Tuesday, December 8, 2015

war plans

President Obama has challenged  Congress to join him in the fight against ISIL by passing a law authorizing the use of military force [AUMF]. The administration proposed one last February. It was limited to three years unless extended by law, authorized "necessary and appropriate" force, but declared that it was not intended to authorize "enduring offensive ground combat operations." Senators Kaine [D-VA] and Flake [R-AZ] have offered a slightly different measure that authorizes "necessary and appropriate" force for three years but calls "use of significant United States ground troops" inconsistent with its purpose.

Now we have Senators Graham [R-SC] and McCain [R-AZ] with their own alternative that, without other limitations or restrictions, simply authorizes "necessary and appropriate" force. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the Senators explain their proposal in more detail: they admit that the Iraqi government opposes a major U.S. troop deployment, so they suggest instead U.S. ground combat in Syria.
So the U.S. should lead an effort to assemble a multinational force, including up to 10,000 American troops, to clear and hold Raqqa and destroy ISIS in Syria. Such a force could also help to keep the peace in a post-Assad Syria, as was done in Bosnia and Kosovo.
That's a much more honorable proposal than what we've heard from most other Republican presidential candidates, who seem to think that "carpet bombing" will be sufficient. But it still doesn't answer the nagging questions that have kept current policy limited.

-- Where are the 90,000 Arab fighters going to come from?
-- How do we avoid an unintentional war with Russia?
-- Where do we stand on the competing claims of Turkey and the Kurds?
-- How do we fight against both Assad and ISIL?

Until the armchair generals have credible answers to these questions, they should keep their war plans in their pockets.

No comments:

Post a Comment