Defense4 November 2015

Notes from Norm: War Is Hell

World War I was the war to end all wars.

World War II was the good war.

That World War II was fought at all underscores the failed promise of the end of World War I.

All war, good or otherwise, is Hell.  

With barely 1% of Americans serving in our nation’s military, we, the 99%, have come to depend on the sacrifice, commitment and courage of a relatively small group of brave men and women to protect and preserve our freedom, liberty, democracy and our security.

I am reminded of this, again, with the announcement by President Obama’s spokesperson that he is sending up to 50 members of the United States Special Forces to Syria.

For the first time American’s will have “boots on the ground” in Syria.

The President who promised to end America’s wars has not only continued them, but now has expanded the battle field.

After withdrawing all American forces from Iraq to make good on a campaign promise, he has sent nearly 3,000 American troops back to Iraq.

On top of this is the announcement by the President he will keep nearly 6,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan to continue the 14 year war that began after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

With respect to Syria the President has failed repeatedly to heed the advice and warnings of members of both political parties.  He allowed a murderous dictator to use weapons of mass destruction against his own people all the while he promised to do something.  

Now American troops will be on the ground, in the middle of a conflict between ISIS, rebel forces opposed to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, al-Assad’s own forces and now, Russian military forces.

The President’s decision to send troops to Syria is part of ongoing pattern of incoherent foreign policy and a mismanagement of our nation’s military resources.

All too often the President’s response to threats around the world has been to attempt to minimize, or micromanage the situation.  

The President relies on his own view of the world he wants to see rather than the world as it is, even if his faulty perspective further erodes our place in the world at a time when threats to America’s safety and security and that of our allies is increasing.

It didn’t have to be this way.  It should have never been this way.

Russia is now in Syria because the President’s lack of coherent strategy, and lack of resolve in backing up promises of swift action if al-Assad crossed “red lines”.

The threat to America and its military is greater today than ever before because of the timid actions and decisions of this President.

Instead of effectively removing al-Assad when he was at his weakest, the President now exposes American forces to a complicated fire zone of opposing forces and interests.

With Russia propping up al-Assad, ISIS attempting to overthrow al-Assad, and forces opposed to al-Assad coming under assault by al-Assad and Russian forces, where will American forces be positioned?

According to the Administration the insertion of 50 U.S. Special Forces personnel is intended to fight ISIS.

Think about the prospect of 50 American soldiers caught in a crossfire between Russians, forces loyal to al-Assad, rebel forces opposed to al-Assad and the 20,000 to 30,000 ISIS fighters stationed in Iraq or Syria.

No matter what the multiplier impact of 50 American soldiers – and it is immense – it is a failure of leadership to expect them to reverse the Administration’s botched effort to train forces in Syria to effectively degrade and defeat ISIS forces.

The President is fond of ignoring the lessons of history and arrogantly believes he is immune from the forces and the facts of the past. Despite the lack of evidence that the President’s self-perceived omniscience is rooted in reality, the President continues to insist less is more when it comes to his Administration’s use of American military power.

One of the lessons of history from World War I and World War II wasn’t that they ended war forever.

The most important lesson was that America unleashed the full arsenal of democracy to end those wars.

Democracy and freedom won.  Tyranny and oppression lost.

Defeating ISIS and the rise of radical Islamic terrorism around the world is this generation’s fight for democracy and freedom.

We are either committed to win with the full arsenal of democracy and freedom that America and our allies command throughout the world.

Or the tyrants and the oppressors will gain the upper hand.

One things is for sure, American cannot win the war against terror with 50 American soldiers in Syria.