For John, BLUF: We should ask ourselves if an active foreign policy includes being willing to station forces overseas. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From ABC we have an interview of former Army Officer, Dr John Nagl, by Ms Eleanor Hall. Dr Nagl is the headmaster of The Haverfield School and author of several books. He is the acknowledged co-author of Army (and Marine Corps) Field Manual 3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies.
The headline is "Former US military advisor says Obama to blame for failing to deal with Islamic State". The dateline is Tuesday, 17 March 2015 at 12:52:00.
Here is an excerpt:
ELEANOR HALL: The US president has made it clear though that he won't deploy more troops, the US public also appears to have no stomach for it.Besides more printed material on the web page, there is also a link for audio.
I mean, how long would they have to remain if you did put the 15,000 in and indeed how long would it take to defeat IS then in Syria?
JOHN NAGL: Let me push back hard on you if I may, the American public doesn't particularly care, given that the United States has an all-volunteer army, and so the American president has extraordinary freedom of action to deploy American troops whenever and wherever he or she wishes to do so.
It is discomfort by this president with another war in Iraq, a war that at some level he has to acknowledge happened on his watch and because of mistakes he made during his administration.
I personally believe that the United States should maintain a long term security and advisory presence in Iraq of some 20,000 troops; we should keep those troops in Iraq roughly as long as we've kept American troops in Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
So more than half a century, yes.
The two key points I took from this excerpt are:
- The "All Volunteer" force gives the President (and Congress) greater freedom in committing US military forces to small conflicts (small meaning no major mobilization required).
- If we want things to go smoothly for some time after we intervene in this or that nation we need to plan on staying there a while. The Obama Administration has, up to this point, believed that the situation will improve if we pull out American military forces. Dr Nagl sees it as the other way around.