Islamic State Wages Smart, Inspired War; U.S. Falters (Investor's Business Daily)

May 28, 2015


Islamic State terrorists pass by a convoy in Tel Abyad, northeast Syria, on May 4, 2015.  AP

Islamic State terrorists pass by a convoy in Tel Abyad, northeast Syria, on May 4, 2015. AP View Enlarged Image

War On Terror: The Islamic State has made astonishing territorial gains, thanks to an inspired, disciplined, smartly crafted strategy. U.S. forces, meanwhile, are mired in Vietnamesque bureaucratic paralysis.

In the movie “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” released 30 years ago this month, Sylvester Stallone’s ex-special forces Vietnam POW asks, “Do we get to win this time?”

The line remains the most succinct description of how the suits in Washington lose wars in spite of the best fighting men and women the world has ever known.

The ghost of Vietnam is now busy haunting the Obama administration’s efforts against IS in Iraq and Syria. Like the Viet Cong, IS fanatics are fully committed to what they are fighting for. And on top of heart, they have brains — or at least a coherent strategy.

Having just captured the cities of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, giving IS access to the Syrian capital of Damascus, the al-Qaida mutation is following ancient Chinese general and “Art of War” author Sun Tzu’s advice that an army must “mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy.”

As a prelude to its Ramadi conquest, IS faked an assault on the northern Iraqi city of Baiji, as well as on areas to the north of Baghdad. In doing so, it successfully fooled Iraq forces that could have saved Ramadi.

Reminiscent of the way Kennedy-Johnson Defense Secretary Robert McNamara pointed to the defects of the North Vietnamese army, Obama Defense Secretary Ashton Carter now disgracefully blames the Iraq army. “We can give them training,” he told CNN. “We can give them equipment; we obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”

Democrats have been blaming the Iraqis for many years, arguing during the Bush administration’s Iraq War that we should withdraw and force Iraq to save itself.

Now that Obama has acted on that misguided idea, his Pentagon chief proceeds to blame Iraq for not being able to deal with the deadly consequences of America’s policy: the rise of IS.

Now, forced back into Iraq by his creation of the IS monster, Obama is presiding over a half-hearted war effort. U.S. air power unleashed nearly 110,000 sorties in 43 days during the successful Operation Desert Storm in 1991; as retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who oversaw air operations in Afghanistan in 2001, told Fox News this week, we average only 14 sorties a day against IS.

“We have been applying air power like a rain shower or a drizzle,” Deptula said. “For it to be effective, it needs to be applied like a thunderstorm.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., complains that 75% of U.S. pilots return to base without dropping any bombs at all.

And Fox reports pilots complain of rules of engagement that squander kill opportunities, with one Navy F/A-18 pilot revealing, “I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn’t get clearance to engage.”

“Do we get to win?”

Apparently not, as IS consolidates power and Obama lets Iran become a nuclear-armed, dominant power, setting off an atomic arms race in the strategically critical Mideast.