By Ryan Stephens
Breaking the silence, a plan to engage the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, otherwise known as ISIS, came forward from the Obama administration on September 10, with airstrikes occurring on September 23. Consisting of a comprehensive engagement policy of ISIS, initiatives to engage the group mean another attempt at conflict in the Middle East. Besides the airstrikes being a clear act of offense, opinions hold that it acted as a defensive one as well.
“We have to show that we are strong,” JROTC senior army instructor David Lambert said. “It’s a matter of time before an attack, we tend to ignore it until something happens.”
Since August 2014, ISIS began a campaign of messages directed at Western nations, starting off with the beheading of American journalist James Foley. Since then, several more executions occurred, all meant as a message to the governments and people of countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Direct threats pointed toward leaders, such as the Pope and others around the world, brings up an even greater sense of threat amongst the international community. With more and more threats looming from the group, calls for war become far louder.
“The fact is that they are persecuting and killing innocent Christians and we have to be the ones to step in and stop it,” junior Emma Childs said. “As much as it frustrates me sometimes that the U.S. seems to be involved in many different conflicts with different nations for different reasons, and yet are many times not directly being attacked on U.S. soil, I feel that we should be fighting back against ISIS.”
Despite the seemingly desperate need to combat the force, an unfortunate consequence of the conflict draws the coalition of the willing back into the same frying pan they tried hopping out of. As of September 24, current limits on engagement fall around air support with training planned for moderate groups in the region, however concerns over any sort of boots being put on the ground still rise up. The prospect of engagement this time draws more support than even the potential engagement planned in summer 2013 within Syria.
“I cannot for sure say we need more or less presence in the region that ISIS is having the most influence. However, within a reasonable limit, I think that ISIS needs to be stopped quickly and permanently, so if that means more boots on the ground then so be it,” Childs said.
Ultimately, the conflict with ISIS continues on with no foreseeable end currently. Much of the political, ethnic, and religious divisions continues to persist even with a ramping up of activity. With more and more world powers stepping in to finish the fight for stability in the region, an end to the sectarian violence seems more and more likely. Furthermore, for the ongoing and future American activity, a mission to remedy the Middle East rises up as an important goal.
“I don’t like sons and daughters to be in harms way but conflict must continue on until we put a stop to it,” Lambert said. “We’re not fighting a country, we’re fighting an ideology.”