Tag Archives: air strikes

Hoping ISIS leader is a goner … finally!

The Russian government usually isn’t to be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

The country’s foreign ministry, though, has put out a tantalizing morsel: Russian air strikes might this past month have killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Before we get all a-flutter over this possibility, it’s good to ponder some elements that ought to keep us grounded.

Is the terrorist really dead?

Al-Baghdadi’s death would not mean the end of ISIS. It opens the door for another madman to step forward to take his place.

You might recall that when U.S. special forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, there was dancing in front of the White House and chants of “USA! USA! USA!” Sure, we got the 9/11 mastermind, but the fight against al-Qaeda goes on.

There also have been earlier claims of al-Baghdadi’s death. The Russians have been hitting ISIS targets in Syria with air strikes and ground-based artillery. Are the Russians to be believed now? Do we hold out hope that they actually got this monstrous madman? Furthermore, are the Russians to be believed?

I guess I could remind all of us that terrorism doesn’t exist within the ranks of international organizations. “Lone wolf” terrorists lurk among us. They skulk out from under rocks. Latest example? The guy who shot the Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game, wounding several people, including the House GOP whip, Steve Scalise.

I am going to hope the Russian claim that they might have killed al-Baghdadi. I am going to retain the realism of the fight in which we are engaged against terror. The fight likely never will end.

No ‘eye for an eye’ exchange here


I got scolded the other day for a blog I posted commenting on the drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour.

The fellow who scolded me said the U.S. air strike against the terrorist leader gives cause to continue the fighting.

Someone has to stop it, the individual seemed to imply. Thus, the implied question was: Why not us?

Many of those who read High Plains Blogger — and I am grateful beyond measure for those who do — likely think of me as a squishy liberal, a softy who wants to talk everything through.

When it comes to our war against international terror, I take a back seat to no one in the continuing prosecution of that effort. No, I don’t want us to send combat troops back onto the battlefield. I fully support the air strikes we’ve been launching against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

My critic wondered whether we were engaging in an “eye-for-an-eye” type of response.

My view simply is this: The terrorists are targeting innocent victims, mostly fellow Muslims; we are killing the killers.

I see zero compatibility between what the terrorists are doing and what we are doing in response.

Keep the aircraft armed and on the hunt for the bad guys. We’ve got a lot more of them to kill.


Allies tighten ties against Islamic State


France and Russia are allies with a common enemy.

It’s the Islamic State.

The two nations’ presidents — Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin — have agreed to tighten their alliance in the shared fight against the monstrous terrorist cabal.

Wait, though, for critics of President Obama to weigh in. They’ll wonder aloud: Why isn’t Barack Obama in the lead?

What difference does it really make?

France and Russia have skin in this game. The Russians lost more than 200 of their citizens when a bomb exploded on a jetliner; ISIS took responsibility for the deed. Then came the Paris attacks that killed 130 victims; ISIS took responsibility for that deed, too.

Hollande and Putin agreed to share intelligence and¬†to intensify their air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. As the Associated Press reports: “We agreed on a very important issue: To strike the terrorists only, Daesh and the jihadi groups only, and not to strike the forces and the groups that are fighting against the terrorists,” Hollande said after the meeting, referring to IS by its Arabic acronym. “And we are going to exchange some information about that: what can be struck, and what must not be struck.”

Both countries employ significant military assets. Let us welcome them more fully into this fight.

As for the United States, there’s plenty of pressure being applied for our president to kick our own immense military establishment into an even more active role in the war against ISIS.

My bigger hope, though, is that President Obama is continuing to seek out more allied help — from the rest of the European Union and friendly Middle East countries that more than any other ought to want to destroy ISIS.

For now, I see nothing at all wrong with France and Russia locking arms in this mortal combat.


War of attrition under way against ISIL

Let’s call it a war of attrition.

A deputy defense secretary says the air strikes against the Islamic State have killed an estimated 10,000 ISIL fighters. Or, if the numbers calculating the actual strength of the terrorist outfit, about one-third of the fighting force has been killed.


Does this mean we’re winning the war?

