The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Nickel

General Martin Dempsey testified before Congress and suggested that there may be situations in which U.S. ground troops will be required to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS). The Obama administration immediately leaped into the fray, helping ISIS understand the limits of their half-baked strategy—"no boots on the ground."

Richard Fernandez describes the situation perfectly:
What is paralyzing the president's domestic political coalition is they want the results of a mission without undertaking the mission. They want to be safe from ISIS without really destroying it. They wish to achieve what only a balanced, overwhelming application of force can accomplish with only the minimum of means.

In short they want the item in the window without paying for it. So they're sending in Dempsey with nickel to buy a diamond ring. Dempsey will be able to do one of two things. Come out with the something chipped from the bottom of a glass or forced to stick the store up.

Obama can't be persuaded to run to a dime. A nickel is all he will spring for. So what Dempsey can do is run out the clock and dicker with the jeweler. Not that he'll get anywhere but it will seem like he's doing something.

It will work for a while until it becomes clear it's not working. Then Obama will give a bigger speech and the whole charade will start over again. But the obstacle will be the same. The Obama coalition expects something for nothing.

Alas, it will get nothing.
By spending only a "nickel," and only after anguishing for months over the best way to put it on the counter, Obama will get nothing of value, except confusing and discouraging our allies while bolstering the confidence of the Islamist army.

In thinking about this for a moment, it's probably best that with the leadership of this feckless president, it would be best to keep U.S troops out of this. Should they be allowed into the fray, they would be constrained in so many ways that their mission would be futile. Better to well-fund and supply the Kurds with the heavy weapons they need right now to fight ISIS and do what this president has done best in recent years—lead from behind.

UPDATE (9/19/14):
Glen Reynolds of Instapundit comments about the stability that had been established in Iraq at the end of George W. Bush's term as president:  "Yeah, well Obama pretty much threw all that away. Now he’s bringing us Iraq War II — halfhearted, on the cheap, and run by committee. And we’ll be very lucky indeed if, at the end of Obama’s presidency, things are as good in the Middle East as they were at the beginning of Obama’s presidency.