict seems to be heating up (the war against the generals, that is, not the one against ISIS):

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, became the latest high-profile skeptic on Thursday, telling the House Intelligence Committee that a blanket prohibition on ground combat was tying the military’s hands. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”

And yet that’s the very sort of thing Obama has been doing since he became Commander in Chief six and a half years ago—announcing all the things he would not do, and the dates of withdrawals even as he committed troops.

Obama campaigned as an antiwar president (except for Afghanistan, and even that was clearly half-hearted at best), not a warrior. So America got what it voted for. Obama benefited from the success of the Bush surge which Obama had so criticized. By the time of the 2008 election, terrorism and the Iraq War were not seen as pressing crises anymore, and people were eager to give a supposed peace president a chance (as was the committee awarding the Nobel Peace Prize).

What’s happening now is a combination of several elements. The first is Obama’s natural tendency to mull things over and dither, procrastinate and talk (and talk and talk and talk). That characteristic of Obama’s is being compounded by a very real dilemma re ISIS: this is a particularly knotty problem to tackle, and it may require an enormous outlay of time, effort, blood, and treasure. We may be very directly threatened by ISIS in a very big way some day, even some day soon. But for the moment ISIS seems quite far away. However, ISIS is destabilizing the already highly unstable Middle East, which could have enormous repercussions for us as well.

Then there’s the 2014 election. With Obama, politics is always huge, perhaps the hugest thing of all. The public is outraged at ISIS and angry at Obama’s inaction, so this is one situation where he may feel that he must act in a bellicose manner for political reasons. But the trick is to act just aggressive enough to placate the masses but not enough to risk becoming the war president he excoriated Bush for being, and in particular to avoid deploying the dread boots on the ground. ABB, Anything But Bush! That’s a delicate line on which Obama is trying to balance, and those pesky generals—who have the strange notion of actually wanting to win the conflict—get in his way.

Speaking of the generals—although Obama’s never said it, it’s probably also the case that he believes he’s a better general than his generals (““I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director”). So why should he listen to their advice, even if his goals were the same as theirs?

Civilian control of the military is a double-edged sword, with advantages and disadvantages and potential for discord. But has there ever been any other president who so consistently ignored his generals? LBJ liked to fine-tune the campaign, but did he conduct a war effort so clearly against their advice?

Although Obama was never against some bombing here and there, and of course he seems to like using drones, he has made his aversion to military action clear, and it was already clear when he was a candidate. It’s almost as though George McClellan (with the Copperhead-controlled platform) or Eugene McCarthy had won in 1864 and 1968, and had become Commanders-in-Chief during the Civil and Vietnam Wars, respectively.

In the 1970s, after Nixon was forced out and Ford became president (although never as a result of an election), it was a hugely Democratic and antiwar legislature that pushed the financial withdrawal and the Vietnam War’s end, rather than President Ford himself (see Ford’s signing statement as evidence of his disapproval of Congress’s action). The antiwar mid–to-late 70s was another dangerous time when the world perceived us as weak. Now we face another.

[NOTE: I have compared Obama to Hamlet several times, and rewritten Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy to fit his hesitations around military action. The first concerned Afghanistan in 2009; the second was about Syria in 2013. Still pretty good, if I do say so myself. I think they’re worth reading in their entirety, but this part of the 2013 version struck me as particularly pertinent today:

…who would tyrants bear,
To defy the red lines that he drew?
But that the dread of something afterward,
The unknown consequences in whose grip
A legacy might founder, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair MSM! Sycophants, in thy orisons
Be all my sins forgotten.

ISIS appears to be that dread “something afterward.”]

39 Responses to “Obama vs. his generals”

  1. Jim Miller Says:

    Funny – This morning I put up a post commenting on the same thing and said:

    “Even worse, I don’t think that he realizes how much he doesn’t know, how wrong many of his ideas about strategy are. Sometimes, in a sour mood, I picture him telling Valerie Jarrett that he is a better general than his generals.”

    I may be giving myself too much credit, but “Great minds . . .”

  2. Sgt. Mom Says:

    The glacial reception of Obama giving a speech to the American Legion a few weeks ago may be a harbinger. They all but sat on their hands, defying a tiny claque of Obama supporters sitting at the front and trying to cheer-lead. I can only guess that cool reception stung pretty badly.

