The night before the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, President Barrack Obama gave a nationally televised address that focused on the United States’s campaign against the Sunni extremist group known as, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In his address, Obama authorized the use of airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Obama also mentioned that he would be sending close to 500 military advisers to Iraq, where the United States have promised to help the government fight the militant group. Obama vowed to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS with routine airstrikes in northern. Obama declared that “we will not get dragged into another ground war with Iraq.”
On Tuesday, October 7, almost one month after President Obama’s speech, ISIS militants are now clashing with Kurdish fighters in the tiny town of Kobani in northern Syria. As the United States conduct airstrikes to aid the Kurdish fighters, it is becoming apparent that Kobani will soon fall.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary and Chief Spokesman for the Department of Defense, candidly warned that the United States air-led campaign will not save Kobani, or any other Syrian towns that are under ISIS assault. “The ground forces that matter the most are indigenous ground forces, and we don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now” he later added.
ISIS fighters marching through Raqqa, Syria. (CNN)
It is very unsettling to hear the spokesperson for the Department of Defense claim that the United States does not have any partnership with ground forces in Syria. With ISIS forces gaining ground in both Iraq and Syria, it appears to be imminent that the United States will soon have to deploy ground forces and not rely solely on airstrikes to push back the militants.
The biggest problem the United States faces, is trying to uproot and destroy the Islamic State’s army in Iraq and Syria, by using American airstrikes and without any ground troops. Many national security experts are claiming Obama’s strategy of systematic airstrikes to eventually fail. Thus, increasing the possibility of ground forces being deployed.
While President Obama has already sent over five hundred military officers to advise and assist with the fighting in northern Iraq. However, some politicians and analysts insist that the president must get ground troops closer to the fighting. Retired Army General John Keane, an architect of the 2007 Iraq War troop increase carried out by General David H. Petraeus, expressed the need of American advisors being closer to the battle. “If we don’t ultimately send in American combat troops, we’re going to lose”, Keane later added in his interview with Marie Harf of Fox News.
General Keane is not the only one expressing the need for ground forces to fight ISIS. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that if the current situation with the fighting in Northern Iraq and Syria continue, he would recommend sending in ground troops to the president. President Obama has remained adamant in his stance of not deploying any U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS and will only useairstrikes to aid the fighting.
President Barrack Obama discussing the situation in Northern Iraq with Joint Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey (AP Photo/ White House)
Many United States military officials have openly addressed the possibility of sending ground troops to the fighting. It is becoming more and more evident that we are slowly leaning towards eventually deploying troops back overseas. Thus, making Obama retract his statements about keeping U.S. troops out of the fighting against ISIS. Military officials are not the only ones publicly speaking against Obama’s use of airstrikes against ISIS.
However, some Republicans have strongly urged the use of American ground troops, claiming it to eventually become necessary. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that U.S. Special Forces will likely need to be deployed to determine how effective the air campaign is. “If we need Special Forces there – if that’s what the generals say, then we need to do it,” he later added.
In a recent CBS News poll, it was found that sixty-five percent of Americans say that the United States will eventually have to use ground combat forces to remove the threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But are Obama’s constant airstrikes considered an act of war? The poll resulted in 56 percent of American citizens who consider the current air campaign against ISIS a military action but not a war. As well as, 40 percent think that the United States are already at war. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to view U.S. airstrikes against ISIS as a war. It was also found that 53 percent of Americans are now concerned that U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria will soon lead to a long and costly involvement in the area.
How soon will it be before the United States has to establish a ground force to fight the threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria?
Retired Staff Sergeant Brad McVaugh, of Corolla, North Carolina, claimed the future deployment of U.S. combat troops to Iraq and Syria to be soon. “It is just a matter of time before ISIS adapts to the airstrikes and finds a new way to attack us,” he explained. McVaugh described how the militants would, “find a way to hide from the airstrikes and fire back at us.” McVaugh pointed out the impending fact, “Obama needs to do something before a future attack happens and before his term is over.”
With the eyes of the world focusing on Iraq and Syria. Leaders are also looking to the United States for its next move. So far, President Obama remains firm on his stance of keeping troops at bay. However, as public opinion agrees with the eventual deployment of troops. Many military officials and politicians on Capitol Hill are becoming outspoken each day.
On ABC’s segment “This Week,” Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke about the looming possibility of ground troops being deployed and how Obama’s airstrike strategy will soon fail. “At the end of the day, I think it’s going to take more than air strikes to drive them out of there. At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground,” he said. “That’s the whole point.”