The U.S. has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria since September. The results? A map in The Wall Street Journal tells the tale:
The U.S. has the world’s most powerful air force, so how can this be so? Well for one thing, as we have pointed out, “airstrikes” is a general term—the actual number of bombs we have been dropping is historically small in number. For another, we gave the enemy plenty of warning we were coming. As the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war demonstrated, a ground force can survive in the face of overwhelming air power if it has time to dig in first.But above all, we have no ground troops in Syria with which we are coordinating to press the attack. In Iraq, we have been successful in driving back ISIS in combined-arms efforts coordinated with ground troops. But in Syria, the Administration has no allies that it feels it can work with. While thought of cooperation with the Assad regime is repulsive, we are also reluctant to take them out because of our ongoing attempts to make nice with Iran. That demolishes a lot of our credibility with the few forces that are anti-regime but not Islamists, and our plans to build our own local support are years away from fruition.In Iraq, we have a plan, and slowly but surely it seems to be working. In Syria, we’re adrift. And as the old adage has it, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.