“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” President Obama’s remarks on 9/10/2014
I really enjoyed this section of his speech as I believe it is very important to recognize that ISIL is anti-Islamic in nature and that it should not be considered a government by any stretch of the imagination. ISIL has simply taken advantage of an already terrible situation in order to promote their terrorist message.
For those that didn’t get the opportunity to see President Obama’s address to the nation last night, or just simply want a quick overview, I have provided a quick break down of the main ideas.
President Obama has stated that his objective with dealing with ISIL is to ‘degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy’. He then goes on to outline his 4 step plan for eradicating ISIL.
The US has already operated airstrikes in Iraq in order to secure humanitarian operations and our own citizens since August 8th, and we will now be expanding these strikes to include ISIL strongholds.
- Support ground forces fighting ISIL
Obama makes it very clear that he wants to work with local groups, such as the Iraqi military, Syrian opposition, and Kurdish guard, in order to contain ISIL’s threat. My only concern with this is arming the Syrian opposition, as they encompass a diverse group of organizations. I am interested to learn ore about which groups they plan on arming and with what equipment. We will also be sending 500 service members to Iraq to help with training Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
- Use counter-terrorism tactics to prevent further attacks
The US will work with the international community in order to collect intelligence on potential attacks, recruits, and to cut off funding to ISIL.
- Provide humanitarian assistance
We will continue to provide humanitarian support to all civilians displaced by ISIL, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
Obama makes it very clear that he intends to conduct this military campaign different like those conducted in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq. This campaign will not be a ‘boots on the ground’ style invasion; this will instead be fought using counter-terrorism measures and airstrikes. When he was addressing the nation (and as of me writing this article on 9/12/2014) he was still seeking congressional support to train and arm the Syrian opposition. It is important to note that Obama did not seek congressional approval for his airstrike campaign, instead adopting the same view of war powers as his predecessor Bush, the same views he has openly criticized in the past.
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