The Daily Beast reports: The self-proclaimed Islamic State has claimed a major provincial capital in Iraq and taken over another strategically key city in Syria. In response, the Obama administration plans to do — well, not much of anything new.
Four defense officials told The Daily Beast that there’s still strong resistance within the Obama administration to making any serious changes to the current strategy for fighting ISIS — despite mounting skepticism from some in the Pentagon about the current U.S. approach to the war.
Although the Obama administration’s public messaging is that it still wants to “degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS, in reality, many in the Pentagon view the real objective as just running out the clock.
“I think this is driven by a sense that this not our fight and so we are just going to try to contain it and have influence where we can,” one official who works closely on the military strategy explained to The Daily Beast. “This is a long fight, and it will be up to the next administration to tackle.”
Rather than aiming for a decisive victory, the U.S. approach has devolved into simply maintaining a low boil in perpetuity.
They said they realize that the political strategy supersedes the military one; there is no public appetite for ground troops in Iraq; there is frustration about corruption within the Iraqi government; and there is a lack of a clear alternative approach.
“It’s a political response,” one official explained. “They are doing ‘something’ to inoculate themselves from substantial criticism.”
Some are more blunt, saying no one wants to invest too much time or resources in crafting an alternative. [Continue reading…]