Watch out ISIS, eleven years, thousands of lives, and $1.7 trillion later, we’re going back in! But to a lesser extent…
In his address to the nation, President Obama outlined a multi-phase plan for combating IS (the militants formerly known as ISIS), saying the country would lead a “broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”
The multi-phase plan can be summed up as follows:
Phase One: Airstrikes galore
Phase Two: Train the Iraqi military (for a while)
Phase Three: Deal with Syria
But the President was quick to stress that the U.S. efforts against Islamic State will not, I repeat NOT, escalate to a full-blown war. While he admitted airstrikes alone would not defeat IS, Obama said, “the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi.”
“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. While the U.S. will send 475 service members to Iraq, they will “not have a combat mission,” but rather, provide intelligence, training, and equipment.
“We will not be dragged into another ground war,” said Obama. “We cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves.”
Judging from the current state of the Iraqi military, this war will be going on for a while…
Luckily this time around, the U.S has a few allies (and more evidence to support their claim that ISIS is evil than they had to support the theory that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMDs). Already, France has agreed to support airstrikes and ten Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have agreed to rally with the US in tackling the threat posed by the jihadists.
So far the U.S. has conducted more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq in an effort to halt IS’s advances and they aren’t afraid to head into Syria. While the U.S has refrained from seeking the help of Syrian President/Dictator Bashar al-Assad in the fight against Islamic State, Obama made it clear in his speech that the U.S. “will not hesitate” to go into Syria if need be.
“If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Obama said.
As for congressional approval, Obama isn’t too worried. Although the President said he has the “authority to address the threat” posed by ISIS, he “welcomes congressional support to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.” Obama has also asked Congress to allocate $5 billion for counterrorism funding, which may end up being a bigger fight than the one against IS in Iraq.