BY KOBI AZOULAY
President Obama has been facing a lot of unfair criticism over his strategy against ISIL, attempting to balance defeating the terror group with avoiding war.
Now, after basing many special operators in Northern Syria to support the Kurdish Pershmerga and other local militias fighting the terror organization, the political pressure facing the president has reached ear popping levels.
Some war-weary Americans worry that by putting troops on the ground in Syria, we are creeping towards an inevitable full-scale invasion. This is possible, but unlikely under Obama because he has made it clear throughout his presidency that he does not want to engage in a full-scale invasion like the United States did during the Iraq war.
“If the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them,” Obama said, according to Politico.
There are already just over 3,000 troops stationed in Iraq supporting and training their security forces. Though these troops may face dangerous situations, they are not conducting their own combat missions.
Obama deserves credit for trying to handle this situation in a strategically and calculated way.
A December CNN/ORC poll showed that the majority of Americans support sending ground troops into combat operations in Iraq and Syria at 53 percent. What some of these people may not realize is that there are already ground troops there.
Going into a full-blown ground war is a decision that the American people do not take lightly, unlike war hawk politicians like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who already wants to send 10,000 American troops to Iraq.
These troops would be in grave danger, and we would have to commit to staying there until the mission is complete.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz once said that America should be able to defeat ISIL in 90 days, a timeframe that is terribly unrealistic.
Former General Martin Dempsey told Cruz at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in September that his plan is “not possible.”
“We could destroy a lot of equipment; we could drive them underground, if you will. But as I said, they will only be defeated or destroyed once they’re rejected by the populations in which they hide,” Dempsey said at the time.
Until those populations do as Dempsey said, another costly American occupation of Iraq would go to waste. The Iraq war caused thousands of brave American lives and trillions of dollars to be lost, and it is possible a full-scale war against ISIL would cost just as much, if not more.
Obama is trying to see if America can handle them without having to take on these horrible costs of war.
People that think America should go into Iraq and Syria with an iron fist have to see past defeating ISIL. It is definitely possible for us to send thousands of troops in to destroy their so-called “state,” but what happens next?
If we take them out and leave, there will be a vacuum for another terrorist group to come in and takeover, just as ISIL did after we overthrew Suddam Hussein.
Recently they have also gained territory in Libya, so if we commit to war with ISIL, we have to be ready to send troops to more than just Iraq and Syria.
Americans should not blame Obama for taking the moderate approach to this decision.
With one faction of Americans completely opposed to war, and another wanting to move aggressively toward it, we have a president that is finding the middle ground.
That is a rare occurrence in modern American politics, something we should all be able to appreciate.