Is this proof that using military force just causes more jihadis to flock to the black banners?
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 162 people had joined Islamic State training camps in Aleppo province since Sept 10, when Obama said he would not hesitate to strike Islamic State in Syria.
The new recruits do not represent a big increase in the size of IS, which is estimated by intelligence agencies at 20,000 to 30,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq. But they do illustrate the risk that U.S.-led efforts to crush Islamic State will end up winning it more followers.
We're far from the days when a presidential speech was supposed to make the Moslem world swoon and set aside their scimitars, eh?
But the Islamic State's recruiting has flourished as we ignored them and refused to fight them, you must admit.
As I've argued many times, using military force against jihadis does not create more jihadis--using ineffective military force against jihadis creates more jihadis.
When al Qaeda invaded Iraq and then made it its main effort, our fight against them was successful enough that al Qaeda in Iraq was reduced to a residual problem in Iraq when we left in 2011. We were so successful that President Obama the next year could boast that al Qaeda was dead.
Jihad was discredited among more Moslems than ever before as the jihadis both showed that they killed Moslems far more than infidels and that they could not win a war against us.
Right now, the jihadis believe that President Obama has promised to use ineffective force against them, by focusing on what we won't do to defeat ISIL.
I hope the jihadi recruits are wrong. Much as al Qaeda and their Taliban patrons dismissed our new post-9/11 offensive against them in 2001 in Afghanistan until we kicked their asses across the Hindu Kush so that they had to flee to Pakistan (and thank you so much for that, Pakistan), I hope that when our offensive begins in Iraq, it will be enough to defeat the jihadis.
If we do the things we must (and I don't think we need to commit combat brigades to the fight), I think it will be enough to defeat ISIL in Iraq.
Syria is another matter. Even if our plans prove effective there, it will be years before we see progress.
Focus on killing and defeating jihadis and set aside that nonsense about this being counter-productive.
I'll never argue that non-military means aren't absolutely necessary to help the Arab Moslem world control and delegitimize their jihadi impulses.
But military means are quite necessary to hold the jihadi at bay and reduce them until those non-kinetic efforts can bear fruit over generations of time.
It's called the Long War for a reason.