As ISIS Gains Mount, Growing Doubts on US Strategy

Kerry: US Will Press on With 'Long-Term' Strategy

Large portions of the key Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani fell today, and much of the Iraqi Anbar Province has fallen as well. Months of US air war hasn’t stalled ISIS’ gains even a little.

That’s fueled growing doubts about the US strategy against ISIS, to the extent that there even is a strategy. The losses are palpable, and that’s got the hawks pushing for even further escalation.

Former State Department adviser David Kilcullen warned that if anything, the US airstrikes were “going to improve the enemy’s quality by killing the stupid and unlucky ones and bringing more talented and savvy guys to the fore.”

The White House has insisted that the airstrikes aren’t going to work without a “viable” ground force, which in Syria isn’t going to exist for at least a year under optimal conditions.

Secretary of State John Kerry echoed the sentiment of other officials, that the strategy is a very “long-term” one, and that the recent ISIS gains aren’t going to change the strategy.

The reality is that the US knew it didn’t have a winning strategy when it entered the war, and sought to substitute an end-game strategy with an open-ended timetable and a huge coalition of hangers-on that don’t intend to actually do anything.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of