Several American Iraq War veterans are now volunteering to help Kurdish militias in northern Iraq in their battle against Islamic State, Al Jazeerah reported.
One of the US Vets spoke with Al Jazeerah. He said that volunteering in the war against Islamic State was “the right thing to do”. He said that he saw “the beheadings and the slave trade in the news” and decided to “found a group that helped to facilitate the travel of Westerners” to the front in Iraq, where they now fight against Islamic State.
The US Vets bring with them their battle experience, but they do not have the weapons to combat Islamic State effectively.
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One of them said that the weapons they use are fit for “urban warfare.” They joined Kurdish forces because “the Iraqi government doesn’t want foreign boots on the ground,” Al Jazeerah reported.
The American volunteers told Al Jazeerah that their presence in Kurdistan is a message to the US government that ground forces are needed in the battle against Islamic State.
Former US President George W. Bush had the same message for the Obama administration. In an interview with the Israeli Daily Israel Hayom, Bush said that he had decided not to criticize his successors but made clear that in the current war against Islamic State, the U.S. needs “boots on the ground.”
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“The temptation is to try to rewrite history or to make yourself look good by criticizing someone else. I think that is a mistake. I don’t think that is what leadership is all about. I know how hard the job is. I didn’t like it when former leaders criticized me when I was president. Some did, so I decided not to do the same,” Bush said.
He then said the following when he was asked if it was possible to defeat ISIS without boots on the ground:
The president will have to make that determination. My position was that you need to have boots on the ground. As you know, I made a very difficult decision. A fair number of people in our country were saying that it was impossible to defeat al-Qaida — which is ISIS as far as I am concerned. They said I must get out of Iraq. But I chose the opposite — I sent 30,000 more troops as opposed to 30,000 fewer. I think history will show that al-Qaida in Iraq was defeated. And so I chose the path of boots on the ground. We will see whether or not our government adjusts to the realities on the ground.
On Sunday, Brett McGurk, U.S. envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, said that the threat posed by Islamic State is unprecedented. McGurk told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press: “We have to get a handle on this. This is a real threat to the United States.”
His remarks came after President Obama decided to send an additional 450 military advisors to Iraq to train Iraqi forces–and after the New York Times revealed an internal State Department assessment that said the Islamic State is winning the “message war.”
An internal State Department assessment paints a dismal picture of the efforts by the Obama administration and its foreign allies to combat the Islamic State’s message machine, portraying a fractured coalition that cannot get its own message straight.
The assessment comes months after the State Department signaled that it was planning to energize its social media campaign against the militant group. It concludes, however, that the Islamic State’s violent narrative – promulgated through thousands of messages each day – has effectively “trumped” the efforts of some of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced nations.
The State Department assessment contradicts what former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed less than a month ago. As Western Journalism reported at the time, Pelosi said that the fight against ISIS on social media had “really been making some progress.”
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In fact, the only forces who are really making progress in the fight against Islamic State are the Kurdish militias. After they drove out Islamic State from the strategic Syrian city of Kobani in January this year, the Kurds are now poised to take over the Syrian city of Tal Abyad from Islamic State.This despite the fact that the West refuses to supply the Kurds with heavy weapons.
Update: One of the Americans fighting with the Kurds against Islamic State in northern Iraq died in battle on June 10th, the Examiner reported:
Keith Broomfield had such a strong commitment to defend those being persecuted for their Christian faith, as well as protecting the innocence of Kurdish women and children, that on Feb. 24 under the nom de guerre Gelhat Rumet, he joined the People’s Protection Units known as the YPG even though he had no previous military training. The YPG are the main Kurdish guerrillas battling the Islamic State group in Syria. Broomfield is believed to be the first U.S. citizen to die fighting alongside Kurdish forces against ISIS. The Merced Sun-Star reported Sunday that according to the family, Broomfield felt compelled to fight against what he considered “evil.”
Friday the L.A. Times stated that several month ago, Broomfield, a plant manager at his family’s Bolton-based business, Broomfield Labs Inc., informed shocked relatives that he had decided to join the fight against Islamic State. He didn’t know anyone in Syria or Iraq and had no battlefield experience, but he was appalled by the brutality he saw the Islamist militants inflicting on fellow Christians and other religious minorities.”
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