Top US General: ISIS in Iraq and Syria Remains a Long-Term Threat

Warns US may never really defeat ISIS

Top generals continue to talk down the idea of US wars ending or missions being accomplished. CEMTCOM commander Gen. Frank McKenzie plays up the ISIS threat, saying they are a long-term threat and the US may never really defeat them.

In Iraq and Syria, McKenzie suggested the problem would only be resolved when the world solves the problems of reconciliation and the internally displaced. He said there was no military fix to that, and warned that it was possible no one was ever really going to defeat ISIS.

In practice, ISIS barely exists in Iraq. Iraqi forces are comfortable sorting that out themselves, and are saying they need to plan for a post-US life, since the US isn’t going to engage in military operations after the announced drawdown. ISIS is more operational in Syria, but mostly in government controlled areas, making it Syria’s problem, not the US’s.

Playing up the ISIS threat is a way to undercut those drawdowns, and to warn military opposition against further moves. This is a consistent military position, opposing the ending of protracted wars.

There are always excuses to keep the wars going, and enemies that will never be defeated. Even when there aren’t, CENTCOM will come up with something.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of