    But then, I don’t think Obama has ever been a fan of the military, not really. Oh, he probably likes them as rent-a-troop props when giving a speech, and I do admit there are those occasions when there enthused military members mobbing him like teenage girls at a One Direction concert … but I did look at the pictures of the most recent of them, the aftermath of his speech at McDill AFB.
    It struck me that of the enthusiastic troops in the shot with him, most were either AA, or women – and all of them of very junior ranks.

    And, yeah, I also can imagine him telling ValJar that he is a better general than his generals.

    From scanning various milblogs and facebook pages – where only veterans not currently employed as DOD civilians can be truly blunt and honest – I get the impression that Obama is about as popular among the larger part of the career military as a hooker with gonorrhea at an orgy. YMMV, however.

  3. mf Says:

    It is also Obama versus America.

  4. Jenk Says:

    Wrong, Sgt. Mom–he’s slightly less popular than Ebola but maybe just a bit more popular than an ISIS beheading. A good friend of mine’s son is considering enlisting in the Air Force, and I’m busily looking for a reason to talk him out of it until this buffoon is finally gone….

  5. J.J. Says:

    Neo: “LBJ liked to fine-tune the campaign, but did he conduct a war effort so clearly against their advice?”

    Yes, he did. After the Gulf of Tonkin incident, LBJ asked the Joint Chiefs for recommendations for dealing with North Vietnam. They provided a range of options, but their preferred plan was to isolate the North by blockading/mining their harbors, cutting all rail lines from China, destroying the dam on the Red River (source of irrigation water for the rice crop.), destroy their oil storage infrastructure/electric power infrastructure, destroy bridges, and attack truck convoys wherever found. I was somewhat privy to the proposed plans because my squadron was tasked with mining Haiphong Harbor, if the order was given. Our JCS contact told us that the plan was to shut them down logistically – to deny them the beans and bullets necessary to carry on their attack on the South.. It was believed by the Joint Chiefs that, within six months of such operations, the North would be ready to talk about some kind of division of the country ala North and South Korea.

    The reason LBJ opted for his gradual approach to bombing the North seemed to be guided by political concerns. Interestingly, his approach led him and the nation into the quagmire, which caused his decision not to seek re-election.

    This all seems eerily reminiscent of those days.

    I have opined in previous comments that what air power can do, especially in the desert (finding the targets was harder in the jungles), is to go after their logistics. All armies have to have beans, fuel, bullets, etc. to operate. Deny them that and they become much easier to defeat. I believe that a concentrated strategic bombing campaign using B-52s to destroy their headquarters, supply dumps, oil infrastructure, roads, etc. coupled with continuous tactical air to attack any vehicle movement on the roads would degrade their fighting abilities such that a brigade sized Marine Expeditionary force could mop them up in six months.

    The question then becomes, what happens after ISIS is defeated? Aye, that’s the problem isn’t it? 20,000 occupying troops for a generation? Or leave with a warning that if we have to come back again it will be much uglier next time?

    I think a quick decisive victory over ISIS could change the calculus in the ME. But then I’m a believer in the value of airpower and a bit of a Neanderthal.

  6. br549 Says:

    I do not know if this was covered above. Forgive me if it was. But it is my understanding he has relieved over 200 high ranking officers during his,,,,ummm….tenure.

    In all things, I still believe he is accomplishing exactly what he set out to do, better than any President alive today.

    As of late, since returning to the stage, I now dislike Jimmy Carter. I used to just feel sorry for him.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Politically, Obama is skating on very thin ice, when our open southern borders are considered vis-à-vis ISIS. When those factors are triangulated against Obama’s predictable and pathetically incompetent plans to ‘degrade and manage’ ISIS you have a formula for disaster. ISIS has MANPADS both from Libyan and Syrian sources and may well have hundreds of them. Smuggling them into the US shouldn’t be particularly difficult.

    “no threat is more serious to [commercial] aviation than man-portable air defense systems” (MANPADS) Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, October 2003

    There are multiple reports that Obama has accepted the resignations of over 200 senior officers during his tenure and the implications are profoundly disturbing.

  8. Sharon W Says:

    Even though there are not words to describe how out of his depth this man is, Neo, you manage to encapsulate the unhappy reality. I always say, I never knew projection existed on a societal level until Obama was elected. He is everything the Left ever accused Bush being. Exasperating!

  9. Eric Says:


    AQ became an elevated asymmetric global threat when they found a host in the Taliban that gave them sustained, secure, and stable physical space to organize, develop, and train.

