Former Army chief of staff: Of course you need ground troops to destroy ISIS

posted at 12:01 pm on December 9, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Don’t tell Ray Odierno that Barack Obama doesn’t want to put boots on the ground. As he tells Joe Scarborough and the Morning Joe panel in this segment, the US already has boots on the ground — we just don’t have enough of them. A few dozen commandos won’t suffice, Odierno warns. Until we put a significant number of troops in the theater, our allies in the region won’t risk it either. And make no mistake, Odierno says, that’s what it will take to “destroy” ISIS. As the former Army chief of staff says, air power alone has never dislodged an entrenched army, let alone collapse a quasi-state:

Odierno says that the US has lost its credibility in the region, both with Obama’s half-hearted ISIS strategy and the way in which he grasped at a bad deal with Iran. The point of putting conventional American troops on the ground for combat is to rebuild trust that the US is actually committed to this fight:

Odierno singled out the Iran nuclear deal as an issue that has strained the U.S.’s relationship with its partners.

The deal, which trades tens of billions in previously-frozen assets and economic activity in exchange for short-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, has strengthened Iran’s influence in the region. This is concerning to Sunni nations like Saudi Arabia and nations concerned about Iran’s support for terrorism like Israel.

“With the nuclear deal with Iran, you’ve got to rebuild relationships with Saudi Arabia and others,” Odierno said.

Odierno said that the U.S. must regain the trust of its partners so they will contribute more to the coalition effort against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. Saudi Arabia has reduced its commitment to the anti-IS coalition in recent months in order to focus on the Iranian-fueled conflict in Yemen, on Saudi Arabia’s southeastern border.

“They’ve got to believe we’re going to do what we say. That’s how you build this coalition,” Odierno said.

It’s not just the Saudis who need their confidence restored in Obama. The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer and Michael Shear report that Democrats are losing confidence in Obama’s handling of ISIS and the Middle East, too:

Many of President Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress say they do not believe he is being aggressive enough in confronting the terrorist threat of the Islamic State after last week’s attacks in California, undermining Americans’ sense of safety, especially among voters who will decide the party’s fate in elections next year.

The concerns began to surface last month, when senior administration officials went to Capitol Hill to urge Democrats to reject a bill to curb a Syrian refugee program and were rebuffed. That hostility grew with their increasingly uncomfortable efforts to defend Mr. Obama’s strategies in the Middle East after the attacks in Paris and California.

And Mr. Obama’s address to the nation Sunday — which several congressional Democrats said was an idea they pushed — left them wanting more.

“When you interrupt the nation with an urgent and unscheduled statement from the Oval Office, or the White House, there’s I think an expectation that the address will contain a new approach or a new element,” said Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

This is a point that needs to be underscored, and one that truly shows Obama in a bubble. The speech he gave Sunday from the Oval Office — strangely with a podium in front of the desk — could just as easily been given the next day in the White House briefing room. It had nothing new in it at all; it was a set-up that had nothing to deliver. It was as if Obama’s handlers convinced him that the moment needed dramatic framing, and Obama agreed to it but failed to grasp why.

Nate Beeler’s editorial cartoon from last month seems more pertinent than ever:

beeler-o-isis

Obama is lost in his own world, and even his close political allies are belatedly realizing it.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

In Afghanistan today 37 were killed by the Taliban, at the Kandahar airport. The US Soldiers there were forbidden to shoot back. Where we are, among other things.

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2015 at 12:05 PM

On or off topic, all the same any more

What obama really meant

http://www.amtvmedia.com/what-obama-really-says-in-isis-speech/

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2015 at 12:05 PM

just telling it like it is…

cmsinaz on December 9, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Carpet Nuke.

Oil Can on December 9, 2015 at 12:12 PM

A nuke or two would do ad well…

nonpartisan on December 9, 2015 at 12:12 PM

….translation: Odoooshbag is a p*ssy…

Pelosi Schmelosi on December 9, 2015 at 12:13 PM

We don’t need boots on the ground. What we really need is to follow the immortal words of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. Yeah, right from the orbit.

Rix on December 9, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Still haven’t heard a coherent argument from *anyone* why this is a USA problem.

And even if it is, haven’t heard a coherent game plan from Obungles & Co. as to how to solve the problem.

