Opinion

Decisive blows not being struck

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register 

WHEELING, W.Va. — Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq are being attacked more vigorously than ever before, as President Barack Obama emphasized Monday. But decisive action against them still appears to be missing.

“We are hitting ISIL?(Islamic State terrorists) harder than ever,” Obama proclaimed. He cited both air strikes destroying key resources such as oil supplies and assassinations of terrorist leaders.

“The point is, ISIL leaders cannot hide and our next message to them is simple:?You are next,” the president said.

It is true there has been substantial progress in the air campaign. Russian warplanes in Syria have hit rebels there, including but not limited to the Islamic State, hard.

A coalition led by the United States has stepped up bomb and rocket attacks from the air, targeting oil wells controlled by the Islamic State as well as petroleum storage sites and transportation routes. That will hurt the terrorists’ funding. Countries involved include France, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Jordan, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

But Islamic terrorist groups seem to be able to rebound from assassinations of their leaders. New jihadists eager to take the lead seem plentiful.

And in terms of reconquering areas taken by the Islamic State, there has been little success.

Decisive blows will require ground armies, not just small contingents of special forces. The sooner the United States organizes a coalition able to provide that force, the better. Only then can the terrorists be destroyed.

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