The Democratic Candidates Do Their Best to Preserve ISIS

The Democratic debate Saturday focused as advertised on how to deal with ISIS and the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, but absolutely no new ground was broken.

Although there were minor difference between the candidates, it came down to this:  foreign -- build a coalition of Muslim states to fight ISIS;  domestic -- work with our Muslim community to weed out the potential radicals. (That latter hasn't been working too well lately.)

In other words, no change from the Obama policy that has gone nowhere for years.

The candidates were most allergic to "boots on the ground." America wasn't going to be drawn again into a ground war in the Middle East.  Yet there was no explanation how we could possibly win without troops.  Nor was there an explanation of why the Muslim armies would suddenly coalesce against ISIS without us, without, in Lee Smith's famous words, "the strong horse" -- that is, without real U.S. on the ground participation.

The fact is they won't.  And there will be no American victory, no defeat of ISIS, without our troops on the ground. Without the strong horse, nobody fights.  Ask bin Laden. He knew. He was their strong horse, now it's al Baghdadi.

Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley looked clueless about how the Middle East works and they probably are.  I would doubt they had read Smith's book or know much about that theory or anyone else's for that matter. I doubt too they would  be able to answer serious questions about the roots of  the Sunni-Shia conflict.  The whole Islamic uprising is an inconvenience to them. They'd rather be talking about how bad Wall Street is.