Which countries are actually threatened by ISIS? This is a question that must be assessed. Similar questions were asked before The Vietnam War and again before the Iraqi invasion. Many wonder why is the United States Congress and President Obama preparing to go to war in Syria? Perhaps, there is a lot of miscommunication and there are questions that must be answered. Does ISIS, or ISIL, have planes or missiles with nuclear capabilities which could attack the United States? Are they threatening any U.S. allies, such as Israel, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, South Korea, or Canada? Many argue that the United States should stay clear of ISIS involvement, yet given the recent beheadings of American citizens, it is clear some action is needed.
Many argue the nations which are threatened by ISIS should fight their own battles. These countries directly threatened by ISIS include Iran, Syria, and Iraq. Some argue the United States is the most war-loving nation in modern history and always up for a fight. Others argue the U.S. government is using scare tactics to justify going to war again. Lindsey Graham outdid himself appearing on FOX News Sunday. This is a Bush/Cheney tactic adopted by the Senator from South Carolina: “This is a war we’re fighting, not a counterterrorism operation,” Graham stated. It is a turning point in the war on terror. He also challenged the president to rise to the occasion before U.S. citizens are threatened back home. Really? Many are questioning how ISIS is planning to invade U.S. soil and bring this conflict stateside.
Perhaps, if all our military and weapons were sent to other countries, the hyperbole could be justified. Some could argue the once great superpower that is the United States no longer leads the world in the same positive way it once did. The nation is currently in a quagmire with issues of health care, national debt, income, education, as well as many other concerns.
When assessing the ISIS threat, there is also a need to examine the U.S. history of war. It could be argued that the United States has lost every conflict it has been involved in since WWII. This is certainly the cause in Vietnam and Iraq. The conflicts dragged on for several years and nearly bankrupted the nation. Many will argue that if the U.S. engaged in a war in the Middle East, the nation will likely be fighting a lost cause in a country far from home yet again. Others have suggested that if President Obama and Congress are so eager to engage in war again, let them and their families do the fighting this time. The military is fatigued from years of war in Iraq and fighting wars so others can benefit and a select few can become wealthy. Moreover, when they return home from war, the government seems to neglect or forget about them.
The same mindset could be said about the government’s consideration for social programs in the nation, especially from the conservative side of the aisle. Particularly those programs which directly affect the nation’s working class. They always seem to find money for war, but what about the poor and disenfranchised? With war, victory is rare, the battle is brutal, and there are always casualties. An outrageous amount of money is wasted and thousands of lives are lost. Not to mention, the loved ones left behind grieving and children without their parents. When the fracas is over, nothing has been accomplished. Frequently, the situation was made worse by America’s intervention (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan). ISIS is undoubtedly as evil, or perhaps even more so than Al Qaeda, but is the United States the only country capable of stepping up to the challenge? That is an important query.
The ISIS threat must be assessed and investigated from all sides. Obama must respond in some way to the casual disregard for American lives ISIS has displayed. However, the central question remains is war the only option? Do U.S. troops once again pack up their gear and leave American shores to fight yet another war? Some could argue the military industrial complex needs to be revived and there is lots of money to be made. However, just look at the toll the U.S. endured in national debt and human costs fighting terrorism and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The battles have left the nation divided, exhausted, and virtually bankrupted.
Opinion By James Turnage