Operation Richard Simmons: The Air Campaign against ISIS

By Ray Starmann


Since August 8, 2014, the public has been privy to the endless Pentagon briefings about Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition air campaign against ISIS or ISIL or whatever they’re called this week. Just think the Manson Family with turbans and a lot of “liberated” weaponry.

I just have one question for the Pentagon. What air campaign?

Since August, 2014, the coalition, consisting of the usual suspects: the US, UK, France, Canada and Jordan, has conducted a whopping 6,097 sorties. A sortie meaning one plane on one mission, there and back. On the first night of Desert Storm, the US military flew 3,000 sorties and during the 44 day war, flew on average, 800-1,000 sorties a day.

Therefore, the US and its partners have flown on average, 25 sorties or missions a day against ISIS.

Whoo…don’t get carried away fellas.

People would argue that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq presented tens of thousands of targets, whereas ISIS is not a target rich environment.

True and false.

True, Saddam had a huge military infrastructure to be destroyed. False, ISIS does provide a target rich environment. We just don’t have the guts to finish the bastards off.

A fish rots from the head. President Obama has never wanted to deal a harsh blow to ISIS. It’s no secret that the man possesses some kind of romantic notion about Islam, the way some Americans feel about cowboys or Robert E. Lee. No doubt he hides under the covers at night, reading Tales of the Arabian Nights with a penlight.

Down the Chain of No Command to General Dempsey. With General Chaos at the helm of the JCS, we get terms referring to the ISIS operation that seem more out of a company’s marketing portfolio: statistical losses, fourth quarter gains, future profits.

Where is a Colin Powell like Chairman who tells the world, “First were going to cut ‘em off and then we’re going to kill ‘em,” in reference to the Iraqi Army. That kind of tough talk is OUT, out in 2015. The Pentagon press spokesman, Rear Admiral Kirby, who has the joviality of Doctor Doolittle and the martial spirit of Mister Rogers, makes it all seem so cutesy; just like those red high heels the Army’s been wearing lately.


We’re a cute military now. We’re kind and politically shackled and soft spoken just like those middle-aged hens NPR hires as announcers; you know, the ones that sound like librarians on your FM dial.

“Hello, ISIS, this is the US military….we’re going to drop some water balloons on you.” Please evacuate the area. Thank you for your cooperation in Operation Inherent Resolve. Funding provided by the American tax payer and the Henry Kissinger Endowment for Endless War.”

Who thought of that title; Inherent Resolve? Once again, it sounds very corporate, very Marketing 101, Madison Avenue-ish. Dempsey and Kirby have been watching too many episodes of Mad Men. They’re not out there pumping up Keebler and Buick. They’re supposed to be talking about killing bad guys, real bad guys; the worst the world has seen since World War II.

Why don’t we just call it Operation Richard Simmons? The whole operation has the ferocity and macho-ness of a Richard Simmons workout video, with Kirby wearing pink leg warmers and yelling, “Blow it out, ISIS” at 50 decibels.

Goodbye Shock and Awe, hello Slap, Scream and Run…

Kirby briefs the world on how many ISIS porta potties we blew up and the fact that as of April 26, 2015, we destroyed 1,330 ISIS fighting positions, meaning we blew up some foxholes. So, we wasted millions of dollars putting a hole inside a hole?

Meanwhile, ISIS is sitting back in their tents, laughing to death and getting pumped up on beheading videos, Baklava and Keurig Green Mountain brew.

What we should be doing to ISIS? We should be bombing them to the gates of hell where they belong. One of the biggest problems with Operation Richard Simmons is that we have yet to terrorize ISIS with bombing the way we terrorized the Iraqis in Desert Storm. Many Desert Storm vets have stories about Iraqi POW’s cowering in fear when they saw American planes fly over. I saw it myself.

ISIS is not cowering in fear. They’re laughing at us.

Instead we should be hammering them with B-52’s. Of course there are more modern aircraft to use, but nothing beats a good B-52 strike to put the fear of God into your enemies. We need to Arc Light ISIS back to the Stone Age.
How about some Daisy Cutters? The BLU-82 does a great job of vaporizing enemy troops; just ask the North Vietnamese and the Iraqis.

Want to burn people alive ISIS? No problem. We can do that too. It’s called NAPALM. How about a little Shake and Bake for you? Some high explosive and white phosphorus will mess up your day.

The list goes on and on.

You would think with the administration’s obsession with the Navy SEALS that we would be conducting direct ops against ISIS night and day. How do I know we’re not doing that much? We’re not hearing about it. If we were, the White House would be faxing Wolf Blitzer as the SEALS were kicking in doors, throwing flash bangs and dragging some ISIS thug away by his sandals and Andrew Weil beard.

Like B-52’s and Daisy Cutters, SOF direct action missions do one thing that pin prick bombing and drone attacks can’t do; they let the tangos know that we’re serious and that given time, we’re probably going to kill every last one of them.

Dempsey should be using the Boys from Bragg to sneak into an ISIS camp in the middle of the night. Leave one ISIS thug alive, the guy on roving guard duty. He can find his buddies in the morning with Colombian Neckties. That’ll drag down morale for a while.

We have the capabilities to do the job. We know it. The world knows it. ISIS knows it. But, as long as we bring a plastic butter knife to a gunfight, ISIS will be free to lay waste to the planet.

What’s needed? A good start is a commander and chief who doesn’t have a secret prayer mat in the White House garage. Also needed are some real warriors running the show and not feather merchants who think that being in the US military is some kind of cool corporate job with a PX card, endless free coffee and occasional world travel.

We need military senior leaders who are going to get up in front of the camera and tell ISIS that we’re going to blow them off the planet.

We need people like Schwarzkopf, Gunfighter Emerson, Barry McCaffrey, Dick Cavazos, David Hackworth and Chuck Yeager running the military. The Dempseys and Kirbys of the world need to out-process and make way for the warriors. They can even use their Class A’s for their new jobs as movie theater ushers.

Until then Operation Richard Simmons will continue with predictable results.

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