- - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As the Pentagon gears up to fight back against the Islamic State, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has warned that Islamists are capable of great terrorism — but the United States is no longer capable of waging two wars simultaneously.

Increasingly, we are vulnerable to cyberthreats from Russia and China. We are down to fewer than 1,500 working nuclear warheads. We are losing our naval superiority in the Pacific, slashing our Army’s strength to its lowest number since 1940 and reducing our Air Force to its lowest strength ever. We are also eliminating countless warships, aircraft and weapon systems.

On the other hand, Islamic State forces have 80,000 jihadists, high morale, oil wells and refineries, much money and sophisticated Russian and captured U.S. weapons. President Obama, some senators say, is slow in sending arms to the Kurds, our second-best ally after Israel. U.S. airstrikes should be 200 per day and not just “pinpricks,” say some members of Congress.

The president gave the Islamic State a tactical advantage by announcing no U.S. boots on the ground. The U.S. special operations raid into Syria was successful, but the Obama administration blew their cover and gave the Islamic State a lesson for the future.

It is wrong to blame the emasculated CIA for reduced early warnings during our withdrawals. We must not underestimate the Islamic State, and we cannot give them free tactical information, continue to dismantle our armed forces or give up our nuclear deterrent. Russian President Vladimir Putin is more emboldened than ever and looking to rebuild the Soviet Union by capturing one nation at a time. Mr. Putin is also blatantly violating arms-control agreements, modernizing his nuclear missiles and building new ones as we are sidelining or destroying ours.

Russian warplanes and both Russian and Chinese warships violate our airspace and coastal areas. Beijing is rapidly building the largest military in the world, seeking superiority on land, in the air and on the seas, and in cyberspace. Just this month, China harassed a U.S. patrol aircraft, and Russian aircraft violated U.S. airspace more than a dozen times.

As stated by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, America must put together a broader international campaign taking the fight beyond Iraq. All free nations have an obligation to denounce and resist the extremists who kill and subjugate in the name of Allah.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

U.S. Marines (retired)

Arlington

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