A month ago President Obama ordered the world’s greatest military “to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. America’s word isn’t what it used to be. As we went to press on Tuesday, ISIS was on the verge of a major military victory in Kobani, a mostly Kurdish city along Syria’s border with Turkey.
The siege of Kobani has left hundreds dead and forced some 200,000 to flee, mostly to Turkey. The city’s fall would mean a massacre of civilians and Kurdish fighters — ISIS doesn’t distinguish among “apostates” — that would put Kobani in the same sentence with Srebrenica. So soon after Obama’s call to arms, it would also be a blow to American prestige and a huge recruiting tool for ISIS. The jihadists would claim they’ve defeated an America unable to stop them.