In a seemingly sensible, balanced, New York Times op-ed entitled "How ISIS Defeats Us," Frank Bruni begins:
"I DON’T know how we win the war against ISIS.
But I know how we lose it. The last week has been a thorough and demoralizing education in that.
We lose it with a response to the Paris carnage and a discussion about the path forward that’s driven by partisan grievances and posturing rather than a mature, nuanced attempt to address Americans’ understandable anxiety and acknowledge that we may not be doing the right things or enough of them."
Bruni doesn't know how to win the war against the Islamic State? Well, fortunately or unfortunately, Russian President Putin thinks he knows how to win. Although Russian air strikes in Syria were initially focused on non-Islamic State rebel forces, including US-backed insurgents, that has all changed after ISIS took down a Russian passenger plane over Sinai on October 31 with a bomb that killed 224 people. Putin responded to the attack on the A321 jet by declaring:
"Our military work in Syria must not only continue. It must be strengthened in such a way so that the terrorists will understand that retribution is inevitable."
And "true to his word," Putin is now carpet-bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa, which had served as the capital of the Islamic State's would-be caliphate. How many ISIS fighters and civilians have died in the attacks on the city, which once had a population of some 220,000? No one knows.
As you might be aware, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was based upon a historical figure named Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, who, in his battles with the Ottoman Empire, took to impaling Turkish prisoners of war in order to dispirit enemy forces. Well today, a new Vlad has arisen - actually his name is Vladimir - who is not willing to brook any sh*t from ISIS.
How does the US win or lose against ISIS? Sorry, Frank, the whole situation has spun entirely out of American control.