More than Words…And Airstrikes
I was surprised when I first heard about the Obama Administration’s decision to spearhead a US-led airstrike campaign against ISIL in Iraq a few months ago. As an Assyrian-American – the same ethnicity as one of the many Christian minority groups ISIL has targeted and massacred – I was thrilled that the United States was finally taking military action against ISIL. However, today, I, like many Americans, am frustrated by the seeming lack of impact these airstrikes have had.
Contrary to popular belief, the Obama Administration has been warned about the threat posed by ISIL since the beginning of 2014 and has only recently begun to take action. Despite the fact that the Obama Administration has vocalized its mission to “degrade and destroy” ISIL on several occasions, the only way in which the Administration has followed up on this mission is through airstrikes. These airstrikes have proven to have had a limited effect when it comes to aiding those suffering in the region or limiting ISIL’s military capabilities. Though the airstrikes have somewhat degraded the military capabilities of ISIL, it is clear that it will take much more than airstrikes to fully dismantle ISIL. Attacks from above alone will not bring ISIL to its knees.
Already, the public’s support for the Obama Administration’s ISIL strategy is eroding, and for good reason. Contrary to President Obama’s “no boots on the ground” strategy, support for sending troops into combat operations against ISIL is increasing. Americans are also growing more concerned that ISIL will orchestrate an attack in the United States. We cannot know for sure if the threat of an American terrorist attack is imminent; however, by not taking a stronger stand against ISIL abroad, the United States and the Obama Administration could be making a strategic error that could have real ramifications for the U.S. as ISIL continues to grow.
Nearly every time the world has seen tragedy in the form of mass killing, whether it be Rwanda, Darfur, or Cambodia—the United States has sworn its most famous and favorite promise: “never again.” However, by August of this year, ISIL had killed nearly 10,000 civilians, and, just this week, ISIL killed 322 members of an Iraqi Sunni tribe. If the United States government and the Obama Administration want to stay true to this mantra, they must either commit more American resources, perhaps even in the form of boots on the ground, to fight against ISIL or ally with other nations who have verbally committed to destroying ISIL and encourage them to take concrete action. The airstrikes are simply not cutting it.
- Nika Arzoumanian
Photo: News Talk Florida