Pentagon: more ground troops needed to beat ISIS

posted at 2:41 pm on January 29, 2016 by Taylor Millard

The U.S. military is pushing for more ground troops to go to the Middle East to fight ISIS. The New York Times reports the Pentagon is confident more ground troops will equal victory against the terrorist group.

In the past, the Pentagon’s requests for additional troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been met with skepticism by Mr. Obama, and his aides have said he has resented what he has regarded as efforts to pressure him. But the rise of the Islamic State has alarmed the White House, and a senior administration official said Thursday that the president is willing to consider raising the stakes in both Iraq and Syria.

The United States already has about 3,700 troops in Iraq, counting a small handful of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria. One official said that he did not anticipate that number increasing to more than 4,500 over time, and even that increase, the official said, could come incrementally, much as the deployment of the 3,700 American troops occurred over the period of a year and a half. During that time, the White House and the Pentagon have taken pains to avoid describing the deployments as combat troops, instead calling them special operators, trainers and advisers.

The fact the Obama administration won’t be honest and call the troops in Iraq and Syria “combat forces,” is just laughable and shows how political President Barack Obama is. All the administration is trying to do is keep up his 2008 campaign promise of “ending” the Iraq War. That war may have “ended,” but the administration is so worried about the President’s poll numbers, it won’t call a spade a spade and combat troops combat troops. It’s beyond frustrating, and the fact the media is allowing Obama to get away with it is even more annoying. The Administration is trying to avoid a “going at it alone” appearance, even if it appears that’s exactly what they’re doing. Here’s how Defense Secretary Ash Carton is portraying it (via NYT).

“I have personally reached out to the ministers of defense in over 40 countries around the world to ask them to contribute to enhancing the fight against ISIL — more special operations forces, more strike and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training assistance, as well as combat support and combat service support,” Mr. Carter said in Paris last week. “I expect the number of trainers to increase, and also the variety of the training they’re giving,” he said in a briefing with reporters earlier in the trip.

At the end of last year, Mr. Carter sent letters to many of his counterparts, laying out for them how they could do more. “We deeply appreciate Italy’s commitment to this fight; however, much work is yet to be done,” Mr. Carter said in one letter, dated Dec. 1, to the Italian defense minister, Roberta Pinotti. The letter was obtained by WikiLao, a Rome-based security website.

Carter also appears to be trying to get more Arab countries into the fight, and may do some more pressing in a meeting planned for next month. One possible reason why the Pentagon wants more troops in the Middle East, is the fact the Iraqis (shockingly) may not be 100% able to make gains on ISIS alone. Al-Arabiya reports the U.S.-led coalition almost had to start from scratch when it came to putting the Iraq Army together.

Hoping to overcome years of corruption and sectarianism that promoted unqualified officers and wore down the army’s ranks, the coalition has trained thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police.

“We start almost from scratch with the basic individual skills: how to move, how to protect, how to shoot,” said Spanish Army Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Erice, a senior trainer at Besmaya. “The period of time is short. You can’t try to reach big objectives.”

Washington last week said coalition countries needed to step up their contributions, including police and military trainers.

But with its ranks worn down by fighting and the demands of a fierce existential war showing no signs of relenting, there are concerns that Iraq’s army cannot fit in as much training as it needs.

So the Pentagon appears to be sitting there and saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But the question is still: is this the U.S.’s fight? I’ve written before how I don’t believe so, and that opinion hasn’t changed. There’s no need for the United States military to be involved in the fight against ISIS, if France and Russia are willing to fight it. In fact, more U.S. involvement may end up destabilizing things even further, especially because the Pentagon is now considering going into Libya to clean up its mess from 2011 (wouldn’t THAT be an interesting thing for the 2016 race, since that was Hillary Clinton’s war). If ISIS keeps expanding into countries the U.S. “liberated,” at what point does America stop repeating its interventionist strategy over and over again, and look at other possible ways? If the U.S. really wants Arab countries to start fighting ISIS, then they should tell them it’s their fight and America won’t be Saudi Arabia or Qatar or UAE’s military force anymore. That might cause the countries to wake up and decide to start fighting for themselves against a terrorist group that needs to be wiped off the face of the planet (just not by the U.S.). The idea of getting into another land war in Asia, just doesn’t seem like a good idea. The U.S. hasn’t been attacked by ISIS itself, only by terrorists “inspired” by them. As easy as it is to suggest carpet bombing ISIS out of existence, as Senator Ted Cruz has proclaimed, the harder (and more sensible) route is letting the Middle East defend for itself. The U.S. can then use the strategy of allowing free trade between American and foreign businesses to inspire more freedom and liberty and reduce the terrorist numbers even further. It’s not going to happen overnight, but a quick fix is just a band-aid and liable to cause more problems down the road.


