Defense Secretary Ash Carter effectively undermined the president's entire claim that ISIS is contained.
In an editorial for Politico Magazine published on Friday, Carter completely contradicts Obama’s assertions that ISIS is contained, in fact, indicated that they are not even remotely contained much less weakened or defeated. Carter also confessed, or at least hinted, that the only way to truly defeat ISIS will be with American ground troops.
The storied 101st Airborne Division will soon deploy 1,800 troops to Iraq to aid in the fight against ISIL. They will head there with the support of the American people and armed with a clear campaign plan to help our allies deliver the barbaric organization a lasting defeat, which I personally shared with them last week at Fort Campbell. I also traveled to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, where I discussed the plan’s implementation with our top commanders. And this week I visited Paris, a city of determination and resolve, to discuss the plan with our allies.
In Paris, French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian and I co-hosted our counterparts from Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain. Those countries have been the biggest contributors to the counter-ISIL campaign. The military actions that the United States and our partners have taken in recent months have applied unprecedented pressure on ISIL in Iraq and Syria. In recent weeks, ISIL has lost territory, lost key leaders and even lost some of its cash and oil. We are gathering momentum on a number of fronts and are determined to put ISIL on an irreversible path to lasting defeat. Now is the time to do even more.
ISIL is a cancer that threatens to spread. And like all cancers, you can’t cure the disease just by cutting out the tumor. You have to eliminate it wherever it has spread, and stop it from coming back. The coalition military campaign plan the United States has developed, and which our key allies support, focuses on three military objectives: One, destroy the ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria by collapsing its two power centers in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqah, Syria. These cities constitute ISIL’s military, political, economic and ideological centers of gravity, which is why our plan has big arrows pointing toward both. Two, combat the emerging metastases of the ISIL tumor worldwide wherever it appears. Three, our most important mission: Protect the homeland.
To eliminate the parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, we are enabling local, motivated forces with critical support from a global coalition wielding a suite of capabilities—ranging from airstrikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, training, advice and assistance. It must be local forces who deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, because only they can secure and govern the territory by building long-term trust within the populations they liberate. We can and will enable such local forces, but we cannot substitute for them.
As Iraq and Syria continue to burn, President Obama continues to ignore the defense experts and continues his pandering to the perceived public request to stay out of it. He continues to mislead the American people and the world about the threat and destruction that is continuing in the region.
Obama has continually downplayed the threat but appears to be shifting positions this time. This administration has been on the wrong side of nearly every foreign policy decision since 2009. The early withdrawal from Iraq, despite all advice to the contrary, left the vacuum that was fill by ISIS and now even the Taliban is re-emerging in Afghanistan. Let’s face it, it will be costly to clean up.