NBC’s Richard Engel produced a one-year progress report on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, reporting that despite the three-pronged attack on the Islamic State, the U.S. has done little in the way of dismantling the world’s largest terrorist organization. In fact, he said – quoting a U.S. official – the international branches of ISIS are “growing like crazy.”
“What’s happening mostly is the brand of ISIS is as powerful as the brand of Osama bin Laden,” said John Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The report comes two weeks after U.S. military officials scored a major advantage in the war, gaining access to bases in southern Turkey, putting jets and drones within a much shorter striking range. But even with the closer proximity, Engel said, there is no indication that Obama’s war is weakening the organization. Not only does ISIS retain control over large swaths of Syria and Iraq, their influence is growing to include North and West Africa, Afghanistan, Arabia, and even the Far East.
According to Engel, the U.S. strategy is divided into three pillars, “all of them shaky.” Those pillars include retraining the Iraqi Army, training Syrian rebels, and of course the airstrikes. Those strikes have been effective in killing ISIS leaders and troops, but they haven’t prevented the terrorists from replenishing their numbers.
“The problem with airstrikes,” said Alterman, “is that it gives you a sense that you’ve done more than you’ve done. It’s very hard to have desired political effects from the air.”
Engel finished the report by saying the U.S. military, under the control of Special Operations, is currently devising a new “global strategy” to combat ISIS.
It would take a book the size of War and Peace to list all of the mistakes President Obama has made in the battle against ISIS, but his “no ground troops” policy is probably the worst of them. Not because of the policy itself, mind you, but because he outright told the enemy exactly where the boundaries are. No matter what you do, who you kill, or what historical treasures you destroy, we’re not going to come after you with everything we have. You’ll never have to worry about facing the full wrath of the mightiest military in the world. Can you imagine how that must empower Islamic State leaders?
As president of the United States, Obama has been ineffective, outrageously liberal, and constitutionally obscene. But in his role as commander-in-chief, he has been a dangerous embarrassment. In his rush to add “I Ended the Iraq War” to his list of accomplishments, he ensured that we will be dealing with this sad hellhole of a country for the next decade. Not only is that bad news for our financial expenditures, it has doomed thousands of innocent lives. And if we wait until ISIS is twice as powerful before hitting them with our troops, the American death toll will be staggering. Peace is a noble goal, but real peace is not earned through appeasement.