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Comments

The U.S. military is pushing for more ground troops to go to the Middle East to fight ISIS.

Sorry, fresh out. Check back in another decade or so we are in the middle of a huge draw down right now, the Army has to lose 40,000+ troops in two years. It’s the same draw down we do whenever we get a Democratic President.

Johnnyreb on January 29, 2016 at 2:45 PM

NO GROUND TROOPS ANYTIME ANYPLACE, ANYWHERE UNTIL the rules of engagement are changed to allow American troops to kill the bastards–male female or child including reducing mosques to ant hills.

MaiDee on January 29, 2016 at 2:48 PM

How about:

1) We don’t let them in our country

2) Nuke.

Repeat if necessary.

Oil Can on January 29, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Do we have 100,000 foot soldiers available to do it right?

I do not think we should do it wrong.

Constitutionalist on January 29, 2016 at 2:53 PM

more ground troops needed to beat ISIS

Where are we going to find them?

Walter L. Newton on January 29, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Europe’s problem, our only concern should be how to keep them from being invited here by a corrupt administration.

celt on January 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM

The U.S. military is pushing for more ground troops to go to the Middle East to fight ISIS. The New York Times reports the Pentagon is confident more ground troops will equal victory against the terrorist group.

Well you’re sure as hell not going to stop them by leaving them alone or bombing empty buildings.

Stoic Patriot on January 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM

That war may have “ended,” but the administration is so worried about the President’s poll numbers, it won’t call a spade a spade and combat troops combat troops.

“THAT’S RAAAAAACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Bitter Clinger on January 29, 2016 at 2:59 PM

What’s the end goal? Iraq and Syria are finished, what do you want to replace them with? Without an end goal, let them keep killing each other. And sorry, bur refugees have to stay in the area.

rbj on January 29, 2016 at 2:59 PM

What’s the end goal? Iraq and Syria are finished, what do you want to replace them with? Without an end goal, let them keep killing each other. And sorry, bur refugees have to stay in the area.

rbj on January 29, 2016 at 2:59 PM

We should help out only if the European Union agrees to send at least 1,000 troops from each country, and Russia can join in as well.

V-rod on January 29, 2016 at 3:03 PM

So the Pentagon appears to be sitting there and saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But the question is still: is this the U.S.’s fight?

Was Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? No, they were Europe and China’s problems until they were ours.

Was al Qaeda? No, they were the Soviet Union’s problem until they were ours.

Is ISIS? No, they’re the world’s problem to resist a global caliphate until they become ours.

Stoic Patriot on January 29, 2016 at 3:03 PM

The U.S. can then use the strategy of allowing free trade between American and foreign businesses to inspire more freedom and liberty and reduce the terrorist numbers even further.

And it’ll make the Communist Party give up control of China too… any day now…

Stoic Patriot on January 29, 2016 at 3:06 PM

Good lord.

This should have been over months ago, just like Afghanistan should have been over years ago.

Target entire areas of ISIS control and obliterate them. Stop dropping leaflets and broadcasting warnings of air strikes. Stop trying to prevent collateral damage. Take out the entire areas controlled.

If you see any signs of movement do it again then move on to the next area.

darwin on January 29, 2016 at 3:12 PM

Our son’s lives is not worth this hell hole they call the Middle East. 1) It can not be fixed if Islam is there. 2) It’s not our job to management it. 3) nukes should be the only option.

We are done playing around.

Oil Can on January 29, 2016 at 3:12 PM

We need to wipe out ISIS so the Sunni and Shia can get back to their thousand year uncivil war of attrition./ Never get in the middle of a domestic fight. You just get turned on by both protagonists.

vnvet on January 29, 2016 at 3:12 PM

History shows that US troops on the ground in the ME is the key to victory.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 3:17 PM

3) nukes should be the only option.

We are done playing around.

Oil Can on January 29, 2016 at 3:12 PM

You’re starting to sound a little frustrated there.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 3:22 PM

This is news? The Pentagon has been saying this all along but their CinC keeps saying no to preserve his peaceful legacy. I read earlier the CinC is however looking at putting troops in Libya.

