Why President Obama’s Plans to Combat ISIS Show Competence in Leadership

obama-isis2This whole ISIS situation has left me scratching my head. So many people clamoring for “answers,” and often “outraged” because they’re not getting the ones they want. Even though they aren’t aware of what the right answers are.

Honestly, does anyone really know?

There are some who oppose any kind of military action in Syria or Iraq. While there are others who believe we should have sent ground troops in as far back as a year ago. But the truth is, there are no “right” answers for this situation. Just because some people want answers, doesn’t mean those answers actually exist.

Sure, we could do the “simple” thing. That is, send tens of thousands of American ground troops into Iraq and Syria. We would undoubtedly defeat ISIS. Nobody really questions that. But the question is, at what cost?

Sending ground troops back into Iraq, and into Syria, will ultimately mean another decade-long (if not longer) commitment to war and probably thousands of dead American troops.

And ultimately that’s probably what’s going to end up happening if we want to eradicate ISIS. But that doesn’t mean we should just jump off and send troops into these very hostile regions of the Middle East. Which is something President Obama knows.

Ordering airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria weakens ISIS in both countries. Not only does it weaken ISIS, but it buys us time to bring other nations on board with a long-term plan to deal with this dangerous terrorist group. That way we’re not going it alone, like we practically did during the Iraq War.

Besides, wouldn’t it make more sense to use airstrikes to weaken ISIS in both Syria and Iraq before sending in ground troops? Or would Republicans rather see our troops sent into these regions with ISIS at full strength?

Isn’t that just common sense? Drastically weaken your enemy with minimal risk before putting thousands of American lives in harm’s way.

ISIS is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. A terrorist organization trying to establish a massive Islamic state. The reason why the “plan” seems so murky right now is because nobody really knows the best way to deal with them. Sure, there are a lot of ideas, but none of them are clear-cut answers to this problem. Because let’s not forget we once had the “bright” idea of arming “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan to fight off the Soviet Union.

And I think we all know how that ultimately turned out. The Taliban was created.

President Obama’s competence is being shown because he’s using intelligence to handle this situation, unlike a certain previous president. Because the truth of the matter is, going to war shouldn’t be based on public opinion or comments made by media pundits. Just because people demand answers, a strategy and a clear conclusion – doesn’t mean one currently exists.

That’s not how the world works. Just because that’s what many people want, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. At least not yet.

It’s just like last year when people were throwing a fit because he threatened military strikes against Syria following the nation’s use of chemical weapons. Liberals were angry that he was acting like just another “warhawk president,” while Republicans were furious that he dared to actually do what they had been calling for all along.

But in the end, President Obama got Syria to surrender its chemical weapon stockpiles without firing a single shot. He realized that military action should only be used if absolutely necessary. Though I don’t believe for a moment that he planned to use military force in Syria. Which is why he put it on Congress to decide if we would, or wouldn’t, ultimately use our military. He knew that Congress is incapable of accomplishing anything, so all he really had to do was threaten airstrikes in Syria and he could get the Syrian government to surrender its chemical weapons.

He’s not someone like John McCain who, if he were president, would have had our troops in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and probably Iran. And no telling what he might be doing with Ukraine right now.

But in my opinion, President Obama is acting exactly how a president is supposed to act. And by that I mean he’s viewing war as a measure of last resort. Even if he knows, in the end, that’s probably what’s going to have to happen if we want to defeat ISIS.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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