President Obama may be in denial over the serious threat the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) poses to the U.S., but senior military officials are not.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described IS as an “imminent threat to every interest that we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else.”
He was also asked directly about the threat posed to the United States and if it's comparable to 9/11.
The Islamic State is “as sophisticated and well-funded as any group we have seen,” he replied. "They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of ... military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we've seen."
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Islamic State has an “apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision” and “will eventually have to be defeated.”
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said officials were worried about the possibility that European or U.S. nationals, radicalized after fighting in Iraq or Syria, would return to their home countries.
Dempsey suggested Islamic State would remain a danger until it could no longer count on safe havens in areas of Syria under militant control. [...]
"To your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border."
It was only in January that President Obama described the group as “jayvee.”