The front page of Tuesday's New York Times made for one of the most debilitating brain cramps in recent memory. The banner headline, set beside a photograph of missiles being fired from an American warship, was, "US and Allies Strike ISIS Targets in Syria." This, as we have since learned, was the announcement that the United States had opened its aerial campaign against terrible people in yet another country, one more bellicose headline out of fifty dozen we've seen since the US began this war some 24 years ago.
The brain cramp, however, came with the second headline, just beneath the proclamation that we were in the process of attacking ISIS in Syria with air strikes. "In Iraq," it read, "Strikes Fail to Dislodge ISIS." The accompanying text underscored the grim, yet utterly predictable facts read: "After six weeks of Western air support, Iraqi forces have scarcely budged the militant fighters from their hold on more than a quarter of the country."