On the eve of 9/11, Obama takes stance on ISIS.

President Obama

Jeffrey Pierre/ Columnist

The past few months have been testing for President Barack Obama, to say the least.

A city, fueled by racial tension, was pushed to the brink of chaos in Missouri; an ebola outbreak brought death tolls to over 2,000 in West Africa; two American journalist beheaded for the world to see and cower in fear; and upcoming midterm elections, where Obama and democrats look to gain control of the House while holding on to their Senate majority.

Now, the President’s eyes are fixed on the growing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a self-declared caliphate and hybrid terrorist-army claiming authority over all Muslims.

ISIS has seized control over much of Syria and Iraq in a short time with tactics deemed too brutal even for Al-Qaida. On a jihadist website, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Al-Qaida leader, even denied affiliations or ties to ISIS.

Weeks ago, the president said in news conference that he had no plan on how to deal with ISIS. Since then, he has seen a large amount of criticism for his inaction.

On Wednesday Sept. 10, on the eve of 9/11, the President addressed the American people introducing a four-point plan aimed to dismantle ISIS through authorized U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and 475 serviceman and women for strategic ground support to work with the Iraqi military.

In regard to Syria, President Obama said he would not hesitate to take action but did not outline any strategy. He added that the U.S. “cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people,” and would “strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL.”

And of the ground forces, the President said, they “will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.”

The President’s speech on Wednesday night seemed all too familiar— suddenly it became 2003 and the President, George Bush at the time, was trying explain why [insert threatening Middle Eastern regime here] is foreign danger that required boots on the ground.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, urged listeners in an interview with MSNBC after the President’s speech to be mindful past wars like Iraq and Vietnam, that lasted longer than originally projected.

“There are lot of unintended consequences when you get into a war,” he said, “And then, next thing you know, you have another decade of war that you didn’t plan for.”

White House analyst and intelligence officials have said ISIS does pose a threat, but the threat level is still debatable.

The New York Times reported weeks ago, that one factor that set ISIS apart from its predecessor, Al-Qaida, was that it “has strikingly few calls for attacks on the West.” And as of now, ISIS’s main objective has been an Islamic State.

It seems when faced with two evils, the President would rather see the consequences of sending troops back into Iraq as opposed to diplomatic measures. For whatever reason, diplomacy seemed to be thrown out.

The President said he secured bipartisan support in Washington, but later dispelled the idea by stating he has full “authority to address the threat of ISIL.” Republicans like Senator John McCain still managed to challenge the President’s four-point-plan.

Despite the 2008 and 2012 platforms that helped democrats win seats in Congress and the White House, the President proved to be not so unlike the George Bush he scrutinized so harshly in the past.

Once again, America decided to protect freedom at the cost of American soldiers with no real plan or set end-date. But sooner rather than later, I hope the President sees that we went into Iraq in 2003 to pluck out Saddam Hussein, the Ba’ath Party and Al-Qaida, and as an indirect result, ISIS rose to replaced them.

It’s time for bordering countries in the Middle East to learn to work together, and for presidents to learn the violence-to-solve-violence approach should be used sparingly, at most.

ISIS is threat, but most importantly it’s a ideoglgy that can’t be dismantled just by force.

The word of the week, once again, is diplomacy.


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