Magazine May 9, 2016, Issue

Obama’s Endless War

President Obama pledges to lead a broad coalition to fight ISIS, September 10, 2014. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty)
Refusing to prosecute an effective strategy against ISIS only prolongs the suffering.

On September 10, 2014, President Obama pledged to destroy ISIS. Three years earlier, on June 22, 2011, he declared that “the tide of war is receding.” But since he made that claim, more than half a million people have been killed just in Syria and Iraq. Currently, ISIS numbers about 20,000 fighters and controls an area of thousands of square miles in Syria and Iraq populated by roughly 4 million Sunnis.

How, specifically, does the Obama administration plan to destroy ISIS? Here’s an answer from a Pentagon spokesman: “By degrading them in Phase One and then dismantling them in Phase Two,

Bing WestMr. West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine, is a military historian. He has written ten books about our wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the latest of which is The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War.

In This Issue



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The Week

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