Before jihadis erupted into Anbar in early 2014 and Mosul and the north in mid-2014, I spoke of the need to wage the Long War for the soul of the Moslem world if we wanted to avoid an endless war against the terrorists who are the symptom of that main problem.
So let me just link to that post which has added relevance as we start the Third Iraq War (from our point of view, of course, since for Iraqis the war has continued since we "responsibly ended" our war). If I may be so bold, read it all.
I know it is popular to say that regional states have just as much interest in defeating ISIL as we do. This is true.
But it does not mean that holding back our efforts to achieve our goals will lead these regional states (including allies of ours) to pursue objectives that match our own.
Our allies may well conclude--as they did before--that victory looks like convincing the jihadis to target somebody other than these regional states--like us, for example.
After all, many here say let them kill each other off rather than intervene. Why shouldn't regional states be just as coldly calculating?
So we must fight to achieve our objectives. This doesn't mean 100,000 troops on the ground. That is always the last choice when supporting allies already there can work. But our help has to leverage our allies into working for objectives that matter to us.
It's a Long War for a reason. Let's stop taking time outs while our enemies keep going.