Via Daily Beast:
TAMPA, Florida — Fighting simmering frustration in their ranks over ISIS advances in Iraq and Syria, top U.S. special operations commanders say they are building forces for a multi-generational fight—not a war that will be won in the next few years.
“We recognize this is a longterm prospect,” said Gen. Joseph Votel, the overall leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, in remarks to The Daily Beast during a special operations forum in Tampa. “We’re patient.”
“We talk about it being a 15-year struggle,” added Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, who heads the Air Force Special Operations Command, said describing the fight.
But many special operations officers and troops both in Tampa and Washington don’t want to wait that long to take the fight to ISIS. They were eager to talk about their aggravation over fighting by remote in Iraq and Syria: having to advise Iraqis, Kurdish Peshmerga, and rebel Syrian fighters from afar instead of joining them in battle.
“We are doing everything through cellphones… It’s hard to do much when you can’t go outside the wire,” said one special operator, using the military jargon for the perimeter of a base.
They blame the hands-off approach on an Obama administration unwilling to risk even small numbers of American lives in battle, burned by the fallout of the loss of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and intent on preserving the legacy of President Barack Obama’s troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.