contributor perspectives

Anticipating the Enemy

Philip Bobbitt
Board of Contributors
Dec 16, 2015 | 08:54 GMT
Peshmerga fighters inspect the remains of a car, bearing an image of the trademark jihadist flag, which reportedly belonged to Islamic State (IS) militants after it was targeted by an American air strike in the village of Baqufa, north of Mosul, on August 18, 2014. Kurdish peshmerga fighters backed by federal forces and US warplanes pressed a counter-offensive Monday against jihadists after retaking Iraq's largest dam, as the United States and Britain stepped up their military involvement.

Peshmerga fighters inspect the remains of a car, bearing an image of the trademark jihadist flag, which reportedly belonged to Islamic State (IS) militants after it was targeted by an American air strike in the village of Baqufa, north of Mosul, on August 18, 2014. Kurdish peshmerga fighters backed by federal forces and US warplanes pressed a counter-offensive Monday against jihadists after retaking Iraq's largest dam, as the United States and Britain stepped up their military involvement.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

In a recent address to the nation, U.S. President Barack Obama observed that, "we should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That's what groups like [the Islamic State] want." Long and costly are relative terms; longer than what alternative? More costly than what action, and to what interests? But here I am more concerned with the implicit argument that we should avoid doing what our adversaries want us to do. That seems obvious, but is it?...

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