ISIS has declared a separate Islamic state in lands that the terrorist organization has seized from the sovereignty of Iraq and Syria. In 2014 alone, ISIS has already taken over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory.
As of August 7th of this year, the president has authorized airstrikes against ISIS forces that have been carried out by U.S. military manned and unmanned aircraft. The airstrikes have offered much needed support for Iraqi defense and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS on the ground. The support has even helped them take back the captured Mosul Dam from ISIS control.
Members of Congress and the American public have asked what the long-term goals and strategy are, and the president has responded.In a recent press conference, President Obama stated his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS. The president said that the U.S. will lead a coalition committed to eliminating ISIS by expanding airstrikes into Iraq and Syria.
The speech came one day after the White House asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip Syrian rebels in order for them to fight ISIS on the ground. Many lawmakers and many more Veterans are concerned with arming and equipping another group in the region. The U.S. has an unfortunate history of our own weapons being used against us when either the arms are confiscated by our enemies, or by having a fighting force that we equipped turn against us.
Many voices in Washington have expressed that they don’t see airstrikes as being enough to completely stop or eliminate ISIS. This has many Americans, including legislators, divided as to whether our military should get more involved, or stay out of the fight all together.
Americans, in the capital and around the country, were hoping for a more definitive answer in terms of a strategy for dealing with ISIS. But at least the biggest question has been answered, for now. The president has ruled out sending American ground forces to their third war in Iraq in 25 years.
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Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory