Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, counsels against deep American involvement in Iraq against Daesh. Would the Republican candidates acknowledge his wisdom? Unlikely at best. The notion America has the answer is too overwhelming to resist for the peanut gallery. Fire, ready, aim! Their ambivalence about the current office holder who can do nothing right is matched with a disinclination to learn anything from our decade plus adventure in nation building.
In the homestretch of a 41-year U.S. Army career shaped by war and the scars of war, Gen. Martin Dempsey sounds unconvinced that Iraq has found its path to lasting victory over the Islamic State group.
But neither does the top military adviser to President Barack Obama say the threats to Iraq today justify sending American ground troops back into combat.
He counsels patience, for now.
Give the Iraqis more time to heal their internal divisions and fight their own battles. Resist the temptation to grab control of the contest against the Islamic State group. An enduring victory will take more than military might; it will require a unified Iraq supported by neighbors.