My latest column is up at AND Magazine.
Here is an excerpt:
Even after President Obama announced his grand strategy for taking on ISIL, his administration still seems like more of a JV team than our enemies. While ISIL seems ever more intent on committing acts of terrorism here in the United States, the Obama administration can’t even agree on a strategy even after that strategy has been made official.
President Obama continues to pledge “no boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, yet there seems to be some disagreement as to the wisdom of that pledge. Robert Gates, President Obama’s former Defense Secretary, stated quite plainly that “there will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that, the president, in effect, traps himself.” This is, without question, a major concern – for the president to box himself in by repeatedly pledging “no boots on the ground,” President Obama could potentially be left with two options in the long-term battle: either he will be forced to make himself into a liar by sending in troops, or in standing by his pledge, be married to a strategy that will never achieve victory.
And while Robert Gates isn’t a decision-maker in the administration anymore, he isn’t the only one contradicting President Obama’s strategy, and this is where it gets increasingly surreal. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left the door open for ground troops in the conflict in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
To put it bluntly, for the President of the United States to continue to repeat this pledge is the height of foolishness. While pretty much anyone can understand that the people of the United States don’t want to get dragged into another prolonged war in the Middle East, there is little question about the fact that the enemy we face in ISIL is one of the greatest evils we have seen in these modern times. ISIL has cut a path of destruction across Syria and Iraq, and they aren’t planning on stopping there. Just the way their organization has changed its name over time tells the story of their plans: they started out as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This was quickly changed to ISIL: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In case you don’t know, the Levant is a region stretching from Southern Turkey to Northern Egypt. It encompasses Syria, Jordan, Israel, and parts of Egypt and Turkey. The subsequent shortening of their name to IS, or the Islamic State, suggests that they have no intention of stopping with the Levant. Their goal is to bring back the Caliphate. Since its inception, Islam has always been expansionist, and it is very clear that ISIL’s long-term goal is to grow a modern Islamic empire reminiscent of the Caliphate as it existed a thousand years ago.
Continue reading here.