The Truth About ISIS Isn’t What Many Americans are Going to Want to Hear

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By now I’m willing to bet that most Americans have heard of the terrorist organization known as ISIS (also referred to as ISIL). This group is quite possibly the most organized, and extreme, Islamic terrorist group we’ve ever seen. To give everyone an idea of just how extreme this group is, even al-Qaeda pulled away from associating with them because ISIS is too radical.

That fact alone says quite a lot.

But as ISIS’s influence, and brutality, spread across many parts of Iraq, it finally forced President Obama to order strategic airstrikes with the hope of weakening their forces. It’s a decision that President Obama clearly didn’t want to make. After over a decade of war, the last thing most Americans want to hear is anything that even hints that we might be getting ourselves mixed up in another war.

And while the airstrikes have been somewhat successful, I’ve got some bad news – they’re not going to be enough. If we’re really serious about taking out ISIS (which I believe we need to do), then we’re eventually going to have to send ground troops back into Iraq.

Because ISIS isn’t something that can simply be ignored. They’re a group that clearly wants to create some massive, radical Islamic state in the Middle East. Right now they’re targeting Syria and Iraq, but I can promise you they won’t stop there. And the longer they’re ignored, the stronger they’re going to get. It’s really not outside of the realm of possibilities that they’ll try conquering one nation at a time in an effort to create a massive radical Islamic empire if they’re not tackled head on.

Now I know a lot of people are absolutely, and unequivocally, opposed to getting involved in any kind of war. And I understand that. But I also think it’s clear that President Obama is trying to avoid what I feel is inevitable. That is, sending troops back into Iraq.

But the harsh truth about war is that our involvement in it shouldn’t be based on public opinion or how many we’ve fought. If war is needed, then it’s needed. While war should always be avoided at all costs, and only used if all other options have been exhausted, it can’t be taken off the table.

War isn’t – and should never be – popular.

And I think with ISIS, it’s clear the president really doesn’t want to do what deep down he knows he’s eventually going to have to. Which is how a president should act about war. It shouldn’t be one of a president’s first options, but their absolute last.

I guess this is all just the ultimate “ironic twist” to the incompetence of the Bush administration. Because of G.W. Bush’s ineptitude, Iraq finally became the threat that it never was in 2003 when he lied to the American people and took us to war.

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.


Facebook comments

  • Corey

    ISIS or al-Qaeda or any other radical Muslim group is never going away. One look at history tells us, all radical groups survive in one form or another, unless successfully snuffed out of history, which is literally impossible to day in this day and era. Take Christianity for instance. At one time, this was supposedly a man named Jesus who had a small handful of outcasts (as the story goes) spread his “message”. While being successful at getting thrown into lions pits in Rome, some how this movement took over the world basically. Constantine had a vision in the clouds of a cross I believe also, so he killed all non-Christians…Hitler wiped out millions of the “unsaved” and Puritans were successful at exterminating a whole religious cutlets based on nature which became the USA. We all know the different versions, but one thing is clear, Christianity and Islam started small and now are the two largest religions on the planet from what I understand. I also understand that Islam, not Christianity, is the quickest growing religion. So it’s needless to say, that the two most violent religions are vying for control of the world and have been literally for thousands of years. Neither is going away, and they will compete, no matter how bloody, for position of CEO/CFO of the world!

    • Stephen Barlow

      If we go to such lengths as to completely fund a Jewish State called Israel and defend it to our detriment, then a Free Islamic State in a region with 100 times more Muslims than Jews shouldn’t be out of the question. Even if we have to grant them ancestral lands (for the same reason the Jews got jerusalem) sitting on top of a buttload of oil.

      But the hate American’s receive for their racist two faced policy is a little over the top, but completely understandable. America has EARNED this hatred by meddling in sovereign governments and unique cultures for the last 75 years.

      • Asher B. Garber

        Hey, Numbnuts…. America doesn’t fully fun a Jewish State. So go fuck yourself with a chainsaw.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Israel has NEVER had a positive GDP. Without American dependence, they would have been bankrupt every year since 1949. $6 billion in military aid and a VISAcard for more munitions plus $3-6 billion in economic aid annually is pretty much TOTAL DEPENDENCE on the American tax payer.

        “We stand completely behind Israel against any threat by her enemies” is about as much of a defense as anyone ever needs. Being a US ally kept Stalin from invading all of Germany, and the rest of mainland Europe after WWII. It keeps North Korea at bay. BEing 100% US protected keep 300 million Muslims from swamping Israel and putting all 7.9 million Jews to the sword in one day.

      • Stephen Barlow

        I hate the ignorant and the intentionally deceitful. People like you. But as far as having fairy tale beliefs about being ‘chosen’ by an figment of a sunstroked bedouin’s imagination… I could care less, but I don’t even bother to.

