The Corner

In Other News, We Now Have Boots on the Ground in Libya and Somalia

American special forces called in airstrikes from concealed positions in Somalia yesterday:

U.S. Special Operations called in an airstrike on Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia Thursday when a mission to help Ugandan forces the American troops were accompanying turned into an unexpected battle.

The incident occurred west of Mogadishu, according to U.S. military officials familiar with reports from the scene. No U.S. troops were wounded in what quickly turned into a firefight between Ugandan forces and Al-Shabaab militants.

Meanwhile, in Libya:

American Special Operations troops have been stationed at two outposts in eastern and western Libya since late 2015, tasked with lining up local partners in advance of a possible offensive against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

Two teams totaling fewer than 25 troops are operating from around the cities of Misurata and Benghazi to identify potential ­allies among local armed factions and gather intelligence on threats, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive mission overseas.

So by my count we’ve got boots on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. I know that Obama is fond of arguing that the terrorist threat is less dangerous than your own bathtub, but I don’t recall the porcelain menace requiring this level of force in response.

Make no mistake, I’m pleased that we’re engaging jihadists and at least making plans to roll back ISIS’s most dramatic gains, but by continuing to minimize the threat even as he escalates his military response, he is leaving the American people unprepared for the long struggle to come and leaving his successor to fight the truly big battles. Obama isn’t the peace president. He’s the man who squandered victory in Iraq and left a legacy of broader conflict and greater human misery. Hope and change indeed.


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