Photo Credit: US Government
F-16 fighter jets in flight. (Illustration photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama apparently has taken a second look at the spreading influence and control over territory wielded by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, and reconsidered his options as Commander-in-Chief.

His vow to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the barbaric terror organization changed in a speech Friday to “degrade and ultimately defeat” the group.

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According to a retired U.S. Army officer and military analyst interviewed by the Washington Times, That’s a big change: there’s a major military difference between the two terms.

“Destroying the enemy… means we will kill all combatants and their means to continue the fight – factories, transportation networks, economy,” explained military analyst Robert Maginnis. Defeat could mean a political solution that leaves the enemy combatants alive and ready to fight another day.”

Political leaders in the U.S. are debating the level of resources to commit to this particular war on terror, not understanding its relevance to the homeland because it is being fought outside the United States. A number of ISIS-linked operatives have already been caught in the U.S. by law-enforcement agents.

Intelligence sources have made it clear that at least 100 American-born terrorists have flown to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS; some were already sent back to the U.S. to form their own sleeper cells to await attack orders from abroad. Others remain with the group in order to translate documents and help produce the slick Internet recruitment materials — including an online magazine, “Inspire” — that ISIS uses to draw more Western young people to its cause.

The group already controls large swathes of territory across Iraq and Syria, and has used homegrown operatives to infiltrate farther-flung areas such as the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Israel, and numerous cities throughout Europe as well.

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Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.
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