Wednesday, 23 March 2016

National Review: Brussels Shows the High Cost of Obama’s Slow-Motion War Strategy

National Review: Brussels Shows the High Cost of Obama’s Slow-Motion War Strategy

by David French


"In 2014, Barack Obama decided to respond to jihadist shock and awe with the military and propaganda equivalent of stop and bore. Let’s briefly recall those terrifying days. ISIS burst out of its Syrian stronghold, routed entire divisions of the corrupt and incompetent Iraqi Army, took Mosul, and threatened the Kurdish homeland. Yazidis faced extinction. Iraqi Christians faced genocide. The Kurds — lacking heavy weapons — faced defeat.

Obama, to his credit, acted. Although he had committed the unpardonable sin of abandoning Iraq in 2011 — leaving it vulnerable to exactly the kind of jihadist counteroffensive that military officials predicted — he at least did not commit the sin of Saigon, of turning our backs entirely as an ally burns. American air strikes helped stabilize the front, inflicted losses on ISIS, and launched a slow-burn war of attrition — a war that has since cost ISIS roughly 20 percent of its territory and thousands of fighters.

A success? Only if one defines “success” as staving off ultimate defeat. By other measures, however, the Obama strategy has perversely enabled ISIS — leaving it with time and space to consolidate its victories, spread its influence, and plot terror attacks while providing it with exactly the kind of propaganda victories that jihadists need."

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