Lance Corvette on December 9, 2015 at 12:18 PM

So what do we make of this development?
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-09/iraq-seeks-cancel-security-agreement-us-will-invite-russia-fight-isis

onlineanalyst on December 9, 2015 at 12:26 PM

Nope, the last time we did that the American people said they wanted it and then they bailed when the going got tough. No troops for Obama. No troops for Hillary.

rhombus on December 9, 2015 at 12:28 PM

In Senate hearings today, Senator McCain estimated that ISIS had 20,000 to 30,000 fighters, and Obama has sent 200 Special Forces to fight them. Special Forces guys might be very well-trained, but what can they do if they’re outnumbered 100 to 1 against an enemy entrenched in cities?

During the “troop surge” that successfully recaptured the cities in the Sunni Triangle in Iraq in 2007, 25,000 troops were sent in. They collaborated with Iraqis on the ground who told them where the (Al Qaeda) bad guys were hiding, and they were able to call in targeted airstrikes. When Obama pulled all the troops out in 2011, without any plan for maintaining peace, he invited ISIS in.

We may not need 25,000 troops this time, but we certainly need more than 200. We also have friendly troops in the area who are very good fighters (the Kurds), but they need heavy weapons to be able to take well-defended cities back from ISIS. What is needed NOW is several thousand American troops allied with (and supplying weapons to) Kurdish fighters to turn northern Iraq from an ISIS caliphate into an independent Kurdistan, which would probably bring much more stability to that part of the world.

But if Obama doesn’t want boots on the ground, he should send thousands of troops in wearing flip-flops. Obama is good at that.

Steve Z on December 9, 2015 at 12:29 PM

So what do we make of this development?
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-09/iraq-seeks-cancel-security-agreement-us-will-invite-russia-fight-isis

onlineanalyst on December 9, 2015 at 12:26 PM

The Iraqis we abandoned don’t trust us? Surprise, Surprise. The Russians don’t have idiotic rules of engagement.

rhombus on December 9, 2015 at 12:30 PM

And make no mistake, Odierno says, that’s what it will take to “destroy” ISIS

It’s not a matter of destroying ISIS, what are you going to replace it with?

rbj on December 9, 2015 at 12:33 PM

It’s not just the Saudis who need their confidence restored in Obama

Obama is an idiot…but has any one ever asked if maybe the Saudis should try to restore confidence with the American people. You know instead of pushing Wahhabism, demanding we take in Muslim refugees while they take none in, funding practically every pro-Sharia and Islamist propagandist group in west, and in general supporting Sunni Jihadist around the world.

This is the real problem: The Saudis want to use the U.S. military to clean up their mess and make the world safe for Wahhabies to terrorize infidels. I am not down with that, and thankfully America is starting to wake up…the Saudis are not our friends, no matter how much that child Rubio thinks they are.

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Why not push to have Europe put ground troops in middle east? Why the reflexive push to always demand US troops bear the cost? Why are we obligated, and they are not?

The problem is closer to them. We can help, but first lets secure our borders and prevent attacks in this country.

Braveheart on December 9, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Ed “the Chickenhawk” Morrissey wants others to fight wars for him. Pathetic little man. Post another Sunday scripture about Jesus bombing a hospital you wretched hypocrite.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Ed “the Chickenhawk” Morrissey wants others to fight wars for him. Pathetic little man. Post another Sunday scripture about Jesus bombing a hospital you wretched hypocrite.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Huh?

davidk on December 9, 2015 at 12:37 PM

So many generals after they retire speak out about what they really feel, it would be nice if they did this while they were on active duty ala General MacArthur. They would have more of an impact if they were “fired” and forced to retire.

PEP on December 9, 2015 at 12:37 PM

“Can’t we just let the Russians do it”?

Tater Salad on December 9, 2015 at 12:39 PM

A major element in winning any war is psychological. Obama has taken that arrow out of the quiver and broken it in half. He telegraphs every move to the enemy and for that reason nobody fears us anymore. Well, nobody fears him, and unfortunately he’s in charge.

RBMN on December 9, 2015 at 12:40 PM

Ed “the Chickenhawk” Morrissey wants others to fight wars for him. Pathetic little man. Post another Sunday scripture about Jesus bombing a hospital you wretched hypocrite.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Huh?

davidk on December 9, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Troll.

Aizen on December 9, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Ed “the Chickenhawk” Morrissey wants others to fight wars for him. Pathetic little man. Post another Sunday scripture about Jesus bombing a hospital you wretched hypocrite.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

grow up.

rhombus on December 9, 2015 at 12:42 PM

We have two choices:

1. Stop Muslim immigration into America and then attack every Jihadist group on earth.

2. We do nothing.

The dumbest thing of all is to support a big ground force to fight ISIS, while letting in Muslim immigrants and migrants.

