An ISIS video emerged on Sunday that showed American and former Army Ranger, Peter Kassig, beheaded along with over a dozen Syrian soldiers. To date, five Westerners have been held captive, presumably tortured, used as propaganda and then brutally murdered. Three of those killed were Americans. ISIS still has an American hostage: A 26-year-old woman who had been in Syria to help orphaned children who were displaced because of the Syrian civil war.
How many more Americans have to be murdered before the White House says enough is enough? How much longer before the White House unleashes the might of the U.S. military to completely obliterate ISIS once and for all?
There is only one option when it comes to fighting ISIS. Destroy them. But as we’ve seen so far, the Obama administration is content with degrading ISIS and their capabilities with the intention of not drawing the U.S. into another Middle Eastern war. The administration appears to be more concerned with the word ‘combat’ than clearly defining a feasible strategy for defeat, not to degrade.
Defeating ISIS is not a matter of capability; it is a matter of resolve and leadership. The power of the U.S. military should not be underestimated. If given the green light, it would decimate ISIS. Our military leaders are experts at creating strategies to do just that. There would be nowhere for spineless terrorists to run and hide. Unfortunately, the DOD has to fight a war under the micromanagement of a White House that cares more about presidential legacies and perception than swiftly eliminating the threat.
The Obama administration must rethink their military strategy against ISIS. Airstrikes to date have been effective at damaging ISIS equipment and killing ISIS fighters, but they are only a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Airstrikes have challenged ISIS to change their tactics, techniques and procedures. ISIS is already scrambling to make these changes. The shift in tactics will ensure that status quo airstrikes will become increasingly ineffective and the air campaign will shift from a fighter jet and bomber platform to a reconnaissance and attack helicopter mission that can operate in low altitude close air support and communicate with soldiers on the ground to destroy the enemy.
As ISIS operations go underground, it will and has become increasingly difficult to find and fix targets. ISIS will stop operating in masses and traveling in convoys. They will blend in with the local populace because they are fully aware of the self-imposed limitations of the U.S. military and their rules of engagements. As with every fight the U.S. has had in the War on Terror, no matter what the terrorist organization, they use our humanity against us.
But our military has adapted as well. They are the best-trained, funded, and skilled military in the world. They have the techniques, technology, and might to find, fix, and destroy any aggressor in the world. The modern fighting force has over 13 years of experience fighting in the Middle East.
What our lethal military force is lacking is the fortitude of a commander-in-chief who wants to destroy the enemy. Mission ambiguity is incredibly dangerous, not only for our troops who have to fight, but for our overall defense posture.
Slowly increasing the amount of military ‘advisors’ in Iraq only furthers the politically driven agenda of ‘no boots on the ground.’ Boots are on the ground and it is combat no matter how much spin is placed on it. Playing this game of semantics with the American people is deceitful and it only furthers Obama’s image of feckless decision making about our national security and military.
ISIS has grown increasingly more desperate due to recent events of losing occupied territory and loss of leadership, but leaders will be replaced. In contrast, ISIS is very much winning on the propaganda front, and long term, can be viewed as more critical. Which is why it is essential to immediately focus on the destruction of ISIS. Time is of the essence. It is time to release the fury of the U.S. military.
We are at a crossroads in the fight against ISIS. Americans being beheaded at the hands of evil cannot become just another tragic event. A clear message must be sent to terrorist organizations around the world that if that is the way they operate — ruthlessly targeting and beheading Americans — that they will not merely receive a fight, but a rapid annihilation. They will cease to exist. And the world as we know it will be a better place.
We are at war with ISIS. The direct threat they pose to the U.S. and our interests will not subside until the administration stops politicizing strategy and micromanaging the DOD. It is time to give the military the authority to do what they do best, defeat the enemy.
Amber Smith is a military advisor at Concerned Veterans for America. She is a former OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot in the Army with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information visitwww.officialambersmith.com.