Best Defense

What the United States might have learned after nearly a year at war with ISIS

My mateys aboard New America’s Future of War team offered up some thoughts about what we’ve learned after fighting ISIS for nearly a year.

IS_insurgents,_Anbar_Province,_Iraq

My mateys aboard New America’s Future of War team offered up some thoughts about what we’ve learned after fighting ISIS for nearly a year. Here are some selections:

Be careful of removing Leviathan: “The rise of ISIS is a useful reminder of both Hobbes and Machiavelli, The only thing worse than a dictator-Leviathan (Saddam) is anarchy and civil war which we precipitated in Iraq with our 2003 invasion.” —Peter Bergen

We’ve seen ISIS before: “ Most modern states were born in blood, and denying ISIS’s continuities with historical examples of state formation leads us to exaggerate the threat it poses, misunderstand its ability to attract adherents from around the globe, and develop anti-ISIS tactics that are more likely to backfire than succeed.” —Rosa Brooks

Do we know what time it is?: “We are continuing to address 21st century problems with 20th century solutions.” —Christopher Fussell

Fasten your seatbelts: “A key lesson is that other groups are likely to learn from what ISIS is doing in this regard and the U.S. and others should be prepared.” —Paulo Shakarian

They are all provocative.

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Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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