On Wednesday, the Islamic State swept in and captured the Syrian city of Palmyra. This wasn’t just a “propaganda victory” as the State Department likes to describe these “setbacks.” The ancient ruins at the city were designated by the UN as a world heritage site — not to mention that 50,000 people called Palmyra home. In response to Iraq’s defeat at Ramadi Sunday, Barack Obama promised more help. In response to ISIL sending car bombs the size of the Oklahoma City car bomb into the city, Obama is sending 1,000 antitank missiles to stop the suicide missions. Currently, the 22,000 ISIL fighters are outworking the coalition against them. They capture two cities; Obama sends more missiles and claims the fight against ISIL is “an overall success.” On Tuesday, Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest’s best definition of that success is ISIL brought the Middle East together: “We’ve also seen a coalition of 60 nations both in the region and around the world join the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new Prime Minister take office in Iraq and unite that country and deploy a multi-sectarian security force against ISIL that has succeeded in liberating important areas of Diyala and Babil and Nineveh and the Kirkuk Provinces.” Community organizing is all well and good, but it’s not a national security strategy.
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