WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014 — Vice President Joe Biden vowed that we would follow the Islamic State “to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice.” Unfortunately his words have not translated into reality, as the Islamic State’s forces continue their aggressive offensive despite an escalated bombing effort by US and coalition forces.
On Sunday, CNN reported that the Islamic State’s forces were very close to capturing the Syrian city of Kobani, near the Turkish border. Daily News also reported earlier last week that the Islamic State’s forces were “at the gates of Baghdad”. Many fear that despite air support from US forces, the Iraqi Army was vastly unprepared to defend the city. If Baghdad falls, the repercussions would be catastrophic, not to mention it undo over a decade’s worth of progress.
With the recent advances of the Islamic State’s forces and the recent beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning it’s becoming apparent that airstrikes are not enough. While some would argue that the majority of Americans do not want another war, if we do not stop the Islamic State now it will come back to haunt us. In response to the Islamic State’s latest victories the Pakistani Taliban have thrown their support behind the Islamic State. In a recent statement the Pakistani Taliban stated :
“Oh our brothers, we are proud of you in your victories. We are with you in your happiness and your sorrow, in these troubled days, we call for your patience and stability, especially now that all your enemies are united against you. Please put all your rivalries behind you… All Muslims in the world have great expectations of you … We are with you, we will provide you with Mujahideen [fighters] and with every possible support,”.
If this were not bad enough, the Islamic State’s latest victories have also provoked rival group Al Qaeda to ramp up their efforts to directly attack the US in an effort to show dominance.
Although the Obama Administration’s rhetoric makes for some good soundbites, it seems they are unable to follow through with the action required to stop the spread of the Islamic State. However we must not forget that we would not be in the mess had the Obama Administration listened to the military experts who advised against pulling all the troops out of Iraq.
The situation in Iraq and Syria is deteriorating and will only get worse if we do not act swiftly. Although simply bombing the area without deploying ground troops will score the President points with his liberal base ahead of this year’s midterm election, it will take a lot more to mitigate the situation. Recently on CNN’s “State of the Union” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said it best when he said:
“There is no way I can see how we’re going to fix the problem in Iraq in Syria without American ground troops. This mythical Arab army we’re trying to get up to go in on the ground in Syria will need a lot of American hand-holding. Mr. President, level with the American people: You need boots on the ground. American soldiers to go to Syria and Iraq as part of a coalition, and we’re going to need more than 4,000 to destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”
The Islamic State is not planning on going away anytime soon and they will continue to build their Caliphate in an attempt to recapture the glory days of the former Islamic Empire. If left unchecked the results would be catastrophic. We need to increase our efforts to end the Islamic State’s reign of terror even if it means re-deploying ground forces.