The ultimate goal should be the total defeat and destruction of the Islamic State. However, that is not the goal of the Obama administration.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that “we have the capacity” to “knock out ISIL,” but “we’re not going to get suckered into that.”
Kerry: “The enduring transformation that has to take place here is not going to take place if the United States just comes in and were to knock out ISIL and that’s it, go away. Not gonna happen.
“We could do that, actually. We have that capacity, but we’re not asking to do that, nor are they [other Middle Eastern countries] asking us to do that, because I think they understand that the implications of that would be actually to aid in the recruitment to create a bigger problem than we face today.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): “I’m looking for metrics in terms of, if we all agree with the proposition of this needs to be a region policing itself with the assistance of the United States, tell me what that means in terms of what ground troop levels could be appropriate or inappropriate.
“We’ve done 80 percent of the airstrikes. The airstrikes is US.
“This has got to be the region’s fight against its own terrorism, and if they’re willing to be all-in, then we should help, but if it gets to the point where we have to contemplate a significant number of ground troops, it almost means that it’s been lost from the beginning if the region won’t weigh in to battle their own terrorist threat.
“There’s sort of no amount of ground troops we could put in Iraq or Syria to win the battles there. We can keep Americans safe here, but we can’t create a recruiting bonanza for ISIL."
Kerry: “If it’s just us, that’s how they grow, and that’s what they want, and we’re not getting suckered into that.”