Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Time to Crush ISIS

Roger Cohen, writing in the NYT, thinks Obama's slow-motion war on ISIS is not working. Obama clearly believes that the dangers of a more all out attack on ISIS outweigh the advantages, but can this idea be sustained while the casualties in Europe and potentially, the US, pile up? I doubt it.

Even if Obama is right, I doubt that the public will sit still for years more of terror while the Islamic State still exists.

Cohen:

BARCELONA, SPAIN — It is not working. President Obama’s slow-but-steady strategy to defeat the Islamic State is clawing back a little territory in Syria and Iraq but is doing nothing to dent the charismatic appeal of the militant group, disrupt its propaganda or prevent it from killing Europeans...

The dangerous thing about this territory, which the group calls a caliphate, is not so much its oil revenue, or training facilities, or proximity to the West, or control over several million people — it is its magnetic assertion of Sunni jihadi power. The United States and Europe would not have accepted its existence in 2001. They would not have accepted that terrorists in a sanctuary close to a NATO border in Turkey could shut down a European city, as they did again today. But the years since 9/11, with their toll in blood and treasure, have been wearing.

Since the Paris attack, Obama has insisted that an anti-Islamic State coalition with European and other allies is getting the job done. More than 20 percent of the group’s territory has been recaptured. The president has suggested that more radical military action to crush the militants — essentially the deployment of infantry — would drag the United States into another Middle Eastern war and increase the appeal of the Islamic State. His argument has been: Defeating the Islamic State is militarily feasible, but then what?