In his address to Marines in San Diego, Chuck Hagel described the threat posed by ISIS this way:
The Iraqi people, the government of Iraq, country of Iraq is now under threat from some of the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen in the world today, and a force, [ISIS], and others that is an ideology that’s connected to an army and it’s a force and a dimension that the world has never seen before like we have seen it now.
Not bad for the “jayvee.”
Hagel spoke accurately, if barely coherently. But what response did he propose to this brutal, barbaric, and unique threat?:
I recommended to the president, and the president has authorized me to go ahead and send about 130 new assessment team members up to northern Iraq in the Erbil area to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they’re doing and the threats that they are now dealing with.
Presumably, the assessment team will assess that ISIS is a brutal, barbaric, and unique threat. Also, that ISIS is winning.
President Obama claims that he’s determined not to do “stupid [stuff].” It would be nice if, in addition, he abjured “half-assed [stuff].”
Combating ISIS with a few pinprick airstrikes and a small number of advisers is half-assed. Fox News reported this morning that U.S. military commanders have compared our limited action against ISIS to “whac-a-mole.”
ISIS is powerful and is becoming more so by the week. But it is not unstoppable, as has been seen in Syria.
ISIS found the Iran-backed Syrian regime too tough a nut to crack, so it turned to the U.S.-backed (sort of) Iraqi government, correctly perceiving that it is low hanging fruit
In short ISIS’s approach is to probe for weakness. When it finds weakness, it runs rampant.
Northern Iraq is the first place where ISIS has encountered the U.S. military. It is imperative that ISIS not find weakness there.
Via Joel Gehrke at NRO.