Boots on the ground

Conservatives are gleefully pointing out the facts regarding State Department spokesman John Kirby’s heated exchange aboutObama’s use of the term “boots on the ground” in Syria.  Fact checkers are analyzing.  Even that liberal rag the USA Today took Obama to task with the article 16 times Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria.  

But please let’s not get too hasty about calling out the administration for their bumbling of this one.

Why?  Why would we not want to point out a very striking issue with truth vs. reality?

This president is an arrogant Lecturer-in-Chief, that’s why.

He could give a crap about whether Fox News calls him out on something, but when his go-to media lapdogs start turning on him, the next step is a lecture.

He will no doubt call a press conference or use a speech where he takes that arrogant tone of superiority while he tells us what “boots on the ground” means and how everyone in his administration understands this because of his brilliant tutelage; and if we were only as wise and enlightened as he is we would all understand that.  Now go about your business.

And I just don’t think I can stand to listen to another one of those.

Politifact points out Ted Bromund’s explanation that “boots on the ground” carries the caveat of not counting the boots on the ground that the politician wants or needs – those don’t count:

“Politicians who say there will be ‘no boots on the ground’ usually attach a caveat, and if they don’t do so verbally, they seem to attach it mentally,” said Ted Bromund, senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The caveat is that forces that the politician wishes to employ don’t count as boots on the ground — which lets them use advisers, special forces, base protection, air power, logistics and supply, and so on to their heart’s content.”

I’ve long argued a similar point.  When politicians say there will be no boots on the ground, they are generally speaking to an audience who does not know or understand how military operations work.  When we take on an air war against ground targets, who exactly do you think is doing the target acquisition and post sortie analysis?

Any time the United States takes on a military operation – even if that is just a support role – it requires boots on the ground.

Did the president lie?  I’m not sure I’d take it that far – he definitely screwed up in making sure all parties in the administration knew the talking points.  But this one is so obvious that everyone knows it.  I’m hoping we can avoid the lecture.