    ISIS is setting up a physical space for the same purpose, but aim to do it better than AQ.

  10. Mike Says:

    “The first is Obama’s natural tendency to mull things over and dither, procrastinate and talk (and talk and talk and talk).”

    This is a major misreading of Obama. Unbelievable to me after all these years that people think this bout him.

    If he appears to “dither” and “mull things over” it’s just a pose. It’s a mere affectation.

    Politics and Power. Period. He’ll pretend whatever he has to to get his way.

    It is incredible to me at this point that Obama can be be somehow disparaged as being incompetent or is not getting what he wants.

    The guy is batting a thousand.

    It is sheer delusion to pretend otherwise. Doing so is an avoidance mechanism.

    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    I’d change that to “The good people lack all courage, while the worst are full of passionate intensity for their side getting what they want and destroying the other side”.

    I am more and more coming to the conclusion that America will be lost for lack of courage; and decisiveness. I wouldn’t give this guy a second to breath before I hit him with the next verbal charge. He’s the most dangerous animal on the planet right now…and I mean that. He will do more destruction than the Ebola virus.

    Richard Fernandez had it right a few days back. Obama is a bomb. That’s what he is. He has gone off and he is going off. There is no stopping him unless you stop a bomb.



  11. parker Says:

    Everywhere the narcissist in chief gazes upon his reflection the mirrors are cracking. His beautiful wickedness is melting. He will become ever more dangerous as his carefully crafted image erodes. This fig leaf response will come back to haunt us all and there will be no Bush to blame no matter how hard the msm spins.

  12. southpaw Says:

    Is there anyone boy wonder is not at odds with?

    I fear fair Neo you’ve quoted the wrong version of Shakespeare which fails to capture the true character of our confused and phony intellectual Hamlet, and so direct you to this version of Hamlet’s sililoquy; that is the Mark Twain version, spoken by another con man:
    “To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane,
    But that the fear of something after death
    Murders the innocent sleep,
    Great nature’s second course,
    And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    There’s the respect must give us pause:
    Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
    The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take,
    In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn
    In customary suits of solemn black,
    But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,
    Breathes forth contagion on the world,
    And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage…”
    Methinks still you givest him too much credit for deep thought.

  13. caburgess Says:

    My son, a lawyer who after passing the Michigan Bar exam was very patriotic, and decided to join the Army as an ordinary enlisted infantry soldier prior to beginning his legal career. Upon his discharge after returning from a combat tour in Afghanistan, expressed his love for his fellow soldiers but said he would NEVER EVER serve again as long as Obama is Commander in Chief.

  14. mf Says:

    This might help in understanding what America is up against. Artfldgr has mentioned the Revolutionary Catechism. Here’s an explanation of it that I find helpful.

    “One cannot fully understand communism without understanding thoroughly the towering importance of this ‘Catechism.’ Here is the real secret that makes communism work so effectively in fomenting revolution in every land. One will never truly comprehend the psychology of the communist as a person, nor the amazing success communism as a movement has achieved without first weighing Nechayev’s contribution to Marxism-Leninism through his advocacy of self-destruction as a fundamental principle of revolution!

    Nechayev’s name is, today, almost unknown. Yet it should be included with Marx’s and Lenin’s as those of the major geniuses of evil whose impact upon history has forever changed the world. Marxism would be only another sterile economic theory without Lenin’s practicality. Lenin would himself have been only an ineffective socialist revolutionary without Marx and Nechayev. In a word, it is socialism plum ‘Nechayevism’ which equals communism! There is no single document in the possession of the serious student of communism that approaches Nechayev’s ‘Catechism’ in importance for deep insight into the actual nature of communism. It surpasses in significance even the writings of Marx himself.

    The Revolutionary Catechism transformed Lenin into a worthless, murderous monster. It gave him the dreadful instrument that has made communism the most important and sinister movement of the 20th Century. it is the guide to power, the means of the transformation of ordinary men into the ‘New Communist Men,’ and much more.

    When you read the ‘Catechism’ you will hear (horribly perverted) echoes of the blazing missionary zeal and self denial of early Christianity. More than any other document, the ‘Catechism’ is the illustration of the fact that ‘communism is the perversion of Christianity.’ Any person who reads and understands the importance of the ‘Catechism’ will never again refer to communism as merely another political movement. It is vastly more than politics.

