Ten Responses to Obama's War Announcement
On September 10th, President Obama announced his decision to embark on a broad campaign to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The plan will include a campaign of airstrikes across the region, providing support for troops fighting ISIS on the ground, increased counter-terrorism efforts in the US, and providing humanitarian assistance to those affected in the region. Following are comments from public officials, scholars, and journalists, among others, on the announcement.
"I will not give this president — or any other president — a blank check to begin another land war in Iraq."
“The president appears to view the effort against ISIL as an isolated counterterrorism campaign, rather than as what it must be: an all-out effort to destroy an enemy that has declared a holy war against America and the principles for which we stand.”
"[ISIS] should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside."
“Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by the 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate — after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq …. It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the US wages war; what matters it that it be at war, always and forever …. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug, as it is what then justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War.”
"I recognize the contradiction in a contradictory land and a contradictory circumstance. We are not going to stabilize Syria under the rule of Assad.”
“A rational observer of United States intervention in the swath of land that runs from Libya to Afghanistan would come to a simple conclusion: US military action leads to chaos. Examples are legion, but the two most dramatic are Iraq and Libya. In both cases, the US bombed the state institutions to smithereens. It takes a hundred years to build state institutions. They can be destroyed in an afternoon. The chaos that followed in both countries was the ideal condition for the flotsam of al-Qaida. In Iraq, al-Qaida in Mesopotamia (2004) morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq, and eventually ISIS. In Libya, during the NATO bombardment, radicals in Benghazi created Ansar al-Sharia, which slowly leaned toward al-Qaida’s ideological worldview. In both cases, it was the US bombardment that facilitated the condition for their emergence …. The urge to do something always assumes that the savior is to be sent off from Washington, D.C. The image of the blue-jacketed cavalry riding out of the fort to the sound of the bugle is paramount. Other people can do many things, but what they lack is the political space to do what they must do, namely defend their homelands.”
"It’s clear to me that we need to train and equip Syrian rebels and other groups in the Middle East that need some help."
“President Obama’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.”
"We’re dealing with very difficult people when we talk about ISIS. Their hate for us is great. And yet, some of our response to them has only increased the hate."