The conflict against ISIS: What is our role?


By: Elaine Laux – Political Science – UD College Republicans President & Cooper Harris- Business -UD College Republicans Member

President Barack Obama’s inability to make a straightforward decision regarding the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is one of many instances that highlights his administration’s weak foreign policy.

When the predicament first came about, Obama did nothing to deter ISIS from their criminal actions.

These actions range from the destruction of places of worship to the genocide of people of other faiths in both Iraq and Syria.

In fact, Obama thought that ISIS was such a weak threat at the time that he called the terrorist group a “JV team” back in January – the same group that even al-Qaida considers too radical for them.

As ISIS continued to grow, there were more and more atrocities that the American public began to hear of; however, Obama’s administration continued to sit on their hands.

This all escalated to a new level when James Foley, an American journalist and a captive of ISIS, had a videotaped execution which also included a threat to the United States.

In the aftermath, Obama did nothing but give basic protocol speeches and proceed to play golf in Martha’s Vineyard, since he was on vacation at the time.

This is while David Cameron, prime minister of England, took action to identify the threat to take down ISIS.

While it did take until this month for Obama to allow airstrikes on ISIS, it is better late than never.

The Republican Party generally supports the president’s actions, but the more conservative members of the party also call for greater and more sustained involvement.

If the United States were to go to war, we need to do it in the most fiscally and militarily responsible way that we can.

No one, Democrats and Republicans alike, wants to see a repeat of the Iraq War.

We should learn from our mistakes, while at the same time be willing to actively address threats to both our allies and the United States itself.

We are going to need help to execute our plan against ISIS, and this help will need to come from other members of the international community who also do not stand for this kind of extreme violence.

Like Senator Rand Paul said, “Ultimately, civilized Islam will have to step up. We need to do everything we can to protect ourselves.”

I’m all in for saying we have to combat ISIS, but ultimately the long-term victory is going to require allies who are part of the civilized Islamic world, which is the majority of the Islamic world, to step up.

Frankly, they have been allowing too much of this to go on.

ISIS has already reached out and threatened us by publicly beheading two of our citizens; therefore, it is time for America to get off the backburner of foreign policy and remind the world of our strength as a nation.


By: Michael Brill – Junior – Political Science

UD College Democrats President

Foreign policy issues are interesting because they are often not partisan. Many Republicans support the president’s plan against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, whereas some Democrats oppose it.

I hope that the similarities between our two opinions show that the United States can set aside partisan politics and unite against a common enemy.

“My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.” – President Barack Obama, Sept. 10.

This statement comes in spite of Obama’s previous policies of ending U.S. involvement in Iraq. Political analysts are speculating on the reason for the change in President Obama’s policy in the Middle East, while, in fact, the president’s policy has not changed. The situation is what changed. Obama is simply responding.

ISIS has been rapidly gaining power in the Middle East since May. They are a militant jihadist group of the Sunni denomination that have kidnapped schoolboys and publicly murdered journalists as they sweep through the Middle East.

They currently control a large territory that encompasses much of Iraq and Syria, including major cities such as Aleppo, Tikrit and Mosul.

What has changed is that ISIS is a threat to the security of the United States and its allies and a threat to stability in the Middle East. This extremist group must be stopped and its human rights violations must be ended.

President Obama has a four point plan to deal with ISIS: airstrikes, support of ISIS’s enemies, counterterrorism and humanitarian aid to those impacted by ISIS’s terrorism.

It is clear that strategic air strikes will be effective in damaging the ISIS forces. The president has already successfully struck ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

It is important the administration continue these strikes to cause significant damage to the terrorist group without putting American soldiers in harm’s way.

Strategic airstrikes in support of Iraqi troops and Syrian rebels are important to our victory, however, it is pertinent that we do not go too far in supporting groups who may not be our allies in the future.

Too many times in the past we have given arms to rebel groups only to have those same weapons used against U.S. troops. Who is to say the Syrian rebels will not turn against us in the future?

It is important we realize that a few thousand armed Syrian rebels will likely be no match for over 30,000 ISIS fighters. Those weapons could end in the hands of the Islamic State. Obama and Congress should rethink arming militant groups, as it has backfired in the past.

Obama’s counterterrorism and humanitarian goals, however, are important ones. It is pertinent we work to prevent acts of terrorism in the U.S. and across the globe, and we must continue aiding those in the Middle East who are the victims of ISIS’s human rights atrocities.

Our current plan of action is lacking. We should cripple the source of these terrorists’ strength.

Control of Syrian oil fields has given the Islamic State a source of funding for their movement. They are smuggling the oil across the border into Turkey. If the U.S. cuts off their oil sales, the Islamic State will wither away as quickly as they rose up.

This should be our strategic focus right now.

I would also not rule out putting boots on the ground in the future. The president and Congress will find it hard to do so, due to the unpopularity of the Iraq War.

It is clear, however, this situation is much different. Our nation’s leaders should treat it as such.

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper