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Is ISIS ‘on the run’? If so, it’s no comfort

By Bridget Johnson, Originally published in the New York Daily News

There’s been a lot of debate devoted to the terms that President Obama and his administration do and don’t use to describe ISIS and Al Qaeda: radical Islamist vs. radical jihadist vs. the broader term “violent extremist.”

Yet while we obsess over nomenclature, we put far too little focus on a deeper rhetorical and substantive problem: a years-long administration pattern of acknowledging that battling non-state actors is more intensive and complicated than conventional war — while it continues to use conventional measures of battlefield success.

If a terror group decentralizes, it’s branded “on the run.” If it loses some occupied territory, it’s on the run. If it loses some leaders to drone strikes, it’s on the run.

There’s been a lot of debate devoted to the terms that President Obama and his administration do and don’t use to describe ISIS and Al Qaeda: radical Islamist vs. radical jihadist vs. the broader term “violent extremist.”

Yet while we obsess over nomenclature, we put far too little focus on a deeper rhetorical and substantive problem: a years-long administration pattern of acknowledging that battling non-state actors is more intensive and complicated than conventional war — while it continues to use conventional measures of battlefield success.

If a terror group decentralizes, it’s branded “on the run.” If it loses some occupied territory, it’s on the run. If it loses some leaders to drone strikes, it’s on the run.

Continue reading in The New York Daily News…

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