Opinion: Congressional Approval Sought to Expand Fight against ISIS

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major. Contact him at rpaolet1@kent.edu.

Ray Paoletta is a junior political science major. Contact him at [email protected]

Ray Paoletