7:42 AM, Sep 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Although President Obama has been unequivocal that US forces will not return to Iraq for "boots on the ground" combat, some in his administration (Gen. Martin Dempsey, John Kerry, Joe Biden) have dropped hints that future events may change that. Friday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno joined the chorus, telling the Defense Writers Group, according to the Army News Service (ANS), that "all options are open. 'I never rule anything out,' he added."
Odierno also said that while air strikes have proved effective in the short term in slowing ISIL's gains, concern about civilians casualties will blunt their effectiveness down the road. He added that the military will be carefully "vetting" the anti-ISIL forces that are due to receive training and support, including weapons, to make sure "they are who they [say they] are and won't be part of some extremist group."
For the present, however, the ground forces will come from local nations, according to the ANS report:
"Airstrikes have slowed the advances of ISIL. But airstrikes alone won't defeat ISIL," Odierno cautioned. "You need a complementary ground capability that will go in and do that."
These boots on the ground will be moderates in Syria and Iraq, as well as troops from other Arab nations who would like to assist, he said, adding that the U.S. will train, equip and advise them as needed.
"We all agree with the current strategy we're executing," he said, referring to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president. "We've got to give this time to work. It's important they're the ones who will defeat ISIL."
Odierno added that as is the case in any operation, assessments will continue to be made as events unfold, and that with input from his commanders, he will continue to provide the chairman and the president with candid advice.
All options are open, he said. "I never rule anything out," he added.
7:54 PM, Sep 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama announced this evening that France will join in bombing ISIS (also known as ISIL) in Iraq.
11:07 AM, Sep 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A New York man was indicted last night for helping ISIS, the terrorist army President Obama has pledged to "degrade" and "destroy."
7:05 AM, Sep 17, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
In testimony yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that the most that could be done by way of creating an effective Free Syrian Army – that is, the forces of the moderate opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad – was to train a force of 5,000 over the next year.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:10 PM, Sep 16, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes on why President Obama will have to put boots on the ground to defeat ISIS.
2:31 PM, Sep 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
ISIS is a threat to world peace and the U.S. has reason, the president has said, to “degrade" and, then, to “destroy” it. The threat, for some, is much closer. Right next door, in fact.
10:07 AM, Sep 16, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
We're at war. We're putting boots on the ground. We're not waiting around for the host nation's government to get its affairs in order, or for a regional coalition to commit first. The president has apparently overcome his reluctance to use the military, his worries about a commitment to intervene without an exit strategy, and his usual reluctance to acknowledge (even implicitly) that his administration was wrong when it assured us that there was nothing much for us to worry about.
7:15 AM, Sep 16, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that to counter the ideology of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its claim of a "religious foundation" for its actions, part of the strategy of the international coalition he is attempting to assemble must be to "begin to put real Islam out there." Kerry, in Paris for talks with various world leaders to build that coalition, further said that all of the Arab leaders he had spoken with earlier concurred about their focus on
2:45 PM, Sep 15, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
The Obama administration is behaving like a prisoner under interrogation: eventually, if unintentionally, it ends up talking most about the subjects it least wishes to discuss.
10:31 AM, Sep 15, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
We have learned much about ISIS in the last few weeks, virtually all of it troubling. The CIA has upped its estimates of the number of ISIS fighters to something in the neighborhood of 30,000. And from Ken Dilanian of the AP we learn that through various methods, it can raise the money it needs to fund operations.
What difference does it make?11:42 AM, Sep 14, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
John Kerry argued that it doesn't really make a difference if we call U.S. action against ISIS a "war." He criticized the "tortured debate" this morning on CBS:
"Mr. Secretary, thank you so much," said CBS host Bob Schieffer. "Can I clear up one thing first. This week you went to some lengths to say you wouldn't call this a war, but yet at the Pentagon and at the State Department even they were saying we are at war with ISIS. Are we at war?"
2:32 PM, Sep 12, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House now definitively says that the "U.S. is at with with ISIL," a position the Obama administration has been hesitant to state in the last couple days: