The ISIS Hydra

The air war isn’t doing enough — or perhaps even anything — to fulfill Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s promise to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State:

“The numbers are not moving in our favor,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) told The Daily Beast last week, after emerging from a secret briefing at the Capitol with retired Marine Gen. John Allen, presidential envoy in the campaign against ISIS.

Corker added that when the strength of the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels is compared to the fighters supporting ISIS, “we are losing now in numbers.”

The Pentagon has said it has killed 6,000 fighters since coalition strikes began five months ago; the intelligence community estimates 4,000 foreign fighters have entered the fray since September. (A higher estimate, made by The Washington Post, holds that 5,000 foreign fighters have flowed into the two countries since October.)

Either way, the tally doesn’t count the suspected thousands of local Iraqi and Syrian combatants who’ve joined the conflict. So when combined, the figures paint a worrisome picture: that even without counting the number of in-country recruits, the Islamic State is able to substantially replenish its manpower on the battlefield.

Maybe we could learn a thing or two from Jordan’s new approach.