Even though US officials still don’t really have an idea of how they will actually defeat ISIS, they do seem to at least agree that wiping the group out in both Iraq and Syria is going to take a very long time.
President Obama had qualified the war as not a question of “weeks” early on, though officials are now saying that it’s going to be more like years, and likely not just a couple of those.
The Pentagon planners are envisioning a “minimum” commitment of 36 months, which in keeping with their usual grossly optimistic estimates, could mean far, far longer.
The war is going to involve going into Syria, at some point, though officials continue to insist the focus right now is on Iraq. That built-in plan to escalate into another nation, with an underlying plan for regime change there as well, makes this truly an open-ended war with no specific number of years really a credible estimate right now.