One of two key figures in the war against the Islamic State has it wrong about whether American military power has “contained” the terrorist organization.
President Barack Obama said ISIS has been “contained” on the battlefield. He said so the other day and then on the very next day, the Islamic State launched those horrifying attacks in Paris.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee that ISIS is “not contained.”
Who you gonna believe? The politician or the career military man?
Do I think we’re losing the war? I tend to believe we will be able ultimately to destroy the Islamic State. It’s going to take a lot more than just U.S. air power to do it. More nations already have joined in the fight, most notably France and Russia, two nations that have paid heavily for ISIS’s terror tactics.
Gen. Dunford told the committee — chaired by Republican Mac Thornberry of Clarendon — that “technically we are not at war” with the Islamic State. The word “technically” is critical here. To be at war requires — in the strictest sense — a declaration issued by Congress at the request of the president.
But in reality, we’re at war.
As for whether the general has contradicted the commander in chief and the secretary of defense and whether that puts Gen. Dunford’s status in some jeopardy, I’ll just add one final point.
We put the military under civilian command. Gen. Dunford answers to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and President Barack Obama, both of whom have said one thing about ISIS containment; meanwhile, Dunford has said something else. Yes, I believe Dunford’s time as Joint Chiefs chairman might be coming to a close.