State Dept: Overcoming ISIS in Iraq to Take 3-5 Years

Officials Admit War Not Going to Be as Quick as Initially Presented

When it was first launched last summer, the US war against ISIS was supposed to be a quick push meant to shift the momentum back in favor of the Iraqi government. The first year of war has seen ISIS take even more territory, and Iraq less able to resist than ever. Officials are increasingly admitting its a long war.

State Department spokesman retired Admiral John Kirby conceded the victory is “not going to happen overnight,” predicting that in Iraq along the war was going to take another 3-5 years. That wasn’t even necessary a full war timetable, but just the amount needed to “overcome the ISIS onslaught.”

Another administration spokesman on the war, retired General John Allen, last week predicted that the overall war, covering both Iraq and Syria, would last “a generation or more,” an admission that this war is far more open-ended than anyone figured.

The 3-5 year timetable should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. Any timetable that crosses one or more elections is roughly the same in official terms, simply meaning the war isn’t going to end until someone else is in power, and whether or not to end it is ultimately up to them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.