    Nothing could possibly be more useful than that everyone who seeks to combat communism become fully acquainted with the Revolutionary Catechism. It is still today the dreadful secret behind communism. It is the reason that there can be no compromise with the communists, no negotiations, no appeasement. Read it for yourself and fear! This is the true measure of your enemy! People who have wondered as to the source of the astounding power of communism need do so no longer. The secret is out! It begins by the transformation of the spiritually destitute individual into a destructive revolutionist, using a strange process called dehumanization. In 1873, Sergey Nechayev, an obscure Russian Jewish revolutionary, aged 24, stood trial before a court in Moscow, charged with murder. His real crime was even greater. ‘He discovered the key to the box containing the forces of dissolution which destroy the state. He knew this and the court was perfectly aware that he knew it. Every day the minutes of the trial were laid before a Czar . . .’ (The Life and Death of Lenin, Robert Payne, p. 20).

    Nechayev, though very young, was already an important leader of the vast conspiratorial revolutionary movement that was secretly spinning its spider’s web across the whole of Russia. About 1873, he wrote a document which Lenin was to read and follow to the letter all the days of his life. It was this document called, ‘The Revolutionary Catechism,’ which provided Lenin with the formula with which he made Marxism into what communists call, ‘Marxist-Leninism.’

    Nechavyev died in prison in 1882 but his associates had brought the Revolutionary Catechism to the personal attention of Lenin. Lenin later spoke of Nechayev as, ‘this titanic revolutionary who gave his ever such startling formulation that they were forever printed on the memory.’ Lenin himself added, ‘All of Nechayev should be published. It is necessary to learn and seek out everything he wrote.’

    Lenin used the principles of this brutal Revolutionary Catechism to come to power. More importantly, he used them to insure that communism would stay in power (a historically unique secret which no other tyranny has known), and to spread the communist revolution throughout the earth. All communists, whether they know it or not, are still following Nechayev’s soul-shattering covenant with death and destruction” (M.S. McBirnie, Community Churches of America, P.O. Box 90, Glendale, CA 91309).>

    The Catechism itself continues here.

  15. neo-neocon Says:


    You misunderstand what I’m saying. There’s no contradiction between what you’re saying and what I’m saying. As I wrote, politics comes first and foremost with Obama. He knows that people want him to act vis a vis ISIS, and his dithering and indecisiveness involves the following, as I described it in the post:

    But the trick is to act just aggressive enough to placate the masses but not enough to risk becoming the war president he excoriated Bush for being, and in particular to avoid deploying the dread boots on the ground. ABB, Anything But Bush! That’s a delicate line on which Obama is trying to balance, and those pesky generals—who have the strange notion of actually wanting to win the conflict—get in his way.

    His goal is to walk that line, and his dithering is about how best to do it.

    He doesn’t dither about everything. I have always said he is quite successful at certain things, and quite decisive at them as well. But not about ISIS, and not about Afghanistan or Syria or any number of similar problems earlier in his administration. He had some difficulty figuring out how to walk that line. It’s getting him into some trouble at the moment.

  16. blert Says:


    Al Baghdadi shows a preference for the classic caliphate.

    He’s gobbling up AQ franchise players with a vengeance.

    ISIS is much more towards Napoleonic France, mass armies, and rapid advance.

  17. RA Says:

    Sufficient air power might allow the local boots on the ground to prevail.
    Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics. So, yeah, air power might work if sufficiently powerful and sustained, cutting off the logistics. Problem becomes more difficult when ISIS gets hold of substantial infrastructure such as…Syria’s cities. What do we do then? It’s one thing, using a WW II example, to cut off a Japanese-held island. It’s another to isolate a battlefield as in Italy. And yet another to cut off a German unit defending, say, Cologne.

    Some people think zero can’t figure out how to figure out how to win. Some people think he can’t will himself to win. Some people think his idea of “winning” is not ours; not the usual.
    Some people think that his idea of winning includes victory for the caliphate, among other things.
    All of those would look the same at this point.

  18. Ymarsakar Says:

    The US was already withdrawing from Vietnam, since most of the fight was being conducted by the Republic. What the Democrats did was to withdraw logistics, air support, and money from our allies. They did this because they needed it to Buy Votes at home.

  19. RA Says:

    You mean it wasn’t reflexive, born-in-the-bone treachery and betrayal for the sake of treachery and betrayal? I think you’re being too charitable.

