Depressing, and yet entirely true. While the US and other coalition nations expressed outrage over the brutal execution by ISIS of a captured Jordanian pilot and vowed to destroy the terrorist “organization,” the efforts made so far won’t accomplish the mission — or even come close, as former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell told CBS’ Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell this morning. In order to defeat ISIS, the coalition will have to field an army of at least 100,000 troops, and Morell says the coalition lacks the will to fight at that level:
A former deputy director of the CIA said on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday that it would take 100,000 ground troops to effectively respond to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
“Unless the coalition is willing to put more ground troops into Iraq and possibly into Syria, there is very little we can do to respond,” said CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell, the former No. 2 at the CIA. …
Morell said the will to commit such a large number of troops “simply does not exist” in the U.S. or in Western Europe.
Clearly, Morell’s right about the US and its will to fight to victory. Recall that Savannah Guthrie challenged Barack Obama on this very point in her Super Bowl interview, and Obama responded that sure, we could send 200,000 or even 300,000 troops to fight ISIS, but “eventually we would leave,” as though Obama himself hadn’t done just that with Iraq and precipitated the crisis. Obama insisted that he was fighting ISIS “the right way,” and that a remote air war against an entrenched enemy would end in victory if given enough time.
However, it’s been ongoing for five months, and the only impact has been a withdrawal from Kobane, and even that is largely due to the Kurdish peshmerga and irregulars that got air support from the US-led coalition. It takes ground troops to displace ground troops and hold the territory once it’s gained. Morell knows this, as does practically everyone else but the White House. It doesn’t take a Clauswitz to figure it out.
The other coalition partners may be realizing this, too. The New York Times reported that the UAE pulled out of the air strikes after concerns that the US did not have enough assets in the theater to protect downed pilots, a report that the Pentagon initially disputed. The BBC later reported that its sources within the Obama administration confirmed that the UAE had suspended its operations:
US officials told the BBC on Wednesday that the UAE had suspended its involvement in the strikes after Lt Kasasbeh was captured in December.
The New York Times quoted officials as saying the UAE wanted the Pentagon to improve its search-and-rescue efforts in Iraq before it resumed bombing missions.
It seems that we don’t have the will to get close enough to the fight to conduct effective rescue operations, or at least that’s what our ally seems to think. Imagine what our enemies think.