The PJ Tatler

Headline of the Month: 'Fall of Ramadi Raises Doubts About US Strategy in Iraq'

What strategy?

The Islamic State group’s capture of Ramadi, a key provincial capital in western Iraq, calls into question the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq.

Is there a Plan B?

The current U.S. approach is a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding Baghdad to reconcile with the nation’s Sunnis, and bombing Islamic State targets from the air without committing American ground combat troops. But the rout in Ramadi revealed a weak Iraqi army, slow reconciliation and a bombing campaign that, while effective, is not decisive.

Enough of this horsepuckey; it’s Vietnam all over again, this time as face. Bombing does not win wars. Artificial metrics do not win wars. Training Third World savages with a history of cowardice in battle does not win wars. Pulling American troops out and simply declaring victory does not win wars. Only absolutely victory and unconditional surrender of the enemy win wars.

Two successive Bush presidents started wars in Iraq — a useless, imaginary, non-strategic “country” — and didn’t finish them. The second Bush bequeathed us Obama. What did you expect? The upper brass is a cadre of lickspittle throne-sniffers, incapable of winning a street fight much less a way against primitives that could easily be won with the proper application of military and will power. But no:

On Monday, administration officials acknowledged the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, as a “setback.” They still maintained, however, the campaign would ultimately bring victory. They counseled patience and said periodic setbacks are to be expected in confronting the Islamic State.

But anything close to a victory appeared far off. In gaining control of Ramadi over the weekend, Islamic State fighters killed as many as 500 Iraqi civilians and soldiers and caused 8,000 people to flee their homes. On Monday the militants did a door-to-door search looking for policemen and pro-government tribesmen.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a written statement Monday that suggested Ramadi will trigger no change in the U.S. approach. “Setbacks are regrettable but not uncommon in warfare,” Dempsey said. “Much effort will now be required to reclaim the city.”

The next president will have his work cut out for him: fire this idiot and everybody like him, make rapid promotions among the mid-level officers’ corps, and put people in charge who know how to fight, kill and win. Unless the next president is another Democrat, in which case everything is proceeding according to plan.