Let me remind us all of what happened in Vietnam. American forces killed many times more enemy fighters than were lost on our side. The Vietnam War claimed about 58,000 American lives and as many as 10 times that number of Vietnamese.

Who won the war?

Well, we vacated the battlefield in 1973 and two years later, the North Vietnamese stormed into Saigon, renamed the city after Ho Chi Minh … and declared victory.

What the body count signifies in the war against the Islamic State, though, is the importance of keeping the pressure on the terrorists. We cannot let up. We cannot stop bombing them — with drones, manned aircraft … whatever it takes.

Yes, ISIL continues to recruit fighters worldwide. Also, ISIL is making advances here and there in Iraq.

However, I happen to believe that a concentrated, focused air campaign can defeat this monstrous enemy.

Will that signal the end of the worldwide terrorist threat? Hardly. As long as there are zealots living and breathing anywhere on Earth, there will be a terrorist threat.

There’s been some debate in the Pentagon about whether the body count number is relevant, given¬†what happened to that formula during the Vietnam War.

I’ll continue to hold out hope that the more of these¬†guys¬†our side kills, the fewer of them will¬†be available for recruitment.

Bombs away!

Kayla Mueller: another ISIL victim

It now appears that Kayla Jean Mueller has died as a result of an air strike by Jordan air force fighter jets.

The Prescott, Ariz., aid worker died while being held captive by Islamic State terrorists, which in my mind makes her a victim of the monsters who kept her in bondage.


Mueller’s family¬†confirmed the young woman’s death in a statement released today.

The fight must go on.

Mueller’s death now becomes another rallying cry for the good guys seeking to destroy ISIL and end its campaign of brutality against the world.

She was doing good work, trying to lend aid and comfort to those who were suffering in Syria. ISIL captured her and no doubt subjected her to unspeakable horror.

The Jordanians — enraged at the ghastly immolation death of that young fighter pilot — have stepped up their air strikes against ISIL targets, becoming more fully involved in the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. We should welcome Jordan’s participation in this effort.

Yes, it comes at a terrible cost. The fight must continue. “No matter how long it takes,” President Obama said, “the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

Kayla Mueller’s tragic end is on the hands of the terrorists.


3 ISIL leaders killed; keep killing more of them

The news today that U.S. air strikes have killed three key Islamic State leaders cheered me a little.

Then reality set in almost immediately: There will be others to step in to replace these murderous monsters.


The White House and the Pentagon couldn’t confirm until recently that the three ISIL leaders had been killed by American pilots. The news is good, to be sure. Pentagon officials say the deaths of these three individuals has “degraded” ISIL’s command and control capability. “We believe that the loss of these key leaders degrades ISIL’s ability to command and control current operations against Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish and other local forces in Iraq,”¬†Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby¬†said.

OK, so what now?

Well, we keep launching air strikes and we keep killing the leaders of this terrorist cabal.

As we’ve learned in the fight against al-Qaeda, killing key leaders doesn’t mean the end of a group’s ability to function. We killed Osama bin Laden, but al-Qaeda lives on.

ISIL won’t die a quick death. It will require continued vigilance and diligence on our part to ensure that the terrorists remain “degraded.” Then we must destroy them.


ISIL cannot 'hide' these jets

The great heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis once said of challenger Billy Conn, who nearly beat the Brown Bomber in a classic 1941 title fight, “They can run but they can’t hide.”

He referred to Conn’s boxing ability that enabled him to stay¬†away from Louis’s big punches for 12 rounds. Then Conn got cocky, decided to trade punches with Louis, and got knocked out in the 13th round.

Sports can intersect occasionally with world events, so it is with that segue that I mention a word about Islamic State fighters reportedly obtaining possession of obsolete MiG fighter jets. ISIL pilots are being trained to fly MiG 21 and 23 aircraft.


Will they turn the tide against the U.S.-led coalition that is conducting air strikes against ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq? Not a chance, according to military observers.

The question then becomes: Where will ISIL seek to hide these aircraft?

The terrorists will be unable to keep the planes away from the gaze of airborne or space-based surveillance equipment.

