While Washington has been absorbed in battles over healthcare and incipient scandals, a real war is escalating sharply in Syria and Iraq: the one against Islamic State.
Without much public notice, thousands of U.S. combat troops are back on the ground in the Middle East: roughly 7000 in Iraq, almost 1000 in Syria, another 2500 in Kuwait.
Those troops aren’t only special operations forces; they include artillery teams fighting in Iraq and a helicopter unit that has flown behind Islamic State lines in Syria.
U.S. airstrikes have intensified, too, and civilian casualties have spiked dramatically since the beginning of the year. As many as 200 civilians may have been...