Time to rethink strategy against IS forces

For weeks we have warned that feeding U.S. troops into Iraq and Syria in relatively small units risks a massacre of them by Islamic State terrorists. A U.S. Navy SEAL died this week in what may have been an attempt to do just that.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating was killed in a fight north of Mosul, Iraq, the Pentagon revealed. He was part of a quick-reaction rescue team sent to extricate a group of American advisers caught in a massive assault by IS forces.

U.S. officials say the advisers went to Teleskof, near Mosul, to meet Kurdish peshmerga troops who have been fighting the Islamic State. Once the Americans arrived, IS?forces launched what is being described as a massive, well-planned attack that included armored vehicles. Keating and others in the quick-reaction force were dispatched in what proved to be a successful rescue of the advisers – but that required a major air assault including U.S. B-52 bombers.

What happened? Why were IS forces ready with an attack just after the U.S. advisers arrived?

Was it an ambush of the type against which we have warned?

U.S. officials should rethink our strategy against the Islamic State. What happened this week may have been a narrow escape from a strategy the terrorists may continue to pursue. They may be successful the next time they stage an ambush.

IS leaders understand that – whether President Barack Obama does or not.