I guess the first step toward persuading ISIS that they’re a pack of doomed losers staggering around on the “wrong side of history” is to prevent them from wiping out what’s left of the Iraqi government.
According to the BBC, the first American “degrade and ultimately destroy” airstrike took out “an Islamic State fighting position near Baghdad.” How near? Oh, about “25km (15 miles) southwest of Baghdad.”
That’s a pretty close shave, especially since we’re counting on the Iraqi military to handle a third of the fighting against the Islamic State (the other two-thirds coming from the Kurds, and whatever handful of “Syrian moderates” haven’t either allied themselves with al-Qaeda or made peace with ISIS yet.) The Iraqis couldn’t take out an ISIS firing position 15 miles away from Baghdad on their own, but they’re going to roll into the caliphate and kick it right out of the Twenty-First Century?
“Meanwhile, Iraq’s new PM saw his two nominations for defence and interior minister rejected by parliament,” adds the Beeb. I would think getting a defense minister in place ASAP was a priority, before the Iraqi war machine heads north.
At least the Kurds are said to be making progress against ISIS with American help. Thwarting the Islamic State’s expansion by shoring up its local adversaries with a dash of U.S. air power is a necessary first step, but I still don’t see the outlines of anything that can take the fight to ISIS and wipe them out. Every time I hear someone in the Administration talk about “sustained airstrikes,” I wonder which decade they’ll be sustained unto.