Some 'General Advice' for President Obama

Anyone seeking a yardstick by which to measure how far the Democratic Party has fallen needs look no farther than the following "tale of two presidents."

The facts of yesterday speak for themselves.  The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.


No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.


With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

December 8, 1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

What I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France.  I'm too busy for that.

November 16, 2015 – President Barack Obama after ISIS's attacks on multiple targets in Paris, the latest of multiple terrorist atrocities.

"Too busy" doing what?  Fighting the "real enemy" – global warming climate change?

What a difference 74 years makes.  But here's the real gobsmacker: "If there's a good idea out there, then we're going to do it."

The Catch 22½, of course, is that the "we" who will be vetting the ideas is…President Obama.  One may confidently predict, then, that no "good ideas," no matter how objectively "good" they may be, will be hitting our global warming-obsessed commander-in-chief's desk between now and January 20, 2017.

But for the rest of us, who are honestly interested in good ideas, how about this one, courtesy of General Bob Scales (ret.), "gleaned from … discussions with several of [Scales's] uniformed colleagues," and which merits quoting at length?

Step one: state the objective:

Unlike Al Qaeda, ISIS relies on territory for its legitimacy.  Its vulnerable geographical "center of gravity" is Raqqa, its capital in northern Syria.  ISIS without Raqqa would be like Islam without Mecca or Catholicism without the Vatican.

Objective: Conquer Raqqa.

Step two: formulate a strategy "that exploits Western superiority in technology and materiel and takes advantage of the intrinsic weaknesses of this diabolical enemy":

The conquest of Raqqa would begin with a massive air campaign … to make the city virtually uninhabitable.  Aerial strikes by fighters, AC-130 gunships,  Apache helicopters and drones would turn off the lights, destroy sources of food and water, collapse bridges, crater roads and eliminate every electronic portal ISIS has to the outside world.

Step three:

A heavy coalition force of tanks, infantry carriers, artillery and rocket launchers would then … establish a loose cordon around the city [which task] would be eased by a defensive line along the Euphrates River, which forms a natural moat across the southern third of Raqqa.

The total force needed to strangle the city would be modest, about 25,000 troops from all coalition partners.  [America'] total share, with supporting units, would be about 10,000.

Step four:

Once Raqqa was sealed … ISIS would seek to draw the coalition into an apocalyptic street-by-street battle, where the odds would be more in their favor, but the coalition would remain patient and rely on strikes from overhead drones.

Step five:

In time, perhaps weeks or even months, resistance inside the city would collapse [and] we and our Western partners would depart.  ISIS would try to scatter, only to be hunted down in the desert by Sunni Arab forces.

All that is needed is a commander-in-chief willing to give the order.  Good luck with that.

As for why, absent a major, massive-casualty ISIS operation on U.S. soil – and, sadly, with this president, perhaps not even then – Obama will never issue such an order.  The reasons are many and varied, including, but certainly not limited to, Obama's infatuation with the Third World bred into him by his anti-colonialist father; his liberal base's shared belief that war is never justified, that all disputes can be settled diplomatically, and when they can't, it's America's fault; the distasteful-to-liberals public expressions of patriotism a major military operation would produce – and, of course, perhaps most important, the time it would take from Obama's priority project of "fundamentally transforming America."

But above all is the liberal's inability to accept that in war, unlike in diplomacy, there is no such thing as a win-win situation.  One side wins; the other side loses.

And people die, and some of those who die are civilians, including women and children.  "War," as another general, William Tecumseh Sherman, of an earlier era declared, "is hell":

I am tired and sick of war.  Its glory is all moonshine.  It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.  War is hell.

Contrary to much conventional wisdom, Sherman, did not savor war, took no pleasure in waging it, had no thirst to wage it.  But neither did he hesitate or entertain any feelings of guilt about waging war when war was thrust upon him, as it was in 1861 (emphasis added):

War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.

We did not declare war on radical Islamists.  They declared war on us.

As for civilians caught in the crossfire, the Geneva Conventions ("Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War," Part III, Section 1, Article 28) are clear on that point:

The presence of a protected person [i.e., civilian] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.

In other words, the Conventions specifically allow us to attack the enemy wherever we find him, even embedded among civilians.  And, by extension, if ISIS embeds itself among civilians, not to mention preventing them from leaving, ISIS, not we, bears sole responsibility for each and every resulting civilian casualty.  Protecting the civilians under their control is ISIS's job.  America and any other country that joins us have only one duty: to pursue victory.

And the more ruthlessly we pursue and the sooner we achieve victory, the fewer, soldier and civilian alike, who will have to die, as Sherman also understood (emphasis added):

Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.

War is cruelty.  There is no use trying to reform it.  The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

How many "limited wars" must America fight before we get it into our collective head that, as another general, Douglas MacArthur, said, there is no substitute for victory?  That, as Sherman and MacArthur understood, for America and the West, when we are attacked, there is no alternative but "to whip the rebels [read: Jihadists], to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us.  Fear is the beginning of wisdom"?

Ideally, every jihadist needs to die.  But at the very least, they need to fear us.  They don't.  They don't, because it's as apparent to them as it is to us that months of bombings – or, more accurately, the one out of four requested airstrikes that Obama approves – notwithstanding, America essentially is playing defense.  But as another great general, George S. Patton, observed:

Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

MacArthur would agree:

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.

And there it is: the primary reason why President Obama, ignoring even the entreaties of increasingly concerned members of his own party, continues to dither and delay and hold back the most shock-and-awesome military force the world has ever produced from doing what its courageous and capable members are supremely willing and able to do.

He doesn't have the will to win it.

Let us pray that the next president does.

Gene Schwimmer is a New York licensed real estate broker and the author of The Christian StateFollow Gene on Twitter.