U.S. ground troops needed to defeat Islamic State in Iraq: military analysts – Washington Times


Trying to uproot and destroy the Islamic State’s army of terrorists in Iraq without American ground troops, as President Obama promoted Wednesday night, is doomed to failure, national security experts say.

At the least, the president needs to get ground troops closer to the fight, say some politicians and analysts. He should introduce special operations units to advise and join the Iraqis on hunt-and-kill missions against Islamic State leaders, as well as insert controllers to point out targets for warplanes.

“What a waste of time,” said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department. “We have not learned a thing in 80 years. [The Islamic State] is an army. The air power is not going to get the job done. Until you put troops in and kill these guys, they’re going to continue. They adjust to tactics. They meld into [the] civilian population.”

Militants in the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, are so embedded in Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi and other Iraqi towns that it will take skilled land combatants to evict them, block by block, analysts say. Relying on the Iraqi security forces, even with front-line U.S. air power, is iffy at best, because Iraqi troops have conducted mass retreats rather than standing and fighting in major battlefield offensives.

Said an Army officer in the Pentagon: “Air power alone cannot win wars. [The president’s] stated strategy ignores this widely accepted truth. But with troops on the ground, in very small numbers, we can team with Kurds and Shia to support those ground forces in rapidly defeating ISIS.”

Retired Army Gen. John Keane, an architect of the 2007 troop surge carried out by Gen. David H. Petraeus, said that, at the least, the campaign needs American advisers closer to battle.

via U.S. ground troops needed to defeat Islamic State in Iraq: military analysts – Washington Times.