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President Obama may have brought home all the ground troops from Iraq, but make no mistake, the war in the Middle East continues. Islamic extremists have reared their heads in the form of another terrorism group: ISIL.
How has the United States been combating this new threat? Since early August, the U.S. has been carrying out airstrikes against the group in Iraq. In retaliation, ISIL began beheading people and videoing the acts.
In late September, the U.S. teamed up with a handful of ally nations and began airstrikes in Syria with the U.S. and Great Britain doing the brunt of the work … again. Obama made it clear that air attacks are the sole strategy we will employ for combatting ISIL. But the question lingers — is it enough?
According to the White House, no troops will return to Iraq, and the president said he will not allow us to be dragged into another Iraq-style war. While these words are reassuring to many citizens of a nation that has grown tired of the never-ending war against terrorism, which has claimed the lives of thousands of troops, others argue airstrikes alone will not be enough.
Initially, it makes sense to launch strategically–pointed attacks by air against ISIL because we obviously have a distinct military advantage in the sky. But this tactic will likely drive the militants into hiding, where they will stay and plot until we leave, at which point they will reemerge to continue acts of ruthless violence.
ISIL is radical. To defeat an opponent so brutally dedicated and loyal, one must resort to radical measures. I’m just not sure that airstrikes will be enough to finish the job.
A former senior British general said ISIL could not be defeated without sending ground soldiers to finish what the airstrikes have begun.
Obama doesn’t want another Iraq war. Well, ISIL is not like al-Qaida in the way they present themselves. They have tanks, artillery, wealth and troops who form up in rank.
They don’t operate out of caves. They are an army. And to defeat an army, we must make them face the greatest army in the world.