MESOP TODAY’S SHORT CUT OPINION BY ROBERT GATES: Robert Gates: Destroying ISIL ‘Unrealistic’ and ‘Unattainable’

By Trevor Eischen –POLITICO COM – 2015-02-03 – President Barack Obama’s goal to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is “unrealistic” and “unattainable,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the former Pentagon chief under both Obama and President George W. Bush said U.S. forces should should not focus entirely on eradicating the terrorist group but should create an operation that contains the spread of ISIL militants and “denies them the ability to hang onto territory.””The president has set an ambitious and, I think under current circumstances, an unrealistic goal when he talks about our intent being to destroy ISIS,” Gates said. “With the means he has approved so far, I think that’s an unattainable objective.”And, he said, special forces will be needed in Iraq and Syria to assist with the airstrikes that are being conducted by the U.S. and its allies. A “re-invasion of Iraq with large ground forces is a false set of options,” Gates said, but “a few hundred troops” should be stationed in the region.