Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel chimed in on a growing escalation of US attacks in Iraq today, labeled ISIS “beyond just a terrorist group” and insisting that they are the most dangerous group the US has ever seen.
“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready,” Hagel added, saying ISIS is a “imminent threat to every interest we have.”
Hagel went on to say ISIS is growing more dangerous, and that the “long-term” US military operation is far from over. He also touched on revelations of a failed rescue attempt for a slain American journalist, defending it as a “flawless operation.”
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Kirby expressed displeasure about the fact that the failed Syrian raid went public at all, saying he would’ve much preferred it to remain a secret, but that the media was going to publish the story anyhow.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have already laid out the case yesterday that they are going to “crush” ISIS militarily, which would involve a broad, open-ended war in both Iraq and Syria. While officials don’t seem to want to admit that publicly, they do seem to want to lay the groundwork for those precipitous escalations to come.
The administration initially couched its new Iraq War as a “humanitarian intervention,” but has quickly dispatched with that talking point in favor of a redux of the 2003 occupation talking points, centering on the enemy being “inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil.”
Polls have continued to show solid American opposition to a new ground invasion of Iraq, though with Congress not even seriously considering bringing the matter up for debate, President Obama seems to be free to escalate irrespective of public opinion.