President should not ignore military advisors

25 Sep

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Sep. 25, 2014 @ 06:55 AM

President Obama has certainly given the world plenty of reason to question his ability to address the war on terror.

Even as the administration received congressional backing for its strategy to arm and train Syrian opposition forces and has begun its expanded air strikes to “degrade and defeat” the Islamic State, military leaders have been critical of the president’s approach which has included rejecting advice from his top military commander in the Middle East.

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported last week that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.” Austin’s recommendation was taken to the White House by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. But the White House rejected CENTCOM’s “advise and assist” contingent due to the president’s concerns about placing U.S. ground forces in a frontline role.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, told the House Intelligence Committee that a blanket prohibition on ground combat was tying the military’s hands. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.” Given Barack Obama’s unimpressive background, it’s unfathomable he could ignore the recommendations of tenured, military minds in such a volatile situation. Such poor judgment sets our military up for failure. And as the threat of terror looms nearer our borders, failure is not an option nor something on which to vacillate.

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In a chilling report on “The Kelly File” on Fox News, Trace Gallagher described an intelligence bulletin from the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange warning Islamic extremists are encouraging “lone wolf” terrorists to carry out random attacks on individuals on American soil. These attacks would be spontaneous, ambush-style attacks, similar to the machete attack of a British soldier in 2013.

In light of the ISIS savagery, Americans are worried the government isn’t doing enough to protect the homeland. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll revealed nearly half of Americans believe our nation is less safe than it was before September 2001.

This president’s sluggish approach to the war on terror has emboldened Islamic jihadists to the point they may be compelled to bring their brutal style of cowardly attacks into theU.S. Andforathreatthat Obama’s advisors say is greater than that posed by al-Qaeda after 2001, his military strategy of “leading from behind” falls dangerously short in comparison to the “shock and awe” of the Bush administration when his surge strategy, led by Generals Petraeus and Odierno, defeated al Qaeda in Iraq.

Obama lacks the qualifications to ignore advice from his military commanders. His smug defiance, designed to placate Americans, is instead endangering them.

A President of the United States must take a frontline role in protecting U.S. citizens.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.


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