  20. Eric Says:

    Contrast with President Bush’s decision-making process for the COIN “Surge”:

  21. Mike Says:



  22. blert Says:

    While I’m no fan of ISIS or al Baghdadi, I must say that I’m against most of the hot-headed interventionist nostrums that are flying about.

    1) ISIS does NOT have any significant power projection capacity.

    2) ISIS is run, by Baghdadi, like a Napoleonic organization. He wants TURF. America, and the West generally, are w a a a a y down the list — deep in his decision stack.

    3) Al Baghdadi’s top priority is crushing al Nusrah. And he is definitely taking care of business. This is no time to stop him.

    4) ISIS has absolutely no capacity to refurbish the high tech gear that it ‘liberated’ from the Iraqi army. The M198 howitzers — and their prime movers — figure large in any calculus. THESE should be the targets of our drone campaign.

    5) We should utterly ignore IS training camps. They are sure to be filled to the brim with Shanghai’d Sunnis. They are there strictly by compulsion. There are no end of Sunni complaints on this score already on the open record.

    6) The IS nation is utterly dependent upon IMPORTED FOOD. Right now that food is sole sourced out of Turkey. So Erdogan is standing on their throttle. Erdogan also has serious economic issues.

    7) Their food import requirement should entirely offset their oil export income. So, instead of throttling Sunni oil exports, we should be happy to see them proceed. It’s just that the days of free food are over.

    8) At some point al Baghdadi could slip up. We might drone him. But, of all the personalities in the Islamist ranks, al Baghdadi’s territorial impulses may cause him to mellow into the classic sand tyrant. Why get into a twist over a fellow who’s not much different than Assad or Saddam? The last time I checked, there was a serious lack of Thomas Jeffersonians wandering in Arabia.

    9) With only light infantry at his beck and call, al Baghdadi will not be able to push the Kurds off their turf — nor much else. He’ll be right back to where he was twelve months ago.

    10) In the meantime, al Baghdadi might corral Assad up into the northwest — where he really belongs.

    11) Once his momentum wanes, al Baghdadi will be compelled to keep his boys happy. That should well force him to pump even more oil. Without the Assad family to foul things up, amazing things might be possible. The CIA claims that oil is just about everywhere across Sunni Arabia. There’s a huge pocket right at the old Syrian-Iraqi border — in al Anbar. Yes, it straddles the border — and the Euphrates river.

    12) If Jordan were to absorb Sunni Syria and Sunni Iraq then all of that Sunni oil could be exported via Lebanon or Aqaba — in addition to Turkey. One could imagine a pipeline that transited to Kuwait, too.

  23. J.J. Says:

    blert, “1) ISIS does NOT have any significant power projection capacity.”

    Not in terms of major military power. What they do have is the ability to train jihadis for martyrdom missions in the West. This is the purpose of Fourth Generation Warfare. They don’t want a massive engagement with us, and are counting on the anti-war forces in the U.S. to forestall that. They have studied the propaganda techniques of the North Vietnamese and are using them. They are also using social media quite expertly to radicalize and recruit their jihadis.

    They may successfully carry out some minor attacks such as we have seen since 9/11 – all of which the Obama administration will call “work place violence” or “lone wolf criminal attacks.” This would result in more security theater around airports, malls, football arenas, etc. All expensive measures that can’t stop clever and suicidal attacks. Doesn’t it piss you off that, because of a bunch of radical religionists, hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens have to submit to the indignities of the TSA? Why do we let them cow us like that?

    If they are allowed to consolidate their position, I have no doubt they will be planning something big while biding their time. By big, I mean something nuclear, biological, or chemical with really mass casualties. Why give them the space and time to do it?

    IMHO, it is better to crush this outfit while it’s still in its burgeoning stage. As a “state” with territory, bases, supply lines, petroleum infrastructure, etc, they are a much easier target than a bunch of shadowy cells hiding among the population. A really full on take down done without mercy or apology would resonate all over the Muslim world. They know and understand the strong horse. Right now we are the weak horse. We’re hanging back and being reactionary. We’re playing defense and not doing it all that well.

  24. blert Says:


    The solution is to cut off their food supply.

    Send them back to the farm.

    BTW, very few wannabee jihadis will travel to a famine zone.

    I can see from the general Internet memes that the food vulnerabilities of the jihadis does not register.

