19 September 2014

Obama Moves to Counter ISIS With Free Syrian Army


Just last week, President Barack Obama made an announcement on expanding the military campaign against ISIS, the Islamic State extremist group. About 40 countries have already agreed to provide military support to the U.S. in this campaign in Iraq and Syria. He hasn’t named the countries yet. Obama has stressed he is not looking to put troops on the ground. Our soldiers in Iraq will soon amass to 1,600, but were not sent to fight. Announcements will continue into the next week in New York at the United Nations General Assembly.

We will see how other countries’ support will move the military campaign forward. What’s concerning as the president moves forward with announcements is the divide between him and some lawmakers and military leaders.

The Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, says he might eventually recommend deploying ground troops in Syria if airstrikes were not sufficient to defeat the Islamic State extremists. But Obama clearly does not want to deploy combat troops. General Dempsey may have been talking about a possible contingency plan and some leaders may think the U.S. needs to be more aggressive with strategy, but the lack of alignment is an issue. Obama seems to be focusing on avoiding putting troops on the ground, and some are concerned the focus on eliminating the enemy isn’t strong enough.

Recently, the Senate authorized arming and training Syrian rebels to combat the Islamic State group. Obama says the vote shows the country is united in fighting ISIS and Americans don’t give in to fear.
No one can deny our country being united on fighting terrorism, but the president and some leaders still don’t quite see eye to eye on how to destroy our enemies. Obama says U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets will continue, but he stands strong at not allowing U.S. troops to have a combat role on the ground in Iraq or Syria.

Before the vote, the proposal faced two points of criticism. One was concerns with arming a group whose loyalties are uncertain. It could add to the conflict. Two was the group may not be aggressive enough to counter ISIS. Plus, the public s in general is skeptical and afraid of another long conflict in the Middle East.

What do you expect to come from the recent approval? Will training and equipping the Free Syrian Army be an aggressive enough strategy? How can the president, lawmakers, and military leaders move forward and become aligned?

Comment below or start the conversation here and connect within the military community.

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