The end of the beginning for ISIS

By Dwight L. Schwab, Jr.

Although it wasn’t Franklin Roosevelt’s declaration of war on the Japanese in 1941, most Republicans are behind President Barack Obama’s pledge yesterday to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State (ISIS). Few specifics were provided as to how that will be accomplished however.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, “A speech is not the same thing as a strategy. While the president presented a compelling case for action, many questions remain about the way in which the president intends to act.”

Nevertheless, the Republicans will be on board for the initial steps the president plans to make in the ISIS crisis. One critic, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) was a bit more skeptical, “Obama is a great speech giver. It’s the follow through I have problems with,” he told Newsmax magazine.

He continued, “There’s a lot of cynicism out there. We all believe that it is a top priority to completely eradicate any threat from ISIS and do whatever it takes, but a lot of us are very, very sick and tired of the speeches that don’t really translate into any real meaningful action.

Obama spoke from the Pentagon declaring the United States would “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in an effort relying heavily on massive air strikes in Iraq and into Syria. No ground troops are planned at this time.

Obama’s entire speech lasted just under 15 minutes. But he made full use of the limited air time by ruling out any possibility of sending American troops into combat. He also called on Congress to authorize a program to train and arm rebels in Syria who are fighting both the Islamic State and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

There was no mention of the cost or how the money would be acquired. The Saudi’s have offered to host the training missions, part of Obama’s effort to persuade other nations to join with the United States in confronting the militants.

Time will tell how effective these initial measures are in combating sworn extremists who live and survive on terror. Rep. John Mica (R-FL) snidely said after the speech, “This should’ve been done months ago as they gained strength. I consider this one of the greatest intelligence failures since 9/11.”

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