  • Jim Bean

    Are you serious? At the rate your going Allen, you’re going to be right wing extremist before the next election cycle.
    I do agree with your assertion that this cannot be done without ground forces. However, if it was up to me, we’d wait awhile. We need to allow it to get bad enough that the rest of the free world feels compelled to step up to the plate and help. While we may be in the best position to police the world, we’ve allowed them to sit back and let us shoulder the lion’s share of the burden. That not only weighs unfairly on our blood and treasure but it creates the perception that the US is the only one that thinks something is a problem needing dealt with and it makes us the number one target of retribution.

    • mre2000

      You dont think we’re “waiting awhile?” I didnt see a single comment relative to time frame aside from Obama “eventually” having to act, which implies sometime before Jan 2017.

      And considering how bad things have become already, it wont take long for things to get exponentially worse. If they eventually move into jordan and lebanon, things are going to start spiraling downhill fast.

      BTW 36 countries were involved in Iraq based on a pack of lies. I don’t see it being too tough to have international support based on clear facts and realities.

      • Jim Bean

        Who is on board now? How many troops are they committing? And doing something on a schedule (getting out of Iraq) rather than re-evaluating on a daily basis is part of what fueled this mess.

      • mre2000

        No better way to answer you then to let the current guy explain it to you. AGAIN.

        Q Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S. — is it doing the same thing in Afghanistan?
        THE PRESIDENT: What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision. Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.

        And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances. And on that basis, we left. We had offered to leave additional troops. So when you hear people say, do you regret, Mr. President, not leaving more troops, that presupposes that I would have overridden this sovereign government that we had turned the keys back over to and said, you know what, you’re democratic, you’re sovereign, except if I decide that it’s good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 Marines in your country, you don’t have a choice — which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to Iraqis, an argument not just made by me, but made by the previous administration.
        So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because the Iraqis were — a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq.
        Having said all that, if in fact the Iraqi government behaved the way it did over the last five, six years, where it failed to pass legislation that would reincorporate Sunnis and give them a sense of ownership; if it had targeted certain Sunni leaders and jailed them; if it had alienated some of the Sunni tribes that we had brought back in during the so-called Awakening that helped us turn the tide in 2006 — if they had done all those things and we had had troops there, the country wouldn’t be holding together either. The only difference would be we’d have a bunch of troops on the ground that would be vulnerable. And however many troops we had, we would have to now be reinforcing, I’d have to be protecting them, and we’d have a much bigger job. And probably, we would end up having to go up again in terms of the number of grounds troops to make sure that those forces were not vulnerable.
        So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. But it gets frequently peddled around here by folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Well Said Mr President.

        Q: “Mr President, do you regret NOT investigating the Bush Administration for Fraud, war crimes, corruption and fiscal malfeasance?

        A: “FUC* YEAH!!!!”

      • Modi

        Could you then explain how this alternate version of reality explains why for three years as President he didn’t work out a status of forces agreement with Iraq and then during the lead up to the 2012 election in a debate with Romney, Obama quite clearly pointed out that he and Romney differed on the idea of having one— Romney wanted one, Obama said he did NOT want an agreement leaving troops there. Is it any wonder that no agreement was achieved by Obama? But yet, now in 2014 when Iraq goes to hell in a hand basket, it’s back to blaming “the previous administration” and the Iraqis?Are you really this gullible or do you have selective amnesia?

      • mre2000

        BTW Iraq went to hell in a hand basket BECAUSE we invaded, Einstein.

      • Modi

        Oh, I see.. So the guy who used to be in charge there killing thousands of his own people, violating UN Resolutions by the dozen, starving his people while he did crooked deals under the Oil For Food program, and being an open sponsor of terror, while NOT abiding by the terms of his own surrender don’t factor into anything eh? Nor do the WMDs which have long been suspected to have been moved to Syria (even by the chief inspector who issued the report there were no WMDs in Iraq that you tools love to selectively quote- forgetting the part he said about trucks going to Syria while we jerked around at the UN before going in and nobody knowing what was on those trucks) I’m not going to say Bush’s people didn’t manage the plan B aftermath perfectly, but Iraq was STABLE when Bush left office if you quit the selective amnesia for a moment, Einstein.

      • mre2000

        “So the guy who used to be in charge there killing thousands of his own people, violating UN Resolutions by the dozen, starving his people while he did crooked deals under the Oil For Food program, and being an open sponsor of terror, while NOT abiding by the terms of his own surrender don’t factor into anything eh? ”

        No, ass hat…. We were supposed to be going after those who perpetrated 9/11… REMEMBER???

