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Real Clear Defense: Obama Ignored “best military advice” on ISIS

Real Clear Defense: Obama Ignored “best military advice” on ISIS

Because after all, Obama has such extensive military experience.

Obama may be America’s commander-in-chief, but he’s not a leader who is interested in military strategy.

Bearing all that in mind, this report from Dustin Walker of Real Clear Defense is nothing short of stunning:

Obama Rejected “Best Military Advice”

As he laid out his strategy to combat the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, President Obama rejected the “best military advice” of his top military commander in the Middle East.

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

Austin’s recommendation was taken to the White House by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. The White House rejected CENTCOM’s “advise and assist” contingent due to concerns about placing U.S. ground forces in a frontline role.

In a press briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the president had rejected Austin’s recommendation because he believes “it is not in the best interest of American national security to send American combat troops in a combat operation to act on the ground in Iraq.”

Obama and his inner circle won’t even use the word “war” to describe our current conflict. There are two possible reasons for this. First, because Obama presented himself as an anti-war candidate during both of his presidential campaigns, use of the word “war” would be a betrayal of his base.

Second, if he called the conflict with ISIS a war, he would have to seek approval from Congress, and there’s a chance he wouldn’t get it. Both possibilities are completely cynical and neither of them have anything to do with what’s best for America.

The fact that he would choose to ignore advice from top military commanders is maddening. America’s national security is more important than either Obama’s party or its left wing base.


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Isn’t there a third possibility? that as the Arab Spring demonstrates, he tends to side with extremist elements against the more moderating ones? Mubarek out. Qhadafi out. MB takes control of Egypt (mercifully for us for only a brief period), and radicals worse than Qhadafi now control Libya.

So, what do we know of this man that would make us think that he wants ISIL/ISIS thwarted?
All he wants are token signs that he’s doing something and only because the political heat and public outrage over the barbarism of ISIL is compelling him to adopt a strategy, any strategy — for the optics. Nothing more.

That he has a looney lefty pacifist base to appease merely lends him just the excuse he needs to do what he really wants — promote the Caliphate.

    Here, here,

    Obama lectures us that we are not at war with Islam. But ISIS (and lots of other Muslims not associated with ISIS) says Islam and Muslims are at war with America. And ISIS further says that any attack on it means America is at war with Islam and Muslims.

    Oh, oh.

    Obama is really is a jam here, a tight spot of his own making. He has to pretend that he really, really wants to rid the world of ISIS. But in his heart he’s quite pleased with ISIS because ISIS is advancing the cause of Islam, and that is very much one of his goals. The evidence for that is abundant. At every turn his default setting is Islam.

    ISIS is advancing Islam it a dramatic way, but its means have historical precedent – making their sword blades bloody is how Muslims captured all of “their lands.” And ALL of it is supported by commands from their Koran.

    But – but that fact is making things uncomfortable for President POS.

    And for his flaks who have to support this crap and make excuses. “Nobel Peace Prize winner goes to war and kills Muzzies” is not a great headline. LOL,

    you have that correct. I speak as an outsider. His attitude is nothing short of disgusting and the only way to explain it is that Barry is siding with the militants.

As much as I hate to say this, Obama’s choice to reject the “Best military advice” is a correct one. We have civilian control over the military for just this purpose. Military action is only *part* of the solution for problems such as this one. I still don’t completely agree with the decision he did make, but as politics is supposed to stop at the water’s edge, I’ll reluctantly support it.

    TX-rifraph in reply to georgfelis. | September 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I think your argument rests on the assumption that the civilians are neither corrupt nor incompetent.

    The point is that he lied about it. Get your head out of the sand.

    “…as politics is supposed to stop at the water’s edge…”
    Your naiveté is disturbing. The ONE animating principle of the Obama administration is that politics trumps EVERYTHING.
    So let me be clear: if Americans have to die to protect Obama, Democrats and their power, then Obama will let them die.
    You can count on that.

    clueless George has no idea about the issues.

    The only way to defeat ISIS and ISIL is to do the military thing… and get it over with.

He has been ignoring the best military advice all along. This is nothing new. He listens to Zbigniew Brzezinski, just like Jimmy Carter did, with similar results.

Here’s a description of what our planners do, from a knowledgeable source to knowledgeable sources. Notice that in this particular situation, the objectives have never yet been defined. This is a management failure.

“. . . Earnest said that the president had rejected Austin’s recommendation because he [Obama] believes . . .”

The One is truly amazing. I may be late to the 2008 party, but I’m beginning to buy into his fans’ enthusiasm.

Not only is he an expert on all things Islamic, most notably and most recently telling us (from on high) that ISIS is not Islamic. Brushing aside that the head of the newly declared caliphate is himself a PhD in Islamic Studies (awarded from an Islamic university), the One knows all, and sees all.

He is also an expert on all things military. And because of that it makes sense, I mean, it really makes sense, to spurn the advice of those who have studied (USMA, USNA) war and enemies.

I be awed.

    Radegunda in reply to pfg. | September 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Remember when he pronounced himself better in any area (speech-writing, policy, etc.) than the people he hired to be the experts in those areas? He must have been including defense policy in that sweeping assessment of his superior wisdom.

    I also recall Biden trying to deflect the criticism that Obama was obviously thin on leadership experience. Slow Joe declared that experience didn’t really matter because “It’s about JUD-GE-MENT.” And what evidence did we have of Obama’s superior jud-ge-ment? It seemed to boil down to being against the Iraq War. Obama had taken the default leftist position (basically, “violence never solves anything”), and on that basis we were to stand awe of his brilliance.

