How to Defeat ISIS

Prepared statement by
Max Boot
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
Council on Foreign Relations

Before the
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
1st Session, 114th Congress


DEC. 2, 2015
Hearing on “The Paris Attacks: A Strategic Shift by ISIS?”

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Keating, members of the subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me here to testify about the most pressing national security threat that we face—the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL. The recent terrorist attack in Paris which killed 129 people, along with other attacks from Sharm al-Sheikh to Beirut to Tunis, demonstrate this group’s range and murderous effectiveness. ISIS is spawning “provinces” from Libya to Afghanistan to Nigeria. That ISIS is now threatening to attack the United States should cause us great concern. Mass-casualty attacks such as the one in Paris (or earlier in Mumbai) are easy to carry out and hard to stop. We are every bit as vulnerable as France.

Read more: How to Defeat ISIS

To Defeat ISIS, It Must Be an American Fight

New York Times

NOV 17, 2015

"It cannot be an American fight," Hillary Clinton said of ISIS. She is wrong. It is an American fight, one that will not succeed without American leadership. 

Far from being “contained” — as President Obama said in an interview that aired the morning of the Paris attacks — ISIS is using its operational base in Iraq and Syria to mount an increasingly dangerous terrorist offensive. In the past few weeks alone, the group has been tied to attacks in Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, Beirut and Baghdad. Like previous totalitarian movements, ISIS, if left undefeated, will continue to expand its reign of terror.

Read more: To Defeat ISIS, It Must Be an American Fight

Ahmad Chalabi's bad advice on nation-building in Iraq

Los Angeles Times

NOV 5, 2015

The death of Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi has brought forth many critical obituaries, and a few glowing eulogies that focused on his pro-democracy rhetoric while ignoring his actual record as an ally of Muqtada Sadr and an enabler of Shiite Muslim death squads. Chalabi was truly the master of the long con: He continues to deceive his admirers from beyond the grave.

Read more: Ahmad Chalabi's bad advice on nation-building in Iraq

Super K, Revisited

National Review

OCT 19, 2015

Kissinger: 1923–1968: The Idealist, by Niall Ferguson (Penguin, 1,008 pp., $39.95)

‘SURELY no statesman in modern times, and certainly no American secretary of state, has been as revered and then as reviled as Henry Kissinger.” So begins Niall Ferguson’s monumental biography, the first volume of which takes the story from Kissinger’s birth until his appointment as national-security adviser by President-elect Ri chard Nixon in 1968.

Read more: Super K, Revisited

How Obama Could Salvage His Hapless ISIS Strategy

Sunni Arabs, trained by the U.S. in the Kurdish region of Iraq, could form an effective fighting force.

Wall Street Journal

SEP 30, 2015

Even as Russia launched airstrikes Wednesday against rebel forces in Syria, Obama administration officials and U.S. military leaders claim that the campaign against Islamic State is working. The facts suggest otherwise.

Read more: How Obama Could Salvage His Hapless ISIS Strategy

The Killing of an American Jihadi

What made Awlaki such a compelling figure for extremists? He was charismatic and glib, but the key was his fluent English.

Wall Street Journal

SEP 22, 2015



By Scott Shane

(Tim Duggan, 396 pages, $28)

Since the rise of Islamic State, it’s been easy to overlook terrorist organizations like al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Yet not long ago AQAP was the terrorist group most feared by American officials—and it is still the one most focused on American targets.

Read more: The Killing of an American Jihadi

“Destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest . . . hardest form of war.” —John Nagl, Wall Street Journal


"Enormous, brilliant and important…. Terrific… Astute… Boot’s Invisible Armies should be required reading in the White House and Pentagon." —Michael Korda, Daily Beast

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