The US war against ISIS couldn’t be going much worse. ISIS continues to gain in Iraq, despite soaring US ground deployments into the nation, and the Syria air war has backfired so bad its wiped out most of the US allies, and brought al-Qaeda, once an ISIS rival, into a partnership with them.
The administration has tried alliances, they’ve tried escalations, they’re tried everything. Now, they’ve fallen back to name-calling, with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey mocking ISIS as a “bunch of midgets.”
Dempsey claimed the war was starting to turn in America’s favor, despite all indications to the contrary, though he conceded that the war is still going to take “several years.”
Secretary of State John Kerry was also eager to give the appearance of confidence, however unwarranted, in his own comments, insisting he is “not intimidated” by ISIS and that the US will continue to fight them irrespective of the execution of American hostages.
The desperation to portray ISIS as an unworthy opponent is palpable, and makes some sense in that it would keep people from watching the day-to-day operations of the war too closely. It also gives future officials the opportunity to argue for escalation on the grounds that they “underestimated” the ISIS threat, a card President Obama has already played in his own escalations. Either way, the feigned confidence is bizarre with the war going so badly on so many fronts.