Red v. Blue: ISIS
A new weekly column in which Gettysburg’s College Republicans and College Democrats will engage in debate about issues in the news.
By Harry Fones, President, Gettysburg College Republicans
Editor’s note: This piece was written before The President’s announcement on Tuesday regarding ISIS.
Less than four months ago the term ISIS was reserved for the spy organization found on the show Archer. Now it is the title of a terrorist group that has taken control of a large segment of Iraq and Syria in the hopes of forming a religiously pure caliphate. ISIS is not a new organization. It draws its roots directly from the Al Qaeda cells that were found in Iraq before and during the Iraqi War. Its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has now declared himself Caliph, was actually captured early on during the Iraq war and then released. Repeated failure by the Obama Administration has allowed this threat to escalate and escalate into the powerful monster it now is.
The seeds that created ISIS originated with the US withdrawal from Iraq. Justification for the US involvement in Iraq is a whole other issue, but our abrupt withdrawal was done in a way that invited a group like ISIS to fill the power vacuum. We left Iraq with an unstable government that was already under attack from terrorists groups and had little hope for a good future.
After spending millions of dollars and losing many American lives, we should have done more to assure stability in the region and success for the people of Iraq. Despite our massive investment in the country, the current administration has continued to make mistakes in regards to Iraq. Rather than help the Iraqis and other ethnic groups fight back against ISIS, the administration decided to play politics, which allowed for the attempted genocide of the Yezidis and the loss of major cities in Iraq like Mosul. In a good move, the administration did finally react with limited airstrikes that saved countless civilian lives. However, the early inaction of the administration has only emboldened ISIS. Reports come through every day of men, woman, and children being killed for their religious beliefs. Two American citizens have been publically beheaded. This is unacceptable. Yes those men knew the risk, but when Americans are allowed to be killed and no action is taken against the aggressor an awful precedent is set.
Prominent Republican figures have been offering legitimate solutions to this crisis. One, sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, is to continue airstrikes that will cripple the ISIS machine by targeting their supply lines and leadership. Another is to aid both moderate Syrian rebels and possibly as an extension of this the Kurdish people. The Kurds have had great success in fighting off ISIS and are employing a wide range of alternative tactics like using all women units of soldiers. These units are particularly successful as being killed by a woman can add insult to injury for misogynistic ISIS fighters. A focus must also be placed in state development and not just destruction. We cannot help people fight an evil and then leave them with nothing to build their future. Whatever path we choose, we must remember not to allow politics to divide us. We have faced terrorism before, and united we can beat it.