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« Staggering, just staggering. | Main | My simple question to President Obama about his very complicated Syria policy »

October 30, 2015



"we'll be there, en masses for years." Which is exactly the terrorists' objective, because it legitimizes them.


Rarely has this president ever made a decision I simply do not understand. I can almost always at least understand WHY he's doing something, even if I disagree with it. But boots in Syria, at this stage, after taking so much heat for not going in guns blazing long ago? Why? Is the Pentagon threatening a coup if he doesn't do this? Baffling.


I suspect the only way this is a shift in policy is that the White House is *announcing* the deployment of US special operators to Syria. Usually they don't announce special ops' comings and goings until after they've gone.

Peter G

It would probably take more than a single incident to draw the US into such a conflict. But I question the logic that says this is what ISIS or Russia or Iran or any of the plethora of interested adversaries wants to draw the US into a larger conflict. The people with the most vested interest in doing this would be US allies like Saudi Arabia who would rather you fight their battles for them. It's easy to remember your losses from decades of conflict. But the other guys do too and the ratio of casualties were very markedly in your favor. That ISIS is anxious to engage the US in a larger conflict that will ultimately result in most of ISIS being very dead I do not buy. What I see is almost certainly ground based intelligence gathering and ground based targeting ability that cannot be trusted to surrogates or local 'allies'. (See dead Doctors Without Borders) It's a force multiplier for air power which isn't much use unless you know exactly what you propose to strike. This is not an area where you can send CIA agents alone to gather intelligence.


It makes sense. It is very plausible that US special ops are in Kurdish-controlled territory.

US Special forces and Kurdish forces are collaborating. See the rescue of prisonners of ISIS in Iraq.


What you say makes sense, Peter. Except that ISIS is essentially an apocalyptic, Salafist sect of unorthodox Islam. According to their worldview, they are supposed to be all but destroyed in battle before the few survivors head to Jerusalem and usher in the end. None of it makes any sense, even to orthodox Muslims, let alone to the West.

David & Son of Duff

"Either way, it was first-rate duplicity, which is what all WH press secretaries practice. "

Er, no, it's what all presidents do!


I also agree. The announcement blunts Republicans' inevitable leak and spin that Obama is going back on his word. Special Operations forces are not combat troops, and we already knew they've been working with the Kurds.


You're being a bit reductive, David. Duplicity is in the job description of all politicians across the planet.

On that point, your Mr. Blair was on our news outlets last week taking partial responsibility for the mess in the Middle East via the Iraq invasion. Maybe some politicians are able to rediscover truth once they're out of the business.


The Republicans' main concern seems to be the response is puny. Juan Cole thinks the announcement is a warning to Turkey to quit bombing the Kurds, which makes more sense.

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