Remember when ChimpyMcHitlerBOOOOOOOOOoooosh was the devil incarnate because he didn’t listen to Shinseki? (Who was, in fact ONE general in a pack of people advising the President.)

Remember how Shinseki was immediately vaunted to Hero Of The Collective status? Never mind all that VA scandal stuff later on…

Ah, good times. Good times…

You don’t give advice to a narcissist.

First, I have no use whatsoever for the politics, policies or supposedly vaunted intelligence of Obamalamadingdong. That said, as a Vietnam era vet I am also very skeptical of the “brass hats” who managed to send so many good men into oblivion. And, like the blind hog, I think the Pres has actually made a reasonable decision.

Maybe we will have to put combat troops back into Iraq – I really don’t know and neither does anyone else. The axiom that we always fight the next war with the tactics of the last one apply here. Try a robust bombing campaign first. Examine the results and then rethink the tactics. Bombs are way “cheaper” than the lives of young men and women when you are trying to figure out what the tactics of this new war should be.

Or, just nuke everything from Turkey to Pakistan to the Red Sea. I’m good with that, too.

    Ragspierre in reply to xdevildog. | September 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Oh, I think the picture is a LOT clearer than all that.

    First, artillery may be “the Queen of Battle”, but it never won a battle…much less a war…by itself.

    Second, air-power is just another form of artillery; munitions go up, munitions come down.

    Third, nobody with a lick of sense doubts that war is a exercise of combined arms. Everything until the enemy breaks.

    Fourth, ground troops are always required. Who they are is the only question here. And who they are at different points in time is another. Taking and holding are two different functions.

    Finally, there is this to consider….

    PAUL RAHE: Is Obama a War Criminal? “Is killing people via bombing strikes a war crime if it serves no larger strategic purpose, if it is a feckless act apt only to enrage against us those Sunnis who desperately fear the Shia, if it is a cynical maneuver aimed solely at improving the President’s standing in the polls? It is, after all, one thing to seek victory and another to engage in aimless mayhem.”

      NeoConScum in reply to Ragspierre. | September 13, 2014 at 9:45 pm


      When the Pretender in Chief announce to the world that there would be,”..NO boots on the ground..”, it told the enemy what they happily needed to know. And, our friends who no longer trust us. NO Fear from the enemy. NO Trust from our friends.

      IF there is anything which History has taught us: Weakness is provocative. This Twit makes Neville Chamberlain look damned near warrior-like.

        A point noted by others: Obama needlessly announced our strategy, if not tactics, for the enemy to hear. Why?
        I think the public announcement is the key.
        Obama wasn’t just announcing this to ISIS, but more importantly to his base.
        This exercise, like everything else Obama does, is about POLITICS. The man really doesn’t know anything else.

    Walker Evans in reply to xdevildog. | September 14, 2014 at 12:57 am

    As a Vietnam vet myself, I have to say that the worst of the decisions sending troops into the meat-grinder were made by the plushbottom civilian “experts” on SecDef McNamara’s staff. They actually had approval authority over individual bomb loadouts headed for the Trail. If there is a Hell, I hope they’re all rotting there!

    World War II, Korea, ‘Nam, and now the Sandbox show that both strategic and tactical bombing are effective tools, but only as they support ground troops. Bomber Harris proved that but we seem to need to relearn that lesson with every conflict, to the detriment of the troops.

    If we have to do heavy bombing of real estate we need to stay with “smart” ion bombs; for antipersonnel work there has never been anything invented that can beat a thermobaric. And if you want to keep the troops really happy, keep Warthogs close and ready to go on a moments notice.

    Combat troops need to be in Iraq and after that they need to get rid of the rubbish in Syria.

Everything that has happened since January 2009 has been intentional on the part of the President whether domestic or international. He wants our economy and our social order to collapse and our country to be isolated internationally.

Obama said in his book that he would side with the Muslims. Why don’t people believe him?

    Another Voice in reply to randian. | September 13, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Correctly used, Islam or Islamic should describe the religion and its subsequent cultural concepts whereas Muslim should only describe the followers of the religion of Islam. Would it not then follow by Obama’s definition, the Hamas terrorists are not Muslims and are not “entitled” to use the term “Islamic” and why Obama has declared the “I” in ISIS/ISIL does not stand for Islamic.

    Is it because Obama is a Muslim, as denied, but what is his family culture and his early education as described by himself in earlier biographies. Or the time spent defining his Christian Religion with Rev. Wright to help rewrite that biography until that story became too detrimental to his narrative. Obama wants Americans to embrace the tenants of being a Muslim and of Islam even though the tenants of neither are compatible to our tenants, the Bill of Rights, our Constitution in the founding of our country. Americans are seeing the reality of Obama’s conflicts and lacking capability to separate himself from his inherent beliefs. Going forward, insist we take the threats made on America and meet them seriously every time. Remember the results of what happens when a president is anointed with a coronation and takes advise from sycophants who create weak unrealistic Domestic and Foreign Policy that REFLECTS a “vision” and ignores the realisms of the now

This ain’t original, but Obama is the best illustration as to why to never do drugs!

A more pedestrian possibility: When a US President launches a war, he owns it. It will demand all of his time and attention, in this case for the rest of his presidency. This President may not have the stomach for that.

IMHO, it would be a major problem for the US to go to war behind an ambivalent President. I know, NOT going to war also has risks, in this case. It’s a dilemma.