By LTC Allen West (U.S. Army Ret) ~
There was initial euphoria over the news of a coalition advance against ISIS in Mosul. However, anyone who knows a little bit about tactical operations will tell you a few determined fighters in an urban setting can cause massive chaos.
And what’s even more dangerous is an enemy who’s had months to prepare for a defense, and doesn’t value life. The last time American forces experienced such savage tenacity was during the Pacific theater of combat operations during World War II…and our folks were very well trained.
So, reality is already settling in over in Mosul, as reported by the Washington Post, “To defend a few miles of unremarkable road in northern Iraq, flanked by farmland, the occasional factory and flyspeck hamlets and villages, the Islamic State militants seemed to spare no effort. They loaded a Volkswagen with explosives and secreted remote-detonated bombs into the road’s median strip. They burned tires and dug large tunnels in houses, to obscure their positions. They placed crude mortar launchers on the road’s shoulder, pointed in the direction of any approaching force.
The arsenal ultimately failed to protect the militants as thousands of Kurdish soldiers known as peshmerga swept down the road Monday as part of a broader offensive to drive the militants out of Mosul. But it seemed to slow down the action Tuesday, tying up a large contingent of Iraqi soldiers for the better part of the day as they tried to clear the road and surrounding villages of booby traps, a few wearying feet at a time. There were still 12 grueling miles left to travel before reaching the city’s outskirts.
The struggle for Mosul – which involves U.S. air power and an array of Iraqi ground forces – is the largest and most complex so far in the battle against Islamic State militants, who have been digging in for a fight. Residents who have recently fled the area and Iraqi officials with contacts inside the city say the Islamic State has been erecting concrete barricades and filling trenches with oil that can be set on fire to slow advancing forces.
“It’s going to be a tough fight and a difficult fight,” President Obama said Tuesday at a news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “It is Iraqis who are doing the fighting. And they are performing effectively and bravely, and taking on significant casualties. There will be ups and downs in this process, but my expectation is that ultimately it will be successful.”
I must admit, I’ve never seen such apathy from an American president when it comes to a combat operation. And needless to say, those on the ground are paying attention to the lack of focus and concern from Barack Obama.
And you can bet that there was one very serious order issued to our men and women on the ground in Iraq – you will not get engaged in any combat engagements. Let me explain to you how damaging that is for the credibility of our troops on the ground. For them to just sit back and not engage the enemy that beheaded Americans is a tad bit demoralizing for them, and doesn’t boost the trust and confidence of those fighting. In that part of the world it’s about being tough, strong and evidencing your might. Just being there to “advise” is viewed as cowardly.
I remember before I deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Storm I read the exploits of British officer T.S. Lawrence in order to get a clear understanding of the culture. Lawrence fought with the tribesmen against the Turkish army, not just offered advice. Yes, they appreciate the aerial firepower, but the bond of combat means being there side by side fighting against a common enemy.
The other issue with not being engaged and having no skin the game – and let’s admit all of this is happening because of the blatant strategic blunder of Obama in Iraq – is Iraqis, Kurds, Assyrians, and others are “fighting effectively and bravely, and taking on significant casualties” because of the abject ignorance and yes, stupidity, of Barack Obama.
And if Obama thinks those of us who fought there, sacrificed there, bled there, lost friends there, and remember being there don’t have that in the backs of our minds, he’s fooling himself.
None of this needed to happen, and it lies at the feet of one person: Barack Hussein Obama. Obama has been completely dismissive about Iraq creating a vacuum for which this evil stepped in to fill. But what is also evident is in the aftermath of this, America will not have a strong place at the table as a respected nation – because this nation will be seen as creating the problem, causing many Iraqis to be killed by ISIS suicide bombers, and countless men, women and children to be crucified, beheaded, abused and sold into sex slavery.
Defeating ISIS in Mosul will not be an easy task – that is a truthful statement. But, as Barack Obama sits back and makes smug and unemotional statements at press conferences, there are men and women on the ground suffering because of his, and Hillary Clinton’s, foolish decision to steal defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq.
Y’all remember, Mosul is the place where the 101st Airborne Division under the command of then Major General David Petraeus, found and killed Saddam Hussein’s sociopathic and tyrannical sons, Uday and Qusay. The place was peaceful and settled, and the Kurds were thriving…then came Barack Obama.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Lt. Col (Retired) Allen West served 22 years in the US Army and represented Florida’s 22nd Congressional District in the US House of Representatives from 2011-2013.