A path forward in the Middle East


Like many Americans I listened to the President’s speech Sunday night and was left wanting much more. No clear-thinking person believes the President has a winning strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS in the Middle East or to protect Americans at home.

I want the President to change course and defeat Islamic terrorism now; we can’t afford to wait until we have a new Commander-in-Chief. The President has said this is complicated business for three years and he is “working” on it. I suggest it isn’t rocket science and here is a methodology to defeat ISIS over there.

America has to lead in the formulation of a coalition of Arab/Kurd/NATO ground forces to defeat and destroy ISIS. Our President, personally, can not accomplish this task because unfortunately he has lost creditability with our Arab allies and to a lesser extent our NATO allies.

President Obama needs to bring Colin Powell back to government service. Powell was well-liked and respected when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and as Secretary of State both in the United States and in the Arab world. The President should give Powell the task of putting a coalition together and then acting as the conduit between the military leader on the ground and the Administration. What would this coalition look like?

The coalition must be a mix of Arabs, Kurds and NATO. The American contribution would begin with a corps headquarters to command and control. Additionally, America would contribute a heavy division, an armored cavalry regiment and a light infantry brigade. This would include the standard air, artillery and support units that would normally accompany that size force.

Egypt would contribute a mechanized infantry division. Saudi Arabia would contribute a combined arms brigade and the Gulf States and Jordon would contribute enough forces to constitute another brigade. NATO, France and England specifically would provide a combined force of division size or less to round out the coalition.

The Kurds in the north would not be part of the coalition, but would conduct offensive operations that supported coalition goals in northern Iraq and northern Syria. We must better equip the Kurds with the weapons we have been promising them for years. We would imbed Special Forces with the Kurds as well as with the Arab forces.

The bottom line is that a force this size would easily defeat ISIS in a matter of weeks. I believe the American people, who are war wearied, but nevertheless are ready to make this sacrifice to make America and the world freer of the scourge of Islamic terrorism.

Let’s get moving, Mr. President; unpleasant tasks don’t get easier with passage of time. Take charge, Mr. President, and this time mean it.

Kent Kingsley
Milner, Ga.

[Kingsley was a Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland for the District 3 nomination in 2012.]