We Need An American Foreign Legion

Not a bad ideal when you consider the pros/con’s,  but the devil is in the details in something like this and every contingency must be planned for because of the Potential for Abuse by dumb-ass Politicians and conniving civilians in the Pentagon. -SF

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President Obama recently announced that an additional 250 Special Operations forces will be sent to Syria to stem the spread of the Islamic State. It won’t work. By now, “too little, too late” has become the moniker of the administration’s Middle East policy. To be fair, the policy of Obama’s predecessor wasn’t effective either. What is needed is a new piece on the chessboard: an American Foreign Legion.

As a former paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and a former military contractor, I have seen that there is no substitute for boots on the ground. You cannot control territory from the air, and ground forces are needed to root out the Islamic State where it lives and festers. The United States has traditionally had four options. The first is isolationism: Do nothing. This means ceding the battle to the terrorists and watching them grow from a distance until they reach our shores. Few would want this.

 The second strategy is to send in Special Operations forces, as Obama is doing. While such forces are an incredible fighting machine, their main mission will be to build indigenous forces on the ground. We are terrible at this. The United States spent billions on the Iraqi and Afghan security forces, but what did taxpayers get? In 2014, Iraqi soldiers threw down their weapons, peeled off their uniforms and ran away at the sight of an inferior enemy in Mosul. The Afghan military and police are mostly ghosts collecting salaries. The Pentagon and the CIA created Syrian militias to fight the Islamic State, only to have those militias join another terrorist group or even fight each other. Conducting a strategy like this over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

The third option is Iraq War III. We could mount another “surge” of U.S. troops, as we did in 2007 to turn the tide of the war we launched in 2003, in hopes of winning hearts and minds. But the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy failed. Once U.S. troops leave, terrorists take over again, as the Islamic State has proved. Few Americans would like us to get sucked into another long war in the Middle East.

Read the Remainder at The Washington Post

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