Saturday, November 08, 2014

But Of Course, "No Boots On The Ground"

No one knows what the next two years of Republican control of the House and the Senate will bring.  "No one," however, is not Repub Senator Kelly Ayotte (photo from AP) of New Hampshire, who on October 5, 2014 maintained on Fox News Sunday

I think we have a problem where the president’s foreign policy is being trapped by his campaign rhetoric. I’m very fearful as we look at the current military strategy that it is surrounding the November elections and he won’t have the resolve to follow through with what needs to be done in a sustained effort to destroy ISIS, and we’re about to repeat the same thing with Afghanistan.

Ayotte then was asked by host Chris Wallace  whether she was “suggesting that after the November election and acting tough and talking tough, that he will pull back from confronting ISIS.” Ayotte responded “I’m very concerned about that, Chris, and his resolve in this regard.”

President Obama may retreat from Iraq if and when he finds his policy is not yielding favorable results. But for now, according to the Associated Press' Lolita C. Baldor,

Congress members returning to Capitol Hill next week will face a debate over President Barack Obama’s new $5.6 billion plan to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq and send up to 1,500 more American troops to the war-torn nation.

Obama authorized the deployment of advisory teams and trainers to bolster struggling Iraqi forces across the country, including into Iraq’s western Anbar province where fighting with Islamic State militants has been fierce. His decision comes just three days after bruising midterm elections for his Democratic Party.

But the deployments hinge on whether Obama can get the funding approved in Congress’ lame-duck session, so that advisers can begin deploying to Iraq, particularly to Anbar where Sunni tribes have persistently requested help.

Obama’s plan could boost the total number of American troops in Iraq to 3,100. There are currently about 1,400 U.S. troops there, out of the 1,600 previously authorized.

It's highly unlikely anyone will question the soft prediction Ayotte made only last month, now blown to smithereeens.  Obama may retreat from his policy if and when he finds it is not producing the dividends he hopes.  But the New Hampshire senator is not of the Crazy Cruz Caucus and is held in relatively high esteem by the media. Additionally, as part of the McCain-Graham-Ayotte trio, she is the beneficiary of conventional (and slightly bizarre) wisdom of the Middle East.

Senator McCain, as we all know, ranks the surge- more specifically and accurately termed the Anbar Awakening- as the greatest and most decisive military victory since D-Day.  That faith is not to be questioned, as reflected in the following:

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the military will set up several sites across Iraq to train nine Iraqi Army brigades and three peshmerga brigades, which are made up of Iraqi Kurdish forces. The military will also establish two operations centers where small advisory teams can work with Iraqi forces at the headquarters and brigade levels.

Kirby said one of those centers will be in Anbar province, where U.S. troops fought al-Qaida extremists in brutal fighting in 2004 to 2007, costing more than 1,000 American lives and 9,000 Iraqi lives, mainly in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

He added that the U.S. also is considering training of some of the Sunni tribes. In 2007, Sunni Arab tribes in Anbar joined forces with Americans – in what was called the Anbar Awakening – and dealt a blow against the insurgents that many credit with turning the tide in that conflict.

We are to be comforted that the "blow against the insurgents" produced by the surge in Iraq "turned the tide in that conflict." Let us then turn our attention to the 1700 additional American soldiers who may be sent there, obviously to secure the peace, stability, and democratic government fostered by the surge.

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