Senator John McCain blasted President Obama this week in an interview with the Washington Times. The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee told the Times that the U.S. military hasn’t been this frustrated with their commander-in-chief in a long time.
“There’s a level of dissatisfaction among the uniformed military that I’ve never seen in my time here,” McCain said. “For some of us who are a little older, let’s go back and read the Pentagon Papers — what the administration is doing is the kind of incrementalism that defined much of the Vietnam conflict.”
McCain was referring to the recent White House announcement that Obama was sending some 50 Special Forces troops into northern Syria, a decision that directly contradicts his earlier promise not to put “boots on the ground.” But the broken promise part isn’t what concerns many military advisers; it’s the fact that Obama is taking the kind of steps that put Americans in danger without any coherent strategy for victory against ISIS.
“We’re sending 50 — count them, 50 — special operations soldiers to Syria, and they will have ‘no combat role,’ the president says,” said McCain. “Well, what are they being sent there for? To be recreation officers? You’re in a combat zone, and to say they’re not in combat is absurd.”
Obama’s lack of leadership stands as the root of the problem. He is committed to nothing except his perch on the fence. His milquetoast approach to foreign affairs is dangerous and ineffective. Everyone has their own opinions about how we should handle this deadly terrorist network, but the point isn’t that Obama is making bad choices. The problem is that he mostly refuses to make any choices at all.
Among the candidates running for president next year, you can find every flavor of foreign policy you could ever want to see. You can find candidates who want to plunge us back into all-out war. You can find candidates who want to extract our troops from the Middle East altogether and leave it to the Russians and the Muslim tribes to sort it out. And you can find candidates who pledge to carry on the Obama legacy.
Which strategy you prefer is up to you, but it’s something we need to be focused on as we judge these candidates. The president’s greatest power lies in his role as commander-in-chief. Make sure you’re voting for someone who’s up to the task.
There are signs that we could soon be up to our eyeballs in trouble overseas. It’s not just ISIS. It’s Russia. It’s Iran. It’s the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It’s the lunatic in North Korea. And, of course, there’s the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Today’s American military may be at “peace” relative to a decade ago, but how long is that realistically going to last? Human history is written in war, and there’s no indication that this has somehow changed over the last seven years. War is coming.
Will our next president be able to handle it?