    In contrast, civilians think that we can just drop in like jedi knights and zap the bad guys.

    Further, there is a general ignorance WRT the compulsion the fanatics are using on Sunnis. Almost all of the ammo is destined to be expended on new ‘recruits’ who don’t even want to be there.

    The ONLY campaign that makes any sense is one that plinks off ISIS heavy weapons — especially the M198 howitzers — and leaves ISIS no better armed than the Kurds.

    Once that is done, the Sunni tribes will go after their oppressors, hammer and tong. They are also the ONLY force than can effectively do so.

    In the meantime, America should permit al Baghdadi to liquidate al Nusrah and its buddies. He’s the only effective force that can do that. And he’s doing a pretty effective job, to date.

    As for funding the FSA: that’s totally nuts. The FSA has the fire power of Barney Fife. It’s a propaganda front whose sole function is to transfer weapons and talent to ISIS.

    The President’s request for funding has not even been correctly analyzed by our conservative Congressmen. DC truly lives in a bubble.

    Thank you WaPo and NYT.


    We really ducked a bullet when AQ’s attempt to nuke the George Washington was stopped at the gang plank.

    For operational security reasons, Pakistan is never going to level with the Press.

    But the foiled AQ plot almost certainly revolved around having a decent shot at sending an atomic warhead/ C-802 missile directly at our carrier — from dockside.

    AQ’s press office indicates that this plot has been brewing for Y E A R S.

    And, for years the US DoD has feared that a Pakistani nuke would be grabbed by AQ off of the streets of Pakistan.

    Since Pakistan has shunned American PAL technology… AND because Pakistan is letting its atomics roam the streets (lest they be seized by US special forces) it’s also a pretty good bet that Islamabad has placed its atomic warheads out with its fleet.

    The C-802 missile is a Red Chinese design — originally intended to send an atomic warhead out to sink an American carrier. The purported short range bandied about in the open press is surely a staggering lie.

    American cruise missiles of that size are able to transit 1000 kM and more.

    And no-one should believe that AQ intended to set sail with a Pakistani frigate. No, the plan had to be to do their business right there at the pier.

    Do not hold your breath waiting for the Press to put 2 + 2 together — even though Islamabad is tearing the world apart hunting down conspirators.

    This ^^^^ is the biggest story of 2014 and no-one is writing it up.

    Big Z is really ticked that he’s being diss’d.

  25. Mike Says:


    You make good points. But ISIS is not a local Mideast problem. It’s an ideology for export.

    We had a choice going all the way back to 1988 and Gulf I: We either go in there, win, and stay for half a century or more; or go “Fortress America” and withdraw from the world, throw up the defenses and let them have at it amongst themselves.

    I think that after Gulf II we should have stayed with troops in Iraq until 2075 – just like Germany and Japan.

    But we chose the other way. Now the issue is how do we protect America if even a British lowlife can cut our heads off on video; and maybe some other lowlife will blow up a US City with a Nuke or else detonate a dirty bomb; blow up our dams; poison our water; attack our grid, etc.

    And how can we do all that and remain a prosperous free, trading, innovative country?

    Obama and all his stupid voters created a huge problem for us. Well, it’s there as a problem. The solution is…?

  26. Eric Says:

    JJ: “What they do have is the ability to train jihadis for martyrdom missions in the West.”

    Yep. IS does have a conventional-looking mech, light infantry capability, but its bread and butter, like its AQ roots, remains asymmetric, 4GW war.

    JJ: “If they are allowed to consolidate their position, I have no doubt they will be planning something big while biding their time.”

    Yep. Near enemy, far enemy.

    Control of physical space and resources gives IS the capability to organize, develop, train for the far enemy, recalling AQ in pre-OEF Afghanistan.

    JJ: “A really full on take down done without mercy or apology would resonate all over the Muslim world. They know and understand the strong horse.”

    We achieved this with the COIN “Surge” and Anbar Awakening, but then regressed.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s more like a game of Go, where Hussein takes all the US tactical assets and gives it to Iraq’s enemies via overturning the table.

  28. NeoConScum Says:

    The vastly predictable mess that significant parts of the world are in due to the broadcast of a new American tepidness, non-dependability,
    inconsistency and WEAKNESS at the Top is awful to digest in its ‘didn’t take long’ reality. My God, the scrawny Pretender is even more of a catastrophe than even us Nay Sayers warned in ’08. The close-up FACTS of what he has sown are numbing and stunning.

