Mark your calendars: US announces Iraqi army to retake Mosul in April or May

Ain’t modern war grand? You don’t win it by killing your enemies or even mentioning the ideology that drives them, but by building better hashtags and shushing all criticism of the enemy at home. And when the time comes to actually fight, you make sure that your enemy has plenty of notice as to when you’ll show up:

The US wants Iraq to launch its offensive to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group in April or May, military officials said.

Make sure you let them know exactly how many will be coming, too, because it’s embarrassing if the host doesn’t have enough bullets to go around:

Mosul is believed to be held by 1,000-2,000 IS fighters and 20,000-25,000 Iraqi troops are needed to carry out the offensive, an official with US Central Command said on Thursday.

“The mark on the wall we are still shooting for is the April-May timeframe,” the official said, adding that because of Ramadan and the increasing heat of summer, “it becomes problematic if it goes much later (than May).”

Is that all? Er, no:

A US ground role in the offensive force, to help direct air strikes, has not been ruled out, the official said.

Operational security? Old fashioned! These days, nothing on the battlefield is worth doing if it can’t be announced like an immigration-expansion program. Talking about battles also may suffice as an alternative to actually fighting them.

The Associated Press wondered why the Pentagon has suddenly become so chatty about strategy and battle plans. Their source said it’s important to know how committed the Iraqis are. No, really:

Asked why U.S. Central Command was telegraphing the timeframe and details of the operation to the enemy, the official said it was important to highlight the effort the Iraqi security forces are putting into the mission and how committed they are to it.

Why is it so important to know this now? It might have something to do with a new CBS News poll showing that 57% of Americans want ground troops sent to Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIS, including a majority of independents and half of all Democrats. That overall number has moved 19 points in the gap since last October, and it’s clear that Obama is losing the American public — even more so now with his chatter about “randomly” selected targets of terrorism and lectures on Crusades and meany Republicans being the real national-security threat.

The one way to counter this push to force Obama to take this war seriously and fight it properly is to claim that the Iraqi army — which got routed out of Mosul less than a year ago — will take the field to reverse its loss, this time against an entrenched enemy. In a few more weeks. Give or take. The White House can now say that there isn’t any need for American ground troops, even with the administration’s failure to put together a ground force from surrounding Sunni nations with a real existential stake in the fight. The Iraqis will handle it. Sometime.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) calls this “mystifying,” and wonders whether this is an attempt by Barack Obama to get “a PR win” after a bad response to his “summit” on violent extremism. Retired Air Force Gen. Tom McInerney says bluntly that it’s “aiding and abetting the enemy”:

It’s sheer idiocy. ISIS already has 1,000-2,000 fighters in Mosul. Expect that number to grow exponentially in the next few weeks, and to RSVP in the positive to this gilt-edged invitation.

Update: Via Instapundit, count Joe Manchin out of the “generic violent extremism” PR effort:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Thursday said he disagreed with President Obama’s position against labeling terrorists the U.S. is fighting as Islamic radicals.

“It’s pretty simple in the language we speak in West Virginia — it is what it is,” Manchin said in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” …

Another Democrat, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), slammed the president’s speech Wednesday where he said that the U.S. is “not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

“If you look at this broad focus on countering violent extremism, which is very hard to define, it’s a diversion away from the actual threat coming from this radical Islamic ideology that exists,” Gabbard, a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”

“It’s so important that we recognize that these people are being motivated by a spiritual, theological motivation, which is this radical Islamic ideology,” added Gabbard, who is a combat veteran.

Obama’s not convincing too many people these days, is he?