It's had some military success, but the Islamic State is no existential threat - The Washington Post:
"By Rosa Brooks [Senior fellow at New America and a law professor at Georgetown University. From 2009 to 2011, she served as a senior adviser to the undersecretary of defense for policy.]
ISIS The State of Terror By Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger Ecco. 385 pp. $27.99
It is dangerous to underestimate your enemies — or overestimate them. The United States has an uncanny knack for doing both, often at the same time. Take the self-proclaimed Islamic State. On the one hand, President Obama tells us that the group, also known by the acronym ISIS,“has no vision other than . . . slaughter” and “can never possibly win [anyone] over by its ideas or its ideology — because it offers nothing.” There is no need to send U.S. ground troops into combat against the militants: “It’s not necessary to defeat [them].”
On the other hand, former defense secretary Chuck Hagel insists that the Islamic State is an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) says the group is “a clear and present danger,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) urges the president to deploy U.S. ground troops to fight the extremists in Iraq and Syria “before we all get killed here at home.”
Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger’s new book, “ISIS,” should be required reading for every politician and policymaker. Though it bears some of the inevitable scars characteristic of books written in a great hurry — it is uneven and a bit rough around the edges — their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations."
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