So, last week we and the Kurds and the Iraqis – or the Kurds and the Iraqis and us – went and did a hostage rescue mission in Islamic State (IS) territory. It was, by all accounts, a highly successful mission: hostages were freed, the base the hostages were in was then obliterated by the US Air Force, and ‘we*’ lost only one man to combat (Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler). As combat raids in a war zone go, this one ended very well.
Assuming, of course, you’re allowed to call it ‘combat,’ and you’re allowed to call it a ‘war.’ Which is to say: you’re not a member of the Obama administration. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, courtesy of Andrew Malcolm:
“[The raid] doesn’t represent us assuming a combat role. It represents a continuation of our advise-and-assist mission. And I said right from the beginning….when we find opportunities to do things that will effectively prosecute the (anti-ISIS) campaign, we’re going to do that.”
…I’d feel bad that SecDef Carter apparently has to peddle that kind of mealy-mouthed nonsense if he wants to keep his job, except that nobody forced Carter to take the job in the first place. Andrew Malcolm has some other choice quotes from other administration officials trying to not admit that, yeah, we’re in a war right now and there are going to be more Americans dying in it’ it makes for fascinating reading. One wonders how those officials can still talk, given the way that they keep tying their own tongues into knots.
I probably don’t even need to explain why the Obama administration is doing this, but I will anyway, for the benefit of any historians from 2142 AD who might be morbidly trying to make sense of it all: the administration is stuck between not one, but two cleft sticks. Cleft Stick #1: Barack Obama was elected by a political party whose most hardcore supporters still labor under the delusion that a fairly low-grade invasion/occupation/reconstruction of two Middle Eastern countries was ZOMG THE WORST DISASTER IN AMERICAN HISTORY BLOOD FOR OIL UTTER FAILURE QUAGMIRE !!!!!111!!!!ONE!!!1 …OK. You can maybe work around it.
Ah, but then there’s Cleft Stick #2: Barack Obama managed to withdraw American forces in a way that allowed the war that George W. Bush** had already won then be lost. This might have been overlooked, except that Islamic State is just simply awful. And I’m talking a literal Death God Cultist kind of awful: slave markets, blood-stained altars, mass human sacrifice, apocalyptic death fantasy ideology, the whole package. It’s like a Conan the Barbarian story come to life; the only thing that’s lacking is actual snake-god imagery. It’s so bad that even Western media can’t ignore it… which means that the Obama administration kind of needs to get control of the narrative (and slaughter some death cultists), if only because eventually Questions Will Be Asked. The questions may not actually be asked until 2017, but they’ll still be asked.
And thus we come to last night’s little revelation, courtesy of the Washington Post: “President Obama’s most senior national security advisers have recommended measures that would move U.S. troops closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, officials said, a sign of mounting White House dissatisfaction with progress against the Islamic State and a renewed Pentagon push to expand military involvement in long-running conflicts overseas.” I wouldn’t bother reading the rest of the article, though: it can can be safely dismissed, alas. Why? Because if you do a word search on it and type in ‘Vietnam’ you won’t get a single hit. I think that I’ve said this before, but let me say it again: considering how much the Left loves to harp on Vietnam, you’d think that they’d be more aware of how our involvement in that conflict actually went.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*We don’t actually really know how many Kurd or Iraqi troops were killed during this raid.
*Who was a better President, in every conceivable way and by any objective measure, on his worst day than Barack Obama is on his best.