WASHINGTON – I recently argued that Obama’s military intervention in Iraq, (through air strikes, no ground troops), lacks conviction, and a clear “war winning” strategy. Looking at the headlines, I notice (with dismay) that I was right.
A few small targets
Indeed, the mighty US Air Force and US Naval Aviation, probably the best in the world when it comes to air power, managed to hit ISIL forces in Northern Iraq, currently threatening Iraqi Kurdistan, in the following way: 1 enemy mortar position destroyed, 3 vehicles destroyed, and a few more damaged.
Well, what can I say. I do hope that this was just a warming up round of air attacks. Because if this (ridiculous?) use of US air power defines the level of the US military engagement in this really dangerous Iraq conflict, then we have a new low to define what a “pin prick” military action is.
US power should be used sparingly and advisedly. But when we have decided to engage a truly dangerous enemy like ISIL (or ISIS) that feels invincible simply because so far it has encountered no real resistance, then we should hit their forces massively.
Inflict maximum damage
The point is to inflict maximum damage to ISIL forces, fuel depots, command, control and communications systems, and supply lines. With a devastating attack we would also deliver a real blow to the moral of ISIL fighters. The forcefulness of the US air campaign must be such that it will convince them that from now it is all downhill for them.
What is the plan
This is rather elementary stuff. It is obvious to all military planners that a few strikes here and there that destroy a few enemy trucks will not do any of this. This being the case, then what kind of orders from the Commander in Chief is the Pentagon excuting? Assuming that President Obama has been informed by his national security team as to what it takes to have an effective air campaign, then I wonder what his Iraq game plan is.
Or, should we conclude that may be there is no plan?