This is like removing the beat cops from Chicago and relying on the police helicopter team to end crime. Oh, maybe a few beat cops to assist good criminals to fight the bad criminals.

This President is lame %uck

tej on January 29, 2016 at 3:25 PM

Nation building requires cooperation. The CSA, Germany, Japan and the Spanish possessions did not engage in lengthy guerrilla warfare. If you don’t have cooperation, it can’t be done.

I see these military interventionist, high immigration and free trade people as all being in the same boat. Every time these guys go to war, somehow or other, we end up getting a lot of war refugees. Wars have really become something to be avoided at all costs. That rah rah rah stuff is very expensive long term.

cimbri on January 29, 2016 at 3:26 PM

As a practical matter, where are you going to get the troops. This is after all, as many of you in this thread pointed out, a numbers game. As my former boss said:(paraphrasing)These stupid S.O.B. are so unmoored if they didn’t have us, they would float away.(Translated from the full Marine. Original is to…’earthy’.)

flackcatcher on January 29, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Pentagon: more ground troops needed to beat ISIS.

If the very same President you’re asking for more troops hadn’t prevented you from staying there until the mess was actually cleaned up, opting instead to lie about how “sovereign, stable and self-reliant” Iraq was, ISIS wouldn’t exist in the first place.

So no, no more of our sons and daughters in harm’s way just so that Obama can betray them and lie about them.

Besides, from his point of view this should be “mission accomplished.”

GrumpyOldFart on January 29, 2016 at 3:33 PM

History shows that US troops on the ground in the ME is the key to victory.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Either you forgot the ‘sarc’ tag or you’ve never read anything relating the ‘Adventures of the British Empire’?

Missilengr on January 29, 2016 at 3:34 PM

You’re starting to sound a little frustrated there.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 3:22 PM

Yeah, I am.

Going in and taking over management is not going to work. And I don’t want to spend our kid’s lives and fortune running the place. However, we have problem because ISIS is either sending over terrorists or funding people here. So, I think we are backed in corner with our options.

Now, we have one saving grace, if that another dictator can take over the place kill the jihadists. That might be the best scenario, but I think it’s a long shot and it has some flaws.

It’s not that I fear non-Western people. I lived in area that slowly became Buddhist. However, they didn’t move in the area and blow up the non-Buddhists in my neighborhood. So again yeah, I’m frustrated with dealing with Islam.

Oil Can on January 29, 2016 at 3:38 PM

kill them all and let allah fail to sort them out….
need to fix the root issue.
islam.
but saying that is rayycist or sumptin’

dmacleo on January 29, 2016 at 3:39 PM

cimbri on January 29, 2016 at 3:26 PM
Not to nitpick, but we must always remember that history is written by the victors. With the exception of the second world war, guerrilla and resistance actions are explained away as ‘cleaning up the mess’. American military history is one of the few which focus on the ‘after war’ of the war. (Recent example. Iraqi surge. Past example. Birth of the 1911 semi-auto pistol.)

flackcatcher on January 29, 2016 at 3:40 PM

More . . . that also was Westmoreland’s solution to all the problems. That may be the solution, but make damn sure it is before you kill any more of our great soldiers.

rplat on January 29, 2016 at 4:02 PM

If the U.S. really wants Arab countries to start fighting ISIS, then they should tell them it’s their fight and America won’t be Saudi Arabia or Qatar or UAE’s military force anymore

exactly what Trump has been saying . He said he wants the richer arab countries to pay for their own defense.

Senator Philip Bluster on January 29, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Either you forgot the ‘sarc’ tag or you’ve never read anything relating the ‘Adventures of the British Empire’?

Missilengr on January 29, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Intentionally omitted so as not to insult the intelligence of readers.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 4:40 PM

Great…my son is in marine infantry training right now, probably to be shipped over under-trained, under-supported and under-supplied.

I told him to wait two years, but no. Now he’ll be Obama’s cannon fodder in another Benghazi, trying to re-win what said White House moron surrendered after the first blood-price paid by our soldiers.

Truth to tell, though, ISIS doesn’t fear U.S. or European ground troops as they think they can beat us in any urban guerrilla environment, their chosen ground. The only ground force ISIS fears is the Israelis.

