The fight against radical terrorists is difficult enough but it gets far more problematic when it becomes evident that the enemies that you are fighting against are the same ones that you are largely responsible for having created. And, if that's not bad enough, it gets even worse when you realize that you have, unwittingly, furnished that enemy with weapons that you left behind when exiting Iraq in 2011.
We're watching a new chapter of the War on Terror getting underway in the Middle East. Just recently President Obama proclaimed that "Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it's no longer a threat ---." I kind of think I've seen this movie before, one that featured G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the lead roles; a truly inspirational film in which G.W. Bush very eloquently stated that he was going to destroy every one of those Terrarists."
Just who is this ISIS and how did it suddenly emerge, seemingly out of nowhere? Some say its roots are to be found in Saudi Arabia while others say that it represents the remnants of Saddam Hussein's senior officer corps and associated local support networks in Iraq and Syria. The best that can be determined right now is that ISIS fighters first came on the scene in Syria's civil war in 2013 as one of the groups that were intent on bringing down the Syrian government. But the key issue is not its origins but where it's going to go from here.
ISIS is a very formidable fighting force, with significant funding and modern-day weaponry (a large portion of which was formerly was the property of the U.S. military), and its cause has attracted new recruits largely from the entire Middle East. New fighters are also joining it from other countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, countries that have long been the targets of U.S. drones. Others are known to be coming from Libya, that nation that was subjected to intense bombing by the U.S. and it Western allies. And, the most alarming development is the fact that several hundred new recruits have come from the U.S., Britain and other Western nations.
The American people seem to be quite conflicted on the issue of war. Most Americans have had enough of perpetual war, its monumental costs and the ongoing deaths of troops; they are fed up and want this government to proceed in a different direction. However, since they became aware of the ISIS atrocities, involving the beheading of two Americans, and they have heard the sound of war drums beating in the White House and the Congress, some 70% of them are now fully behind Mr. Obama's call for the destruction of ISIS.
On the other hand there are still many Americans who have heard the president call for this new Middle East operation designed to smash these terrorists and think that, here we go again; "shoot first and ask questions later", the old Bush Wild West doctrine. So some think the president is doing the right thing and others are adamant that he is going to initiate yet another misguided war.
Based on Mr. Obama's latest actions and the plan he has presented to combat the terrorists one might well conclude that he simply has given in to the immense pressure and power of the military establishment and is marching to the never-ending beat of its war drums. It's no great secret that for an American president to try to stand up to the military establishment is virtually impossible.