We’re hearing that retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, Obama’s special envoy to coordinate the inter-agency and international effort against the Islamic State, has sent word around to folks in Washington that everyone should stop using the word “destroy” when describing the mission against the Islamic State.

Allen who had been the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan before his retirement, said that word was too “imprecise.” (He might have also said “impossible” and, with no boots on the ground and the Iraqi “army” in shambles, something not likely to happen unless some of Sunni Iraq is leveled.)

So from now on, Allen is encouraging folks to use the word “degrade” to describe the task at hand. We gather that means sort of smack them around a bit, stall further progress, push them out of Mosul and get them to lay off the Kurds?

Sounds like a plan.