Sometimes I think U.S. foreign policy and war tactics mimic an old Aggie joke — substitute Obama and John Kerry for the Texas A&M assistant football coach.
One day the Aggie head coach sends his assistant to Austin to try to find out why the Longhorns always beat the Aggies. (This was a long time ago.) The coach goes up to the University of Texas coach and asks him point blank why his team always wins.
The coach replies that it is hard to explain but says he can demonstrate. He holds his hand in front of a brick wall and says, “Hit my hand.” The Aggie coach swings, the coach drops his hand and the Aggie coach bashes the brick wall.
Upon returning to College Station, the coach tells his head coach he can’t explain why the Longhorns win but can demonstrate. He holds his unbandaged hand in front of his face and says, “Hit my hand.”
Back in July Obama gave a speech claiming his strategy is damaging the Islamic State.
“Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria — the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. … This continues to be a challenge, and, working together, all our nations are going to need to do more, but we’re starting to see some progress,” he said. “We’ll continue cracking down on ISIL’s illicit finance around the world.”
On Monday, for the first time, mark that, first time, U.S. gunships attacked a convoy of oil tanker trucks Islamic State was using to smuggle crude oil to finance its operations. According to The New York Times, “To reduce the risk of harming civilians, two F-15 warplanes dropped leaflets about an hour before the attack warning drivers to abandon their vehicles, and strafing runs were conducted to reinforce the message.”
Did no one think that telegraphing the attack might allow them to set up anti-aircraft batteries and RPGs?
Luckily, A-10s and C-130s took out 116 tanker trucks and there was no mention of aircraft being hit.
According to Washington Post columnist Mark Thiessen, Islamic State raised $1.2 billion in 2014 alone from extortion, taxation, money stolen from Iraqi banks and oil. Yet the U.S. only now attacking the oil tankers and pulling its punches in order to avoid hitting drivers working for Islamic State.
Thiessen repeats the oft-told account that 75 percent of U.S. sorties return without dropping bombs because they don’t have adequate target information or there is fear of collateral damage.
Further, Investor’s Business Daily reports today that France has been bombing targets in Raqqa, hitting command and recruitment centers, ammo dumps and training camps. France got the target coordinates from the U.S., which had not struck them already, despite Obama’s boasts of vigorous attacks.
Meanwhile Russia is sending long-range bombers and cruise missiles to pound terrorist state targets that Obama has failed to strike in more than a year of bombing.
Obama has no effective strategy to contain, damage or destroy the Islamic State. He may well be behind, but he is not leading.