        But they need people like you to buy the crap they’re selling. Focus lost, strategy changed, then you’re on a message board to argue in support of the whole entire clusterfuck.


      • Modi

        Laughable selective inclusions and omissions in your version of reality. Not worth wasting time on. I’ll leave you here with the choir where there will be no danger of you having to actually debate anything using inclusive facts and reality. Remember, we are all born ignorant, but one has to work hard to remain stupid. You’re obviously a very hard worker.

      • mre2000

        When you run out of coherent arguments, run away with your tail between your legs and make it sound like the other guy is the idiot.

        But we both know better don’t we.

      • Stephen Barlow

        With a specific mission on paper, a goal to reach.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Why they are even trading with us is a surprise. Oh yeah, we still as the #1 consumer of goods in the worlds, using up 40% of the world’s resources.

        We should be charging THEM for doing business HERE. Pay down the debt FAST that way.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I agree about letting the rest of Western Europe step up. I mean they cowered @ Putin in the Ukraine, fearing a gas stranglehold. Expect it again this winter, but early, not in February.

      I think we should have shut our border on 9/12, rounded u all the middle eastern visa holders and expelled them on a barge @ the 200 mile limit and said you want ’em back, come and get ’em. I would have NEVER built a wall. Instead I would have made the entire 10 mile strip of border a live fire range for the combined military forces. A testing ground and I might even have mined the land with air drops along the frequent coyote routes.

      That would have dissuaded a LOT of trespassers AND made them SPIES for being on a military compound without authorization. Any child born of a spy could be deemed a non citizen if Congress acted on it.

  • Pipercat

    Their success is due in part to their organization; which is why others have shunned them. They are organized the same was as a criminal enterprise. Creating economic tyranny is as important as ideological tyranny. They are basically, self financed.

    • Stephen Barlow

      Oil money from other Arab Nations, mot like the bulk of which comes from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.

  • Sunnysmom

    Whatever we do, the international community had better be on board. This is about all of us. We shouldn’t have to bear the burden of this. I would ONLY support more U.S. ground troops if it was multi-lateral action.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I agree. I don;t even like the bombing, but when I see a beheading of an innocent or hear death threats to those who don’t share your faith, I kinda get a NO MERCY attitude. Mr Obama, sign that new contract for megatons of napalm please!

  • OldCowboy

    “If we’re really serious about taking out ISIS (which I believe we need to do), then we’re eventually going to have to send ground troops back into Iraq.”

    Fuck you Allen Clifton and the horse you rode in on. I never liked him either.

    If you think the Vietnam protests were violent, wait until the extant veterans from Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, and Iraq weigh in on more ground troops in the middle east.

    • Stephen Barlow

      The media won’t cover it like the FergMO murder. I always thought the media blackout and censorship to HIDE the horror of War in Iraq and AFPAK was a war crime in itself.

  • rossbro

    We should be able to shrink their sphere of influence with air power alone. Keep bombing troop concentrations and vehicles with weapons in the back.

    • Stephen Barlow

      But they have learned not to concentrate. If we had learned that lesson from VietNam and STOPPED using WWII style military strategy (you know the 90 day wonder, Missions Accomplished FlyBy” kind) we might have been more successful than the russian. I mean we did exactly what the Russians did to get beaten and embarassed in Afghanistan.

      AirPower the way you think it would work, would kill more civilians than soldiers because you would be carpet bombing. Which I thought we should have done in 1979 30 days after the embassy takeover and hostage crisis. Just pick an Iranian military base and level it with round the clock carpet bombing of mixed HE and WP.

      Then givet he Aya asshole 24 hours to deliver the Americans or Tehran gets the same deal for a week. But I was only a PFC so what did I know.

  • The author should send his male family members to Iraq first. He seems to want our troops there, but I’ll bet he doesn’t have a dog in the fight.

  • john

    If we do go back in, there’s two things Obama should do: 1) get congressional approval, so the Republicans can’t yell that this is “Obama’s War”. 2) make sure it’s financed before one boot hits the ground. No more putting wars on credit cards, this has to be cash and carry.

    • Modi

      Umm… Bush had Congressional approval and liberals are still yapping about it being Bush’s war as proven right here on this page. Has the country ever fought a war that wasn’t on the credit card?

      • mre2000

        You don’t give tax cuts to the wealthy, lie about evidence to go to war,bget congressional approval based on said pack of lies, then start said war completely unfunded. You aren’t very edu-ma-cated are ya billy bob.

        But i get it. you like and believe in the war. Bush was right and obama was wrong. you’re such a tough read.

        Not wasting any more time on you. Go brush your tooth.

      • Modi

        Can you tell me a group who didn’t get a tax cut under the Bush tax cuts? Maybe you should try the IRS webpage and research taxes a bit before you keep buying that same tired slogan the gullible keep falling for about “tax cuts only for the rich” or “tax cuts that benefit mostly the rich.” It’s a misleading play on words that has ZERO basis in reality.

