It is crucial to understand, however, that without AQI brutality and the Sunni leaders independently deciding they needed to work with the United States, the surge would never have succeeded. Thus, when McMaster holds that the success came as a result of Iraqi citizens accomplishing political reconciliation––which clearly never happened––then he is likely to believe that future insurgencies can likewise be won with a similar approach.

That is in fact what McMaster believes about Afghanistan and Iraq. If America simply demonstrates enough political will and stays long enough, eventually political reconciliation will occur and the fight will end. He does not, however, shy away from explaining how long that might take: an open-ended commitment that will end in the distant future

In his 2014 speech at the Carnegie Council, he said ISIS could be defeated if only the United States communicated the proper amount of resolve. He cited the example of how U.S. troops had stayed forever in Korea following the end of that war. In 1953, he said, “It didn’t look good. . . . You had a country that was ravaged by decades of war, you had a country with no infrastructure, with an illiterate population, and a corrupt government. It didn’t look good. But with sustained development over time, development of civil society groups, development of political reform, U.S. commitment over time, you have success.”