As he laid out his strategy to combat the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, President Obama rejected the “best military advice” of his top military commander in the Middle East.This story has legs, and it keeps coming up in circulation - so it is perhaps time to roll it out to the front porch.
Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”
Austin’s recommendation was taken to the White House by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. The White House rejected CENTCOM’s “advise and assist” contingent due to concerns about placing U.S. ground forces in a frontline role.
OK kiddy-poos, mark your calendar; this is where 'ole Sal comes to the defense of President Obama.
Here is the bottom line up front; he is the Commander in Chief. He was elected to this position and is trusted by the American people to make the call as he feels he should. He is not a rubber stamp on the uniformed leadership or the errand-boy of Congress.
From Abraham Lincoln (TDY), to George W. Bush (PBUH), Presidents have had to make the military call in opposition to what in hindsight was the wrong military advice.
I remember like it was yesterday;
Against the advice of both the ISG and the Joint Chiefs, he embraced a proposal to increase temporarily the number of American troops in Iraq to tamp down the violence. The decision marked his single hands-on intervention in the direction of the conflict.In so far as the President has made a call that may or may not be at odds with the senior uniformed leadership; back off folks. He is well within his charter to do so.
The key will be if he is right or if he is wrong. History will decide that - and as we are trained to do, the military leadership whether they agree or not will do their best to make his decision a success. Also remember, if the senior leadership was always right, then we wouldn't have blueberry NWU and an all light attack airwing.
Critize the substance of the decision if you like, I will; but don't criticize his right - indeed his obligation - to make the call he did. If he is wrong, well, in the end it is really the American people's fault, they voted for him twice. Either way, the Republic will survive.