        Do you think those across the board cuts were “only for the wealthy because under those cuts the dollar amounts kept by the wealthy were higher than those with lower incomes? If Bill Gates gets a 5% cut and you get a 5% cut… 5% is 5%, but of course his dollars add up to a lot more because 5% of his income is a lot more… BUT IT’S HIS MONEY HE’S BEING ALLOWED TO KEEP. That’s not money he’s taking from someone else.

        But that’s the word play used year after year by the left to dupe the gullible into thinking they are somehow being cheated by the rich.

        Do you believe in liberty and individual rights for all Americans or is there a cutoff at an income level where liberty and individual rights are taken away or somehow rendered invalid?

        Second… name me a war the United States has ever gone into that was fully funded and did not add to the debt. Hint- NO SUCH THING. And I’m sure all the pork and ridiculous spending in addition to the wars didn’t factor into the debt and/or deficit in any way, right? How about the continuing deficit and still rising debt? Is that still Bush’s fault? Or might the current congress and president have something to do with that? Under Bush during his 8 years, a ridiculous amount was added to the debt. Under Obama, in only 5 years it’s almost double what Bush added already and still climbing. That’s not Bush. It’s the current crop in office.

        Nice job regurgitating slogans and propaganda and really predictable on the insults by the way. Totally typical.

      • mre2000

        Its called tax cuts for the wealthy because tax cuts for everyone else don’t to SHIT jackwagon.

        The cost of the Bush tax cuts are now estimated at $6.6 trillion. Cost of Iraq war, $2 trillion with estimates at $6 trillion over the next 4 decades when considering interest and veteran services.

        Defend your little tax cuts. Im not giving current administration a pass, you’re giving the last administration a pass. like I said, they need stupid sheep like you to keep passing everything off like it was a good thing.

        I’m done with you. From this point forward you’re talking to yourself.

      • Al Johnson

        Alice Walton is worth 21 BILLION dollars, while half of her employees at her family’s Walmart stores are eligible for food stamps. American workers are expected to make up what she would have paid in taxes because she is a ” job creator”. American taxpayers are also expected to pay for her employees food stamps because the jobs she creates don’t pay enough to get by.
        Is it really too much to ask the ” job creators ” to get by on a a few billion less so that you and I, the American taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for her employees food stamps…

      • john

        1. Revenue Act of 1942 – helped fund WW2
        2. Current Tax Payment Act of 1943 – helped fund WW2
        3. Excess Profits Tax of 1950 – helped fund Korean War
        4. Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968 – Helped fund Vietnam War
        5: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 – helped fund the first Gulf War

      • mre2000

        Oh no… Actual facts to dismiss!

  • Passie

    As long as every family in The U.S. Sends a family member, I’m with you on this.

  • D.j. Maverick

    When troops hit the ground in Iraq, you can be sure that ISIS will do anything and everything to capture live US troops and then behead them on TV for the world to see…what will be the response from the public when a dozen soldiers are summarily executed by beheading 1 at a time while the other condemned watch in horror knowing what awaits them in moments? The rightwing noise machine (Fox et al) will immediately blame Obama. This is easy to predict. But what about the straight mainstream media and what about main street America? Will they blame the President and demand troops come home immediately? Will they blame ISIS and demand an overwhelming offensive and possible use of nukes to prove a point? If there was a loyal opposition like there used to be only 6 short years ago, then perhaps things could get ratcheted down, but the war hawks hear the war drums in the distance and they’re ready to rumble….

  • Larry Ham

    Why are we going at this alone? Isn’t this a world wide party? Where the heck is the UN?

    I agree with this writer but Congress and the president should work with other nations to stamp out this common enemy.

  • Billbow

    If Dick Cheney hadn’t opened the door for ISIS by invading Iraq and if John McCain hadn’t befriended the terrorists by telling them that Obama is not going to do anything, they would have remained just a bunch of rag-tag crazies. Now, they are coming for America and will start with the 1% who benefit from killing and warfare, then they will come for the racist hate mongers, militias, KKK, neo-Nazis, and Tea Party. And finally, the Christian religious freaks.

  • DavidD

    I don’t agree.They are not ten feet tall and bullet proof.They have about ten thousand fighters surronded by every one else in the Middle East who hate them.
    The Islamic world has pretty well spoke with one voice in condemming them because of their tactics and putting our boots on the ground always seems to have the opposite effect in the bizzaro world of the Middle East.
    I’m not against some drone strikes against thier leadership or dropping a daisy cutter on them if they get together for a pep rally but let’s not get carried away in the current hysteria .