Putting the ISIS Threat in Perspective

Islamic State

TIME

If you’re having a tough time figuring out how much of a threat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) poses to the United States, you’re hardly alone.

“They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Aug. 21. “They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything.”

Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t seem to share the Pentagon chief’s foreboding, given how ISIS fighters scattered “the minute we hit them” as they tried to take the Kurdish city of Erbil in northern Iraq. “These guys are not 10 feet tall. They’re not as disciplined as everybody thinks,” Kerry said Sept. 5. “They’re not as organized as everybody thinks.”

So who’s right?

To be sure, nothing grabs attention like the barbaric series of videotaped ISIS beheadings of Westerners, which continued this weekend…

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