    ALL of it was avoidable. Do I miss you yet, President Bush? Yes, True Wartime Leader, from January 20, 2009 until this present moment. Big Time. A Large Set of Balls vs. a Vast Testicular Concavity. That counts in a Big Dangerous Time.

    Millions of people who live in the city and state of New York where those towers came down that September morning and the Axis of Everything shifted, voted for His Infantile Majesty. Breathtaking. Inexcusable. Loathsome. Then, having witnessed nearly 4-years of his special gifts, The Boy King was re-elected.

    If the LIV crowd puts the truly ravenous Clintons back in charge in the ’16 Election….My God.

    Never have I feared for my country as I do now.
    Silly me. Wacist Neocon, Warmonger, Hater of Evil, Wisher to Put All Adherents of Radical Islam in the Ground ‘got’ Obam-Bam back in those Rev. Wright, Billy Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn ‘Tells’. Much less the Berlin multitudes speech which credited America with nothing for Berlin’s salvation. It was “the World”, dont’cha know. Cairo speech, anyone…? Abandonment of the Huge Victory of Iraq..? Announcement that he intends the same for Afghanistan…?

    What wasn’t ‘To Get’ about this Hard Left apostle of Alinsky??

  29. Eric Says:


    The ones that perplex me the most are the seemingly relatively clear-headed ones who’ll criticize Obama’s record, advocate for a Bush-like foreign policy, yet then as a matter of course, put down Bush.

  30. NeoConScum Says:

    Eric..AMEN to that, Friend. Even now, while the world’s thugs and butchers are proving GWB right at every turn, it’s still seemingly Verbotten to hand him Big Compliments. What cheap-ass nonsense. And, the ex-Prez remains silent while he goes about his life. It is against his code to answer the horseshit artists who don’t come up to the height of a pile of Barney’s poop. He just won’t do it. As C-in-C he was much the same re-his cheap, moral midget howlers in the MSM and on the Hill. Sometimes made me crazy with frustration the man is the man. And, of course, now that Cheney the Great is speaking out some, the pile-on by the same turds is quick. But, soooo hollow. Duuuuhhhhhhh…Look at the F***ing world, scrawny dudes. See anything?? Do you still think Weakness and Indecision Aren’t provocative??

  31. J.J. Says:

    Eric: “We achieved this with the COIN “Surge” and Anbar Awakening, but then regressed.”

    Yes, but it was always going to be a close run thing with the Shias in power and shutting out the Sunnis. That’s one reason why Maliki didn’t want an occupation. We were cramping his style. That’s how the Sunni terrorists got another toe hold.

    If we could hope to live in some semblance of peace and tolerance with Islam, I would be all for standing back and letting them fight it out. The problem is that they (both Shia and Sunni) hate us and have no tolerance for us. They hate us primarily because we are infidels and we are both economically and militarily powerful. Our success puts the lie to all they believe about the will of Allah. Of course, our support for Israel makes us especially hated by those who have dedicated their lives to Israel’s destruction.

    Obama believes, in spite of all evidence, that he can smooth things over with the Muslims. However, the die is cast. We will either fight and fight to win, or eventually they will find a way to bring us down. I liken our position to that of the Romans as the barbarians began encroaching on their Empire. It took a long time, but Rome eventually fell and the Dark Ages descended. There are many who would say, “Oh no, that couldn’t happen again!” Look around. All the portents are there.

    We have no long term plan for success and we have no will because we’re too immersed in i-phones, i-pads, political correctness, etc. Defending ourselves has been increasingly demonized by the progs since WWII The Romans eventually fell because they couldn’t be bothered to defend themselves.

    What I envision in dealing with ISIS is to blitzkrieg them primarily with air power, but with enough boots on the ground to take them down in detail. What happens after could be a lengthy occupation or a quick departure with a warning that, like the Terminator, “Ve vill be bahk!” if they don’t behave and keep the terrorists under control. That decision should be made before we embark on any combat ops, but it won’t.

    We could try, as blert suggests, to cut off their food supplies. That means getting tough with Turkey, from which most of their food comes, and destroying their oil infrastructure, which provides the money to buy food. Their are lots of ways too disrupt them, but Obama is sure to muff any possibilities by waiting far too long to make a decision.

