Friday, December 11, 2015

No Troops on the Ground

You've been listening to President Obama?


Describing the Islamic State as "the face of evil," President Obama said Monday he will continue working with other countries on a coordinated strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the militant group — without U.S. combat troops...The president defended a strategy based on air strikes, working with allies on intelligence gathering, and training local military forces. He said that deploying a large U.S. military force to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq — a step recommended by Republican presidential candidates and other critics — would be ineffective.

Military advisers have told him that ground troops "would be a mistake," Obama said during a news conference in Turkey, the site of the G-20 summit.

Actually, someone counted and

8 times Obama said there would be no ground troops or no combat mission in Syria

That bombing policy sounds familiar:

...there was the bombing. The British carried out punitive bombing raids on Mesopotamia, mostly on the Kurdish areas, throughout the early 1920s. This was in response to Churchill’s request to Trenchard, the chief of the air staff, to find a cheaper alternative to ground troops. Trenchard was delighted with this opportunity to perfect his ideas about ‘air policing’. He believed that ‘in dealing with Arabs, it was necessary to take a firm line,’ a sentiment endorsed by Squadron Leader Arthur Harris, who commanded a squadron of Vickers Vernons in Mesopotamia. Faced with an even larger revolt in their mandated territory of Syria, the French bombed Damascus for several days, as well as burning villages and stringing up rebel corpses in the narrow streets. When there was an international outcry, Aristide Briand instructed his new high commissioner in Syria, Henry de Jouvenel (recently divorced from Colette and no doubt hoping for a quieter life), to carry out an inquiry that would refute the ‘exaggerated claims’ – in other words, he wanted a cover-up. Meanwhile, in South-West Africa, the South African authorities had been bombing the defenceless Bondelswarts tribesmen and burning their villages too. The idea that the League mandate might afford these vulnerable peoples some protection from the modern horror of aerial bombardment seems to have occurred to nobody much. On the contrary, bombing people back into the Stone Age (or keeping them there) appealed as a low-cost, low-risk option, just as it does to us in the day of the drone.

That's quoted from a book review in the LBR by Ferdinand Mount.

Now, there's this:

President Obama breaks pledge: U.S. will send ground troops into Syria
For years, the president has pledged not to send U.S. forces into Syria. Now, he's reversing course


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