US at war with ISIS


Maya Lapp, The Eagle Staff Reporter

Last Wednesday President Obama made a speech about U.S. action against the Islamic extremist group known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL was originally a part of Al-Qaeda, but has grown into an entirely separate organization. Rather than focusing on attacking the United States this group has begun to seize land in the Middle East. According to CIA ISIL consists of over 30,000 followers. It was the video of the executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as British David Haines that brought ISIL’s atrocities into international light. However, they have been accused of war crimes not least because of the beheading of hundreds of locals.
In his speech Obama vowed to, “to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL”, but refused to call his plan a “war” against the Islamic State. Many defense experts believe that President Obama should not try to deny that he is entering the United States into a continuation of George W. Bush’s “war on terror”. Some, like former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, believe that the president is taking the right first steps but should not be timid in readying for an extended struggle, while others are wary of taking such a forceful stance. David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, is disturbed by drones decreasing the costliness of American lives has made military action readily available, instead of a last resort.
The Obama Administration has outlined their plan on opposing ISIL. They will begin by “supporting the effective governance in Iraq” while gathering more intelligence on ISIL. They plan on sending weapons, ammunition and other equipment with U.S. Special Forces to train Iraqi military. They hope to limit ISIL’s income and disrupt their leadership. President Obama pledges to “hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are”, and will begin with military action, namely airstrikes, in Syria and Iraq. He also is planning humanitarian aid to civilians threatened by the Islamic State.
Many believe that Obama is right to outline and adopt this attack. When hearing about the atrocities ISIL has committed it is hard to think of not opposing what they have done. Others, however, are unsure if Obama is taking the right steps. One of the major arguments that has risen is that Obama has not tried to take any diplomatic steps before practically declaring war with this group. There are steps a country can take without bringing out the guns. One example of this is creating a coalition to use financial pressure against ISIL. Diplomacy may not be able to solve issues like this overnight, but there is no way to find peace without it.
To many Americans this situation has a sense of déjà vu. The U.S. has found itself in this same spot many times in the past, such as during the Cold War. Some believe that we should avoid making the same mistakes at all costs, while others believe it is time to take action. It isn’t our decision, but everyone should know enough to form their own opinions on the matter, because right now our president is making choices that are shaping the future of the next decade.
For the full White House report on the Strategy to Counter ISIL visit:
—NOTE— ISIL is also known as ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria