If we want to destroy ISIS, we can destroy ISIS. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but I want to state it anyway. Why? Because I am not hearing it enough.
I’m certainly not hearing it from the White House, where the original goal of destruction is barely mentioned. President Obama is listless. He’s also petulant, pointing political fingers at Republicans. But he doesn’t have a trace of a coherent policy to destroy ISIS. Not a trace.
This is from General Jack Keane, in his recent congressional testimony: “Having the best security defensive system in America is not sufficient; we must have as good an offense to stop and defeat ISIS. We do not. We are not even close.”
But very few people are talking about destroying ISIS. Destroy. Putting a hard and intense edge on it. Repeating it.
Some in the Republican party and on the campaign trail are saying it. But not enough. Not repeatedly. Not so as to boost the morale of the country.
We need determination. We need to be unflinching. We need to be focused on the goal of destroying ISIS.
We are at war. Our homeland is in danger. Yes, the moratorium on Syrian refugees must be in place. That’s easy. But what’s not easy is coming up with a coherent plan for destroying ISIS and telling America, “We can do this.” That is leadership.
It may not be exactly comparable to President Ronald Reagan’s often-repeated goal of defeating Soviet communism, and his message that, Yes, we can do it. But now is the time for our leaders to say we can destroy ISIS.
I am not a military strategist. What I am trying to propose here is a message, with urgency, that is vital to the leadership equation. If the White House won’t do it, then other leaders must.
It’s a week after the horrific Paris terror attacks, but basically the U.S. has changed nothing. How can this be?
Why hasn’t the president called for an emergency meeting of NATO where we would join brave French President Francois Hollande on declaring war with ISIS? Why haven’t we done this? If the president won’t, then Congress should.
And why have we not called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to get a war resolution through immediately?
And why hasn’t Congress already passed a new authorization for the use of military force?
And why have we not called an emergency conference of our Arab allies in the Middle East, to declare war and organize a campaign to destroy ISIS?
While we wait, ISIS is expanding its franchises in Egypt, North Africa, and Nigeria. And ISIS has certainly shown increased striking ability after shooting down a Russian plane, bombing in Lebanon, and unleashing the bloody Paris attacks.
I would venture that, as long as ISIS has the real estate and territory and relative safety to operate in, it will organize, plan, and execute much more of this mayhem.
Take it away from them. Destroy ISIS.
We need to bring in Europe. Bring in our Arab allies — and give Baghdad the resources to retake Iraqi territory. And as tough as it may be, America must lead. Only America can create a grand coalition to win this war.
Of course, the air bombing has to be expanded substantially. We need to expand the rules of engagement, lift all restrictions, and accept the fact that in this war there will be collateral damage.
And adding troops on the ground is a necessity. General Keane suggests a tripling, which would bring U.S. forces to about 10,000.
ISIS can only be destroyed by air and ground attacks. And a recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that a full 60 percent of Americans favor additional ground forces.
So I say to the GOP candidates, go ahead and say it. Air and ground attacks, along with other collation forces. Ditto for the congressional leadership. Outflank the White House. The public is behind this because the public wants to destroy ISIS.
There are a million difficult issues, both tactical and strategic, in this military campaign. But the American military is the best in the world. Unleash them. Destroy ISIS. Working with our allies, we will save the American homeland, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia from this evil.
This is war. Let’s rally the country, and our friends overseas. Our friends, once again, will respect us. And finally, ISIS will fear us.
Most of all the message must be clear: We are not a helpless giant. We can do this. We’ve done it before. We can do it again.
If we want to destroy ISIS, then we can destroy ISIS.
Commentary by Larry Kudlow, a senior contributor at CNBC and economics editor of the National Review. Follow him on Twitter @Larry_Kudlow.
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