Now even Newsweek feels the need to ask “Is ISIS Winning?” From Bill Powell’s report:
The Obama administration and the Pentagon have counseled patience. Losing Ramadi was a “setback,” the White House said, and not one worth setting our “hair on fire,” according to spokesman Josh Earnest. Washington says it will ramp up the pace of training Iraqi troops—training, critics note, that’s been going on for years in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion.
But interviews with military and political officials and analysts in Iraq—both Iraqi and foreign—paint a darker picture. The grim fact confronting the administration and its international partners is that the degrade and destroy campaign, as currently constituted, is failing. And there are “really no good options going forward,” as it struggles with how to counter ISIS, says Sajad Jiyad, Iraq analyst and senior researcher at the Al-Bayan Center for Studies and Planning in Baghdad.
Just how desperate the reality on the ground is becoming in Iraq was clear on May 18, the day after Ramadi fell. Anbar province, where Ramadi sits, is the heart of Sunni Islam in Iraq. It was where tribal leaders worked effectively with U.S. forces in 2007 and 2008, during the so-called Anbar Awakening, to rout ISIS’s predecessor, Al-Qaeda.
You have to go all the way back to September 10, 2002 to find the first reference to Osama bin Laden as a “symptom” of what’s wrong with the Arab world. That was one day short of the first anniversary of 9/11.
If bin Laden was a symptom, the ISIS is the disease in full: Destructive, controlling, chaotic, murderous, expansive, formless, cruel, ideological, and living in a fantasy world where their barbaric and nearly random actions seem to mean something.
I’ve argued on this page since ISIS first made a real name for itself that groups this wantonly vicious drown in their own bloodletting — they make too many enemies to long survive, or they run out of victims and the members turn on one another.
It’s too soon to rule out my pet theory, since it usually takes years or even decades for that end to come to pass. It took a 30 years war for the German states to slake their bloodlust in that war of the same name, and arrive at the Peace of Westphalia. Imperial Japan met its end after less than a decade of war. The Nazis brought on their own ruin in less than that.
But it is not too soon to help ISIS along that path, if only we had a President who understood that we are their enemy — and that gives us an important job to do.