Former CIA director and retired four-star general David Petraeus says the United States is "probably losing" the fight against the Islamic State's "industrial strength insurgency" in Iraq.
In a sobering interview with Charlie Rose on the "CBS Evening News,"
Petraeus, who has commanded U.S. forces both in Iraq and Afghanistan, called the situation in Iraq and Syria "worrisome."
"This is a moment, I think, when you sit back and say, 'What do we need to do in the military arena? What also do we need to do in the political arena?'" he said, calling ISIS "clearly a threat to the United States, to our allies and partners around the world…"
"These are fights where if you're not winning, you're probably losing, because time is not on your side," he said.
But he called it "arguable now in Iraq, we'll turn it around."
"We will win again in Iraq, I do think that Iraq can definitely be handled," he said. "I think that it can be kept intact."
Still, more must be done in Syria, he cautioned.
"This is already a long war, it's become longer because of the advent of the Islamic State, and we have to recognize that," he said "And we have to be in it."
Petraeus also said the U.S. military has to re-evaluate its strategy to fight ISIS.
"What you need to do is look at what you have, figure out where you need to augment," Petraeus said, including possibly deploying joint tactical air control teams on the ground – despite the risk of losing American lives.
"There is risk, but there is also risk of losing this fight," he said.
But military strength alone won't win the fight.
"You can't kill or capture your way out of an industrial strength insurgency like this, Charlie — really, an industrial strength conventional force, because that's what ISIL has actually come to be," he said.
"You need to have the political component, and without that, without that, you're not going to solve the problem."
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