If you believed America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, was coming to an end, be advised: It is not.
Departing U.S. commander Gen. John Campbell says there will need to be U.S. boots on the ground “for years to come.” Making good on President Obama’s commitment to remove all U.S. forces by next January, said Campbell, “would put the whole mission at risk.”
“Afghanistan has not achieved an enduring level of security and stability that justifies a reduction of our support. … 2016 could be no better and possibly worse than 2015.”
Translation: A U.S. withdrawal would risk a Taliban takeover with Kabul becoming the new Saigon and our Afghan friends massacred.
Fifteen years in, and we are stuck.
Nor is America about to end the next longest war in its history: Iraq. Defense Secretary Ash Carter plans to send units of the 101st Airborne back to Iraq to join the 4,000 Americans now fighting there,
“ISIS is cancer,” says Carter. After we cut out the “parent tumor” in Mosul and Raqqa, we will go after the smaller tumors across the Islamic world.
When can Mosul be retaken? “Certainly not this year,” says the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart.
Vladimir Putin’s plunge into the Syrian civil war with air power appears to have turned the tide in favor of Bashar Assad.
The “moderate” rebels are being driven out of Aleppo and tens of thousands of refugees are streaming toward the Turkish border.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is said to be enraged with the U.S. for collaborating with Syrian Kurds against ISIS and with Obama’s failure to follow through on his dictate — “Assad must go!”
There is thus no end in sight to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, nor to the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen, where ISIS and al-Qaida have re-arisen in the chaos.
Indeed, the West is mulling over military intervention in Libya to crush ISIS there and halt the refugee flood into Europe.
Yet, despite America’s being tied down in wars from the Maghreb to Afghanistan, not one of these wars were among the three greatest threats identified last summer by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs. (continue reading)