Tags: Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | War on Terrorism | Ramadi | military

Commentary Magazine: US Should Admit It's Losing to ISIS

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 07:04 PM

The fall of the key Iraqi city of Ramadi to the Islamic State (ISIS) is a sign the campaign against the militants is failing – but U.S. military leaders refuse to face that "stark reality," according to Commentary Magazine.

"It is nothing short of a disgrace that no uniformed military personnel are willing to concede the obvious — that we're losing, not winning, against ISIS," military historian and foreign-policy analyst Max Boot writes in a piece posted Monday.

On Friday, as Ramadi was falling, Brigadier General Thomas D. Weidley and Defense Department press officer Col. Steve Warren asserted that ISIS was on the defensive throughout Iraq and Syria, Boot writes.

Even Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blurted out a month ago that Ramadi doesn't matter, and that it "won't be the end of a campaign should it fall."

"In the real world, Ramadi does matter, and its fall is a sign that Operation Inherent Resolve, as the U.S. campaign against ISIS is called, is failing," Boot writes. "Yet rather than engage this stark reality, military leaders prefer to engage in ludicrous spinning that is sadly reminiscent of what their predecessors did while the Iraq War was being lost from 2003 to 2006."

He notes that Gen. George Casey, then the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, confidently told the president that "what we're doing here in Iraq will be successful."

"Those comments came just a month after the bombing of the Samarra mosque, the point at which Iraq headed toward the abyss of all-out civil war," Boot writes. "But even as violence escalated out of control, Casey blithely claimed that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within 18 months and Iraqis could take charge of their own security."

Today's situation is no better, he writes.

"By claiming that everything is going just fine, military commanders are guilty of 'dereliction of duty,'" he writes, using the name of a history of the Joint Chiefs during the Vietnam era, written by now-Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, which accused generals of remaining silent about the failure of U.S. strategy in Vietnam.

"Today another generation of generals is staying similarly mute even as the U.S. is losing another war."

Boot blames President Barack Obama for not taking steps to change the course of the effort because he "doesn't want to be drawn into another war, even if it means ceding much of the Middle East to Sunni and Shiite fanatics."

"But why are the generals enabling his dubious decision-making by pretending that the current war effort is making progress when it isn't?" Boot asks.

"[G]enerals serve the commander-in-chief, but they also have a responsibility to the Constitution and to the men and women under their command to level with the public and especially Congress about what's really going on."

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The fall of the key Iraqi city of Ramadi to the Islamic State (ISIS) is a sign the campaign against the militants is failing – but U.S. military leaders refuse to face that "stark reality," according to Commentary Magazine.
Ramadi, military, campaign, failing
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2015-04-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 07:04 PM
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