The president has vowed to defeat ISIS, but will the less than passionate approach make America's involvement more lengthy?

Written by R. JAMES TOWE  james@sollicitus.us

An Alleged Execution by ISIS
On Monday, the Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly rejected President Obama's invitation to join forces against ISIS. 

There is a sense of disbelief that an American president would attempt to enlist the brutal Iranian regime in a fight against terrorism. A regime that itself is defined as a 'state sponsor of terror' by the president's Department of State. The irony.


The continuing downward spiral in world affairs finds its roots in American disengagement, beginning with the 'Russian reset' envisioned by Hillary Clinton. The president later relinquished missile defense in Eastern Europe at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin had long feared that an American missile defense blanket would make Russia's nuclear arsenal obsolete. The Russian president later thanked America for its retreat by invading and annexing Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Bravo, indeed.

But the most egregious act, one that may well define this presidency, was the precipitous withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. The president announced that a status of forces agreement was unreachable, thereby placing US personnel at the mercy of the Iraqi legal system. In truth, the status of forces debate was merely a pretext. The president had vowed to end the war in Iraq during his 2008 presidential campaign. It was a view held close to his heart. He required this political asset for the 2012 reelection campaign. 

In this he succeeded. 

America left Iraq and Mr Obama's political base cheered wildly and with a touch of madness to the beat of 'righting' America's 'wrongs'.


Now that Iraq's government apparatus has fallen into dysfunction, it continues to define itself through sectarian cronyism. The Iraqi government is controlled by the country's Shi'ite majority, while marginalizing adherents of the Sunni sect of Islam. These theological lines have become political divisions. One could argue that the Iraqi state ceases to exist, as Baghdad has become a city-state of sorts, wielding little influence outside the capital. 

Efforts to arm and support the Syrian Free Army, or what remains of this nebulous group of 'moderates', create sound bites for an administration struggling to stop the hemorrhaging of poll numbers. This might explain the lack of enthusiasm among key allies to assist in an intervention that has been sloppily thought through by its author.

As the president's generals insist increasingly that 'boots on the ground' will be necessary to rout the Islamic State, Mr Obama may agree but grudgingly. American ground forces have begun to trickle into Iraq as Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has noted that these military advisers could find themselves in combat roles. 


If the United States indeed engages the enemy with a skeleton force, the lack of commitment  will make for tragedy and a lengthy ordeal. American privates and lieutenants may be captured and beheaded for the world to watch in horror. The president's poll numbers will fall further, while the public wonders how Mr Obama became commander-in-chief in the first place. 

Fighting the Islamic State will almost certainly become mired yet again by a politically correct and timid American foreign policy.

One hopes and prays that the president finally looks through a lens of reality and sets his deep-seated ideology aside. In order for this worthy endeavor to end in success, the president must commit to a serious plan backed by an impassioned White House. If not, tough days lie ahead for America and the West.