Former Marine Gen. James Mattis has harsh words for President Barack Obama’s strategy against ISIS in Iraq in Syria.
Mattis told Time Magazine “the current U.S. effort against ISIS is unguided by a sustained policy or sound strategy [and] replete with half-measures.” Mattis has been quick to call for increased action in Iraq and Syria.
Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015 that the U.S. effort against ISIS was “strategy free,” elaborating that the U.S. needs to “come out from our reactive crouch and take a firm, strategic stance in defense of our values.”
Mattis’s comments come amid U.S. officials’ increased gloating that the effort against ISIS is going well. They point to the the successful Iraqi Security Force seizure of several key towns in Iraq, and the training effort that is gearing up to retake the strategic city of Mosul.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commanding general of the U.S. effort against ISIS, told reporters Tuesday, “We’ve got good momentum going.” Votel elaborated “We are really into the heart of the caliphate.”
Critics of the administration’s strategy believe using territory seized from ISIS as the only metric of success is too narrow. Phillip Lohaus, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation that by focusing on territory, the Pentagon is “justifying the president’s approach to the problem. It would be inaccurate to say that alone is a good measure of success against ISIS.”
“The strategy of containing ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been successful, taking territory from the group has been successful, making the group less dangerous has not been successful,” Nick Heras, Bacevich fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told TheDCNF. Heras further explained that as long as ISIS can declare affiliates across the globe, it can retain its narrative as an Islamic movement and pose a major threat to the U.S.
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