War Requires a Strategy...Still

Bill Neinast


This is not a broken record.  The needle just cannot get out of the first groove about being at war.

An aggravating part of that groove is the repetition that we are losing because there is no strategy.  Aggravating that lack of strategy is the absence of a Commander-In-Chief in the White House.

This void of a strategy and leadership is reflected in the repeated assertions that  ISIS has been contained and that al Qaeda is no more.

Shortly after the last assertions of “how our strategy is winning,” ISIS conducted a deadly attack in Paris followed within a week by the al Qaeda attack in Mali.

Americans died in both  of those attacks by Muslim Jihadists.

Part of President Obama’s response to these tragedies is to chide his accusers for not suggesting better strategies.

So, Mr. President, here are some suggestions for a strategy from one of those accusers. 

Congress, within its authority under Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, should declare war against terrorists under whatever name or banner and in whatever country they operate.  

Notwithstanding the ample precedents of previous and current conflicts that a country’s sovereignty may be violated when an enemy is within its borders, the declaration should be specific that national borders will be violated whenever and wherever terrorists are found.

When a declaration of war is approved, recruit France to join in reinvigorating Article 5 of the NATO treaty.  This is the so called Collective Defense Article that considers an attack on one member nation to be an attack on all.  All member nations are expected to join in responding to the attack.

This Article was invoked for the first time after 9/11 and, theoretically, is still in effect, but a renewal would not hurt.  A renewal in conjunction with France and Belgium under the current circumstances of multiple simultaneous attacks might bring a more positive response from the other members.

Next, the Security Council of the UN should be asked to begin studies and revisions of the laws of war.  Most of these treaties, customs, and other “laws” were developed to control conventional wars like WWII and Korea of previous centuries. 

There needs to be a study of the use of drones, missiles, and similar unmanned weapons that are currently violating the sovereignty of nations like Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen.  

Also, what is permissible in confronting an enemy using religious structures, historic locations, medical facilities, etc. as bases of operation?  

When a lone terrorist acting under orders of a terrorist organization is captured, should he be treated as an ordinary prisoner under local laws, as a prisoner of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, or as a war criminal to be tried by an international tribunal.

Finally, NATO membership should be offered to the Ukraine with Article 5 protection invoked with its conflict with Russia. 

Although Russia has some politicians believing that it is on our side in Syria, experienced military and foreign affairs officials regard that country under Putin to be a much more serious threat to our security than the various terrorist organizations.

So here’s the perspective.

The probability of adopting any strategy vaguely similar to this outline while President Obama is in office is less than zero.

The current President has no ability as a Commander-In-Chief.  His recent  comments about going slow because he visits wounded soldiers in Walter Reed Hospital and knows that he “put them in harms way” is all the proof needed of the accuracy of this observation. 

For comparison with a real Commander-In-Chief, review the photos and comments of Eisenhower as he was talking to the paratroopers loading their planes on D-Day.

Then prepare to clean up the bodies and blood from terrorist attacks here and around the world for the next 13 months while you listen to the Administration claim that “our strategy” is working, ISIL is contained, ISIS is the JV, and al Qaeda has been decimated. 

Is a new strategy needed?


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