President Barack Obama will address the country Wednesday to explain to the nation “what our game plan is going forward” in the fight against ISIS.
In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama expressed confidence that the United States, with help from regional partners, will be able to wipe out the terror organization.
“I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it,” the President told interviewer Chuck Todd.
He said action will include military, diplomatic and economic components. He laid out a three-stage plan that starts with actions the U.S. has already taken: gathering increased intelligence on ISIS, and using airstrikes to protect American personnel, critical Iraqi infrastructure like the Mosul Dam, and cities such as Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“The next phase is now to start going on some offense,” he said. “We have to get an Iraqi government in place, and I’m optimistic that next week we should be able to get that done.”
Obama’s cobbling together of the Coalition of the Useless, an anemic group of nations with no particular expertise and limited capabilities, and the setting as a pre-condition to “start going on some offense” as getting an Iraqi government in place gives away his real strategy: give the illusion of doing something while kicking the can down the road to the next administration.
The extremist group ISIS “probably” won’t be defeated under the current Obama administration, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.
“This, as the President has said, is going to have to be a sustained effort,” Blinken said. “It’s going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat.”
The problem facing Obama is more of a political one than a military one. If you recall, the US started bombing Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, and in twenty days had eliminated all viable targets in that country and shifted to support of Northern Alliance ground combat operations. Unless Iraq suddenly morphs into a cohesive state, a large number of foreign military personnel are going to be required to demolish ISIS units. Nothing about this campaign is particularly challenging from a military point of view. What is very difficult, I would contend impossible, is that Obama is going to become engaged in ground combat in Iraq in his last two years (can I say that again, “last two years”) in office and have his legacy become entering and leaving office with troops in Iraq.