On Friday’s broadcast of PBS’s “NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks explained that the current U.S. strategy in Iraq to combat ISIS is on track to include more than just air strikes, but potentially special forces as well.
“What’s happening now, we’re in — we’re entering the mission creep phase. It’s pretty clear that the idea of just using air warfare is not going to get ISIS out of the cities,” Brooks said. “And the generals are beginning to think that through, and you will probably need some special forces on the ground, not a big invasion or anything like that. It’s also clear we have a pretty unilateral effort. It’s much multilateral than George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq a decade ago or whatever. And so what we have is a big gap between what we have so far committed and what we will be required to get to accomplish the mission. And the coming debate is over how much we increase that commitment.”
Brooks explained that degrading ISIS without committing ground forces may not be possible and that the rhetoric from President Barack Obama about no ground troops but being committed to diminishing ISIS could be contradictory.
“But there are sort of two strategies here from the president,” Brooks added. “The first is, we will degrade ISIS. The second is that we will not commit ground troops. Well, those two things may not be true. And so which one is he going to choose? Is he really going to leave office with the Islamic State as powerful as it is now, holding as much ground as it is now? I suspect he’s going to begin to give ground. It’s not a big invasion if it’s special operations forces. I suspect he’s going to involve — Dwight Eisenhower used to say, planning is everything, but plans are nothing, which means you go in with a strategy, but you have got to adjust. And I suspect there is going to be a lot of adjustment in ways that we can’t foresee right now.”
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