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(CNN) – The battle against ISIS, and the new mission in the Middle East raises questions of whether this is a new war.
Painful numbers cast a long shadow over everything that's happening in the region right now, and they bear repeating: the U.S. endured nine years of brutal, costly warfare in Iraq, 4,486 U.S. troops died between 2003 and 2011, more than 30,000 were wounded, and all that human agony came with a price tag of more than $800 billion dollars.
Now, there are new questions about the origins of this latest threat, and just how long the fight against the terror group ISIS will last.
"It's going to take a while," said former national security adviser to Obama, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. James Jones (Ret.).
The general criticized the President's pledge that the strategy to defeat ISIS will, as Obama said Wednesday, "not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."
"No military man likes to telegraph your punch. In other words, when you tell the enemy what you're not going to do, in other words, you're not going to put American troops on the ground, that enters into the equation of how ISIS reacts to things. And I understand why the President did that," Jones said.
"If you want to accelerate this, the combination of air and ground forces working together is what's going to make it shorter," said Jones.