Boots on the ground are the only means by which Islamic State will be ultimately denied its safe havens inside Syria and Iraq. Both feared and favored, boots means young men grinding out military victories and suffering unexpected defeats house by house, street by street in a foreign land far away.
Military planners agree that air campaigns can help contain Islamic State and that intelligence can tip off the world to planned attacks. But there is no cheap, easy or effective way to kill the culprits who are plotting the strategic collapse of civilized society. Boots on the ground are necessary for defeating them where they now freely organize and operate.
The question becomes: Whose boots?
Recent experience shows American boots should be the very last ones to hit the ground in the current fight. France and Russia have just suffered horrendous tragedies, but they should keep their troops off the battlefield, too. A big part of Islamic State’s strategy is to hit the civilized world with high-visibility, horrifying attacks as in Paris and lure foreign fighting forces onto their territory and into their trap. Read more