U.S. aviators are flying state-of-the-art high-performance jets with unmatched skill and expertise. Same can be said for our French, Australian, British, Canadian, Saudi and Jordanian allies. The ISIL “air force” is being cobbled together by former Iraqi air force pilots who reportedly are training the terrorists in using the MiGs.

Yes, the planes captured by ISIL ground forces, represent something of a moral victory for the terrorist organization.

However, let us not be duped into thinking the old aircraft pose an immediate serious threat to the air campaign.

Still, I am hopeful we’ll be able to find the planes stashed away somewhere. Then we must hit them hard.

Time for a strategy, Mr. President

President Obama made a startling acknowledgment today while talking about a range of issues.

He said the United States does not yet have a strategy to deal with ISIL.


Well, there you have it. It’s time to craft a strategy, Mr. President, to combat an organization that does present a serious threat that extends far beyond the region it is seeking to control.

ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is a seriously evil organization capable of doing anything — and I mean anything — to make whatever point it seeks to make.

They’ve beheaded an American journalist, threatened to strike the United States, and vowed to wage all-out war on non-Sunni Muslims, Jews and Christians.

I’m of the view that the president needs to develop a comprehensive strategy immediately and to implement whatever it takes to take ISIL out.

Are we going back into Iraq with ground troops? Obama says no. I hope he means what he says. Count me as one American who’s become war-weary in the extreme. Are we going to send troops into Syria? By all means no. What we have in Syria is a battle between forces that are anathema to our national and international interests. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is hardly better than the ISIL forces seeking to topple him.

ISIL needs to be the target, Mr. President.

I appreciated today hearing you acknowledge the lack of a strategy. Now, though, is time to assemble that national security team to develop one. Now.


U.S. responds correctly to ISIS threat

The Sunni extremists seeking to overrun Iraq have executed an American journalist, released video of his gruesome death and threatened to do the same thing to others until the United States stops its air strikes against military targets in Iraq.

The U.S. response? More air strikes.

It is absolutely the correct response to this hideous threat.


James Foley had been held for two years by ISIS terrorists before reportedly being beheaded by his captors. Foley has been saluted and eulogized as a courage chronicler of events in the Middle East who’s paid the ultimate price for doing his duty as a journalist.

ISIS has been characterized by experts as an organization far worse than al-Qaeda — and Americans know first hand what kind of outfit al-Qaeda has become.

ISIS’s advance on Iraqi installations and its assault on people needs to stopped. That is why President Obama has ordered the air strikes that reportedly have done grave damage to the group’s military capabilities.

For as long as ISIS continues to threaten to do harm to Americans and innocent Iraqis — namely Christians — then the United States has an obligation to protect these interests. We have paid too much in our own blood and money to let ISIS run rampant in Iraq. Obama says our nation’s ground combat role in Iraq is over, but the aerial campaign — along with the humanitarian effort to aid Yazidis and Kurds — is worth pursuing in an effort to pound ISIS into oblivion.

If ISIS responds with another execution, well, then the attacks should increase in ferocity.

'Go' on air strikes … but with caution

Count me as one American who supports the air strikes against ISIS terrorists in Iraq.

Also, count me as one who is concerned about the potential for falling down that proverbial slippery slope.


President Obama’s decision to strike military targets in northern Iraq is necessary to protect Iraqis and Americans against ISIS, a group known to be far worse than al-Qaeda. The strikes are intended to destroy military installations, munitions and, of course, actual terrorists.

Let’s hope they do their job.

It’s the possible “what’s next” that gives me concern.

The president says Americans aren’t going to re-enter the battlefield against those seeking to destroy the Iraqi government. I’ll take him at his word.

It is absolutely clear that Americans no longer want to fight the Iraq war, which was launched in March 2003 on information regarding weapons of mass destruction that proved to be totally bogus. It lasted nearly a decade, costing billions of dollars and thousands of Americans casualties.

So, it is with some concern about the future that brings this particular statement of support for the attack from the air.

Please, Mr. President, do not resume the fight on the ground.