    No matter what we do, the problem of Islam is not going away. It’s a long term problem with no easy solutions. We have to understand and accept that.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    That’s how the Sunni terrorists got another toe hold.

    Care to explain that theory?

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Richard A, some individuals were celebrating the Fall of Saigon with champagne in their castles and mansions, certainly.

    The Democrats as a class, though, are only really interested in domestic power and wealth… for now.

    Like aristocrats that are obsolete, with no military service to command their rank or hierarchy status, they rot and stink. For even treason, they would have to exert themselves a bit more than Ayers did.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    Good point about logistics. That’s what the stinger anti air missiles given to Qatar and AQ in Libya via Benghazi were about, after all.

    It was Hussein prepping his O’s logistics.

  35. Eric Says:


    True – we don’t win a war until we’ve secured the peace. In the near term, though, we had won a climactic direct contest with AQI to follow on our takedown of Saddam and achieved ‘strong horse’ status.

    Any viable (not guaranteed) course to a relatively liberal pluralistic peace for Iraq required a longer US military presence, as much for the shepherd and essential intermediary roles inside as the security role looking out – all vital.

    Folks who know (ie, subject experts among my college profs who’ve been writing and lecturing on the subject lately) I’ve heard speak and read on the subject say the next SOFA was doable. Not simple, but doable. Maliki had an agenda, but he wasn’t denying the US. The failure in 2010-2011 was due more to Obama’s distant passive-aggressive orientation and parochial agenda than Maliki’s agenda.

    They also say if we had stayed, it would have made the difference. Supposedly, the rank-and-file Iraqi troops aren’t the problem. Rather, the military weaknesses have been politically riven poor leadership, shaky logistics, and bad intel, all exposed by the surprise ISIS blitz – and all factors that would have been shored up by US-led forces. The IA failed so spectacularly, dropping all our expensive gear helter skelter, because their crappy leaders bugged out, something like US forces at Kasserine Pass or in Korea before the Pusan Perimeter. That doesn’t happen to the IA with US forces alongside, even with the highly unlikely assumption in the first place that ISIS would have made it that far in Iraq with us there.

    Now, big picture, if we had stayed involved yet Iraq hadn’t made more substantive social-political strides in 20-30 years (in other words, one post-Saddam generation) with our organic factor, then I would have been willing to concede the project. If we had reached that stage with Iraq, we at least could have helped wind down the project and helped Iraq chart a different course.

    Leaving when we did, in the circumstances we left Iraq, we can’t know whether the project would have worked if it had the commitment from us necessary to make an honest attempt of it.

    With an unreconstructed, noncompliant Saddam, Iraq was dysfunctional, suffering, had us toxically entangled by the Gulf War ceasefire, and dangerous, but Iraq was at least coherent. Right now, similar to Obama’s Libya policy, Obama’s Iraq policy has led to a failed state in a desperate fight.

  36. NeoConScum Says:

    Eric & J.J…The 3,000 that our Pretender in Chief was “offering” on the SOFA was scrawny idiocy at best. Much more likely is that he’d already figured Maliki would turn down the meaningless Non-force. His plan—broadcast to all, just using BS Blather talk—had long been: ABANDONMENT of Our Victory In Iraq.

    Our Warriors know exactly what the Prez is made of. So do the world’s thugs and butchers.

  37. Eric Says:


    One of Senator Daniel Moynihan’s more famous axioms as an iconic civil reformer was that a reform initiative needs at least 30 years to judge with any conclusiveness because it simply takes that long to develop.

    Now, Moynihan’s 30-year standard was about comparatively limited, specific reforms within American civil society, not a comprehensive nation-building with fundamental changes across the spectrum of a country’s social political culture from a toxic state at the same time external forces are exerting corrupting and destructive pressures.

    Even had the regime-change transition in Iraq been smooth and optimal while we were there, rather than tumultuous, leaving Iraq at the 8-9 year mark was highly premature.

  38. J.J. Says:

    I’m in total agreement with your view, Eric.

  39. NeoConScum Says:

    As am I and it has long made me CRAZY.

    Have no doubt that the thousands already slaughtered by ISIS and the thousands to be yet done will never be blamed on The Boy King’s ABANDONMENT by the usual suspects of the MSM-Lapdogs. Further, be ready to hear that this “offensive” and (cough) War being declared brilliant, unprecedented, gifted, Homerific, etc of The Infantile Majesty Obama.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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