On Thursday, January 21, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) proposed on the Senate floor a draft bill by senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) that would give the President no horizon for the implementation of his ISIL plan of attack, and would include authorization for ground troops. This bill which was first promulgated in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee seems to make a lot of sense. However I, along with others would like to know the President’s plans for defeating the terrorist group ISIL on their home turf.
In an earlier post I talked about the need for the U.S. to have contingency plans ready in case we were to see a Tet-like offensive by ISIL in Iraq that would destabilize the government of Iraq, precipitate a humanitarian crisis, and force the U.S. into uncomfortable decisions in the region. This is something that weighed heavily in the planning process for an invasion of Ar-Raqqa. And though the circumstances for this President may be different, the plan remains the same. If we hope to be able to conquer once and for all the terorist threat emanating from the region the war will inevitably end at the doorstep of Raqqa. This much I believe to be true.
Another point of contention is the next President and not tying his/her hands in this endeavor. The way I see it is if the President has decided that the best thing to do is to invade Syria, with or without coalition, with or without the acquiescence of the Syrian government, then he should make that decision now in the early part of the year so as to allow for the proper run up and invasion to take place.
However if the President has decided that the status quo is working and ISIl can be deprived of the ability to finance and fund its brand of terror, through diplomatic means, economic means, and the air campaign. And that the next President should be able to have as many options on the table as he had, if not more. Then perhaps delaying an invasion is the right thing to do in such a tough situation.
I make no excuses when I say that this is a very tough and Presidential decision. However if the administration hopes to pass along a coherent and enduring legacy as it relates to ISIL then perhaps not invading is the way to do so. One can only hope that the next administration is briefed fully on the subject matter and is aware of the situation vis a vis the Kennedy administration and the Bay of Pigs invasion at the very onset of John F. Kennedy’s administration.