Can the US 'destroy' ISIS without American ground troops?

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Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman and you're tuned to The World. It still does not feel as if enough time has passed to make this just another September day. I still wake up, as I have every September 11th since, and look at the sky to see if it comes close to that brilliant blue on that morning. But what is different about this 9/11 anniversary is that the United States has committed to a new war. Just last night, in fact. President Obama outlined his plans to degrade and destroy the militants who call themselves the Islamic State. Obama made clear that means attacking them with airstrikes in Syria, as well as in Iraq. Janine di Giovanni is Middle East editor at Newsweek. The mention of Syria, Janine, came almost as a footnote to his statement that airstrikes will continue but can everything he outlined be done and in a neat fashion without boots on the ground? Janine di Giovanni: I think what he said was pretty much what we expected he would say. He was broadening the operation beyond Iraq but it will need to be followed by ground troops for it to be effective. In most cases with strategic airstrikes like this, you do need to follow it up with some ground troops. Werman: I think the challenges for this strategy are pretty clear in Iraq but the challenges in Syria seem much larger. Obama seems to be putting his faith in the Free Syrian Army but how can they help? Do we even know who they are anymore? Di Giovanni: This is the real difficult question. There is a theory going around that, in many ways, this ISIS crisis has - with every crisis you have, there's always an opportunity. Look at it this way: the West is getting an opportunity to soften up Iran, Maliki has been removed with the help of Iran, and Assad is probably going to be given a choice of "You've got to move closer to the negotiating table." The only problem with that is that with Assad, they don't want to, nor are they ready, to negotiate. And on the other side, you have - what other side? Who are the Syrian opposition now? Where are they? I, as a reporter that follows that, have an incredibly difficult time trying to track these guys. Where are they? We have two sides - one side that doesn't want to sit down to the table and another side that doesn't exist. This is really the dilemma that Obama's doctrine is going to have now in Syria. Werman: Janine, finally, we spoke with you the day the news came out that Steven Sotloff had been murdered by ISIS. That act, many believe, led to Obama's speech last night. You were a friend and colleague of Steven's, what is your personal reaction to the president's speech committing US to war with ISIS? Di Giovanni: I find it very ironic that two freelance journalists who worked so hard would probably find it extraordinarily, if they are watching this or seeing this in some way, that their names are being mentioned with the president's speech and that a doctrine is being set out following their murders. But on the other hand, it makes me slightly angry to think that it took this, it had to get to this stage, that they've been allowed to get to this kind of level before the world's attention is taking notice of this. To me, this seems awfully late. As far as two years ago, as journalists on the ground, we were hearing about ISIS, we were hearing about these guys. I find it very hard to believe that security officials in America didn't pay more attention to it and let it get to this stage where they beheaded two young, talented American journalists. Werman: Are you worried that more airstrikes are going to cause more killings of captured Americans, Britons, and we're not even talking about those 49 Turks who are being held. Di Giovanni: I don't know. On the other hand, in Bosnia, airstrikes were very welcomed because it was what was needed, strategic airstrikes to break down the Serbs' resistance. There's always a price to be paid for airstrikes and, of course, the other thing is the collateral damage on the ground, of getting it wrong, hitting civilians. But I think that the time has come. What other choice do we have right now? Werman: Janine di Giovanni, Middle East editor at Newsweek and author of "Ghosts By Daylight: A Memoir of War and Love." Thank you. Di Giovanni: Thank you very much.