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 12:43 PM

We need to nuclear carpet bomb every one of those Krapistans.

ConstantineXI on December 9, 2015 at 12:43 PM

It’s not a matter of destroying ISIS, what are you going to replace it with?

rbj on December 9, 2015 at 12:33 PM

Do I smell nation building? And there you have the conundrum. Without replacing monsters with something to work with, at best all we can do is “thin the heard” and that will have to be good enough.

rhombus on December 9, 2015 at 12:45 PM

We have two choices:

1. Stop Muslim immigration into America and then attack every Jihadist group on earth.

2. We do nothing.

The dumbest thing of all is to support a big ground force to fight ISIS, while letting in Muslim immigrants and migrants.

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 12:43 PM

+1

bazil9 on December 9, 2015 at 12:48 PM

King Barack will change nothing. To do so would be to admit that he made a mistake. The Obamassiah doesn’t make mistakes. Any failures are attributable to others.

All King Barack needs now is a bunker to hide in for the next 13 months.

GarandFan on December 9, 2015 at 12:49 PM

1. Stop Muslim immigration into America and then attack every Jihadist group on earth.

But that would mean attacking Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of Islamic jihad. Ray Odierno says we need to start “earning” their trust again.

MidAtlantic Moderate on December 9, 2015 at 12:58 PM

U.S. Kills 36 civilians, 20 children. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/middle-east/article48523710.html#emlnl=Evening_Newsletter

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Well, if Bubble Boy won’t put any boots on the ground, how ’bout about a size twelve boot up his fundio as a motivator?

vnvet on December 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM

“Can’t we just let the Russians do it”?

Tater Salad on December 9, 2015 at 12:39 PM

“It is wrong to to not Japanese and Germans into America…it is not who we are” Random Idiot, 1942

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Full Mark Levin interview with Sen. Cruz:
http://politibrew.com/politics/3698-ted-cruz-on-mark-levin-s-radio-show-full-interview-audio

Upshot? We do not need to depose dictators nor impose a “democracy project.” We do not need to intervene in sectarian civil wars. We need to identify and defeat those forces that attack our national security. Period.

onlineanalyst on December 9, 2015 at 1:04 PM

As Odierno said, the key – or a major one – is to acquire human intelligence to help us fight these lunatics.

And telling all Muslims they can’t come here isn’t a smart way of convincing them to help us.

We NEED Muslims to help us defeat these fanatics. Not distinguishing between the fanatics and the non-fanatics is not the way to do this.

This has been said before but some people apparently don’t get it.

SteveMG on December 9, 2015 at 1:05 PM

U.S. bombs hospital. http://news.sky.com/story/1563203/nato-deeply-saddened-after-us-bombs-hospital

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 1:06 PM

The world needs to unite behind the use of tactical nukes against these thugs.

Drop fliers on Raqqa demanding an unconditional surrender to include destruction of all their armories (mosques) and other demands. Nuke them an hour later.

Valiant on December 9, 2015 at 1:16 PM

U.S. bombs hospital. http://news.sky.com/story/1563203/nato-deeply-saddened-after-us-bombs-hospital

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Here’s a newsflash junior, in war things like this happens, particularly when the enemy makes it a policy to hide their facilities and fighters behind women and children. These mistakes are unfortunate but unavoidable…unless you are a limp wristed liberal whinner, in which case you focus on the wrong things because they advance your silly agenda.

ironmarshal on December 9, 2015 at 1:19 PM

i was born without it

davidk on December 9, 2015 at 1:24 PM

U.S. Kills 36 civilians, 20 children. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/middle-east/article48523710.html#emlnl=Evening_Newsletter

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 1:00 PM

a damned good start.

dmacleo on December 9, 2015 at 1:42 PM

Odierno says that the US has lost its credibility in the region ,world

FIFYa

they lie on December 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM

iwasbornashitheadit on December 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM

they lie on December 9, 2015 at 2:43 PM

So davidk, because ISIS does bad folks to innocent people, then that makes it OK for the U.S. to murder innocents? Brilliant.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Obama does not want to destroy ISIS.

albill on December 9, 2015 at 4:23 PM

So davidk, because ISIS does bad folks to innocent people, then that makes it OK for the U.S. to murder innocents? Brilliant.

iwasbornwithit on December 9, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Yeah. That’s exactly what I meant.

davidk on December 9, 2015 at 4:26 PM