Ricard on January 29, 2016 at 5:15 PM

History shows that US troops on the ground in the ME is the key to victory.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Either you forgot the ‘sarc’ tag or you’ve never read anything relating the ‘Adventures of the British Empire’?

Missilengr on January 29, 2016 at 3:34 PM

Missilengr…he did say US Troops and not referencing British or any other…we’ve never lost a war militarily

g2825m on January 29, 2016 at 5:28 PM

Truth to tell, though, ISIS doesn’t fear U.S. or European ground troops as they think they can beat us in any urban guerrilla environment, their chosen ground. The only ground force ISIS fears is the Israelis.

Ricard on January 29, 2016 at 5:15 PM

Rumors here are that the Israelis are planning to launch an attack on ISIS any day now.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 5:28 PM

I have mixed feelings on this…well, first off, no, while Obama is in office because he will never send what is actually NEEDED.

I spent over seven years in Iraq. I know Ramadi, Fallujah, baghdad, Tikrit, and Balad areas VERY WELL. I disagree with Taylor in that we should just let the French and Russians fight it IF, IF we want it to end quickly. We (US Troops) have the relationships already built up over there in Anbar, Mosul, Baghdad provinces, etc…we know who the players are we can partner with in the Sunni community (this is who is going to have to fight this battle). We will restart a whole new Sahawa (Awakening) movement again and tell the Sunni’s that this time we will make sure they get paid and not get stiffed again like al-Maliki did to them.

We could accomplish this (IMO) with setting up with three MAIN bases of operations right outside al Asad, Tikrit (Speicher), and HQ again at Camp Victory/Liberty in Baghdad. These three will give us reach throughout the Baghdad area and into Anbar with al-Asad and Speicher air power access via helo’s and fighter aircraft. Once Mosul, in the north is retaken, we can establish a footprint there again. We know the Pesh will assist us out of the Kurdish territory. We just need to SUPPLY them weapons they have been requesting that Baghdad is not sending to them from us. I believe we could accomplish this with approx 35-40,000 troops not including supply personnel (admin/medical/chow hall/etc). Once secured we could leave a residual force of about 10-12,000 spread between three bases that will act as a long term deterrent for the region as we have done in Japan/Germany/SK. I could go on and on but won’t…

g2825m on January 29, 2016 at 5:46 PM

No.

iwasbornwithit on January 29, 2016 at 6:16 PM

I have great admiration for all those brave souls calling for women and children to be bombed. So brave!

iwasbornwithit on January 29, 2016 at 6:20 PM

Sorry, fresh out. Check back in another decade or so we are in the middle of a huge draw down right now, the Army has to lose 40,000+ troops in two years. It’s the same draw down we do whenever we get a Democratic President.

Johnnyreb on January 29, 2016 at 2:45 PM

With current administration’s ROE, we could easily lose 40,000+ troops to ISIS in two years. Only hope of victory would be ISIS runs out of ammo.

Marcola on January 29, 2016 at 6:41 PM

I have great admiration for all those brave souls calling for women and children to be bombed. So brave!

iwasbornwithit on January 29, 2016 at 6:20 PM

We know…that’s who we’re fighting.

Ricard on January 29, 2016 at 7:03 PM

It’s always more.

Duh.

Obama wants to beat ISIS without ground troops. Doesn’t work. If you want to win, you of course have to have more ground troops than the token force.

I don’t know why this would be surprising, or cause for cynicism. If you actually want to beat ISIS, it takes boots on the ground.

That’s a totally separate question from whether or not we want to beat ISIS. But it’s delusional to think someone else is going to do all the hard work for us.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 30, 2016 at 12:12 AM

The reason they need ever more people is because ovomit decimate the intelligence community. Obama thinks they can find everything they should need online, never mind that silly ground intel game where you might actually make the muzzies angry or something.

Someone needs to be waterboarded….

Andy__B on January 30, 2016 at 1:40 AM

Rumors here are that the Israelis are planning to launch an attack on ISIS any day now.

DarkCurrent on January 29, 2016 at 5:28 PM

You’re all eating dim sum.

Younggod on January 30, 2016 at 3:29 AM

If more ground troops are needed, why can’t they be Turkish or Saudi troops?
It seems the local neighboring countries have more need to control ISIS.
As fellow Arab Muslims, the neighboring country troops won’t be looked at as “crusading invaders” like U.S. troops would.

pnkearns on January 30, 2016 at 12:41 PM