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America’s “War” on Terrorism Continues

Shelby Billman, Staff Writer

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Today, the United States of America continues its fight against terrorism in the Middle East- the last offensive being President Obama’s ISIS speech and call for US support in defeating these extremists.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It is a terrorist group currently housed between the Syrian-Iraqi border. Since February 2014, ISIS has been separated from its counterpart Al Qaeda and worked to become the more powerful leader over the extremist groups in the Middle East. It means to overthrow the current regime and create an Islamic caliphate or state by taking advantage of the political strife in the area as well as Syria’s civil war. They have killed several thousands of people-the majority being Muslim. Also, they have recruited a large number of global followers: Europeans and Americans included.

So what is the US doing to stop ISIS? On September 10th, President Obama addressed the nation with his plans of airstrikes over Syria as well as the deployment of military forces in a “non-combat mission” to train the Sunni soldiers of the new Iraqi government in the takedown of ISIS. He stated the United States’s mission “will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS.” Not only is ISIS a threat to the Middle East, but also potentially to the United States. Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting with several Arab nations over the past few days including Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia to create a coalition of nations to help stop ISIS. The extent to which these nations will provide assistance is still unknown.

However, the White House is reluctant to call this new initiative an “act of war”. Kerry says, “We are engaging in a counter-terrorism operation.” Is this merely to put the nation’s mind at ease over the deployment of more troops or to save face as Obama has previously taken an anti-war stance? Many Republicans ask this question now and even state, “that it is foolishness to not reveal all the facts to the American people.” Fox News reported in an earlier interview with Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, “that not calling this a war weakens our mission”. Yet, according to recent polls, 50-60% of Americans support Obama’s plans as long as there is no use of “ground troops”.

The attempt to stop ISIS is an ideological battle. ISIS and other extremist groups try to impart their long history of superiority and orthodox religion, hoping to be rid of the particularly secular ideology of the West. However, their means almost always involves violence. The West tries to bring justice and democracy to this area, believing this will bring peace. Yet, the US has not done this without thinking of their own gains.

In these upcoming months, it will be interesting to see if America can remain combatively uninvolved in taking ISIS down. Without Americans helping the fight, can the Sunnis degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS? And will Americans still be satisfied with the semantics of calling this initiative “a counter-terrorism operation”, or should it truly be called war?

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America’s “War” on Terrorism Continues