The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Obama Vows To “destroy and degrade,” ISIS Beheads Another

On Sept. 10, 2014, one day before the 13th anniversary of 9/11, President Obama announced an upsurge on the fight against Islamic State terrorists.  He spoke of plans to augment airstrikes in Iraq, send more U.S. military advisers to Baghdad, provide arms to Syrian rebels and begin airstrikes in Syria.

ISIL, also known as ISIS, or The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a terrorist group,  formerly Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, has gained huge portions of territory on the Iraq-Syrian border as a result of the Syrian civil war. ISIS has killed hundreds of civilians, including a pair of American journalists and most recently, a British aid worker.

President Obama’s announcement   ordered 475 new military advisers to Iraq to aid in humanitarian activites. This is in addition to the 300 advisers he sent in June and the 130 U.S. personnel he sent last month.

Erik Brown, a junior ROTC cadet at St. John’s, expressed his opinions on the plan that Obama announced last week from his military perspective.

“I am glad that he [President Obama] is finally coming around to realizing that the action needs to be taken now. ISIS is not going to fall apart on its own. It is strong, it’s organized and it needs decisive action to take it out. I am glad that he is finally coming around to that.” Brown said.

The public meanwhile, has criticized the president on the handling of the situation, as he previously claimed his administration did not have a strategy for dealing with ISIS only two weeks ago.

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter terrorism campaign will be waged by a steady relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever it may exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground,” President Obama said during the press conference on Sept. 10.

Last month, President Obama ordered more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq, which have saved the lives of innocent men and women. He has also asked Congress for the authority to give weapons and training into Syrian rebels.

“I believe that the airstrikes are at the least what we should be doing at the moment. I remember he [President Obama] was talking about that we need to give more support to the Iraqis and our allies on the ground. The airstrikes need to come in. I can’t go as far in saying that we need to put U.S. troops on the ground, because simply the American people will not support that. We don’t want a third war in Iraq at the moment, but I am glad that the airstrikes are at a necessity. I do not believe it will be a third war in Iraq simply because there is no way to sell that to the American people. People are more wary. We have been fighting in Iraq for so long and we just got out. People are not going to want to go back in,” Brown explained.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron recently laid out a plan about security at home. Erik Brown expressed his opinion on whether or not President Obama should have addressed security on the homeland.

“I’m sure behind the scenes they have discussed the issue plenty. So much happens behind the scenes that the American people don’t see. I personally do not think that ISIS has the capability to attack the U.S. at the current moment. I do not believe that the way they operate, they are an army.” Brown said. “They are not a terrorist group who sits in different cell areas. They are an army on the ground. They have no capability to attack the U.S. in my opinion. Of course, I could be wrong. I simply do not know but I’m sure he maybe could’ve addressed the issue and could have simply said that at the moment they don’t have the capability; do not be alarmed. But the fact that he [President Obama] did not think to address it, I didn’t think it was such a big deal.”

Recently, a few American citizens have begun joining ISIS, however, no confirmed numbers have been released yet. When asked, Erik Brown expressed his opinion about Americans joining this terrorist group.

“Well, I think they are traitors first of all. Any American that joins ISIS is a terrorist and should be treated as such. There have been people who have said strip U.S. citizenship from them. I do not agree with that because if you strip citizenship from them, you make them stateless individuals and makes them harder to track. I do not say strip their citizenship because in a way that legitimizes their citizenship in this so-called Islamic state.” Brown said.

The United States will now be working together along with friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy terrorist group ISIS.

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