The Grenada Syndrome
A little over 30 years ago, the US invaded (put feet on the ground) a tiny Caribbean country and placed a notch on its belt. Grenada, the object this invasion, help restore US military (and government domestic policy) confidence following the humiliating bombing of a Lebanon hotel housing over 200 marines. Sometimes using military force on clearly smaller and less able countries serves a greater purpose. Hmmm.
The US has now begun using air superiority to punish ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. So far the going has been relatively easy. There have been several missions which our leaders label as “successes”. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Given the Sunday talk shows and the CBS “60 Minutes” interview with President Obama, early successes do not seem to be enough. There is almost a visceral sense that the US needs to put “feet on the ground”. While no one says it, this groundswell for “feet on the ground” is really about putting other Americans’ sons and daughters in harms way. Why?
The most prominent argument is that if the US does not kill ISIS in Iraq and Syria, they will kill Americans here in the US. Hmmm. Pretty scary, wouldn’t you say?
Hand guns kill about 50,000 Americans each year and automobile accidents take another 30,000. Are senior Government officials thinking that the ISIS threat will rival these two controllable cause?
Let’s suppose our leaders are worried about ISIS staging a US land attack with a kill of multiple thousands. Why do we think ISIS would be successful and not one of a dozen other terrorist groups and/or dysfunctional States also out on the world stage?
Said differently, if ISIS is defeated, why shouldn’t we expect some other group to take their place and pose the same type of threat?
With national politics favoring a “Grenada Syndrome” response, its is very important for the President to resist and think clearly. President Obama needs to play the greater game of how the US can best coexist in a world of “haves” and “have nots”, where the “have nots” are willing to act irrationally.
The President, most importantly must remember that the Middle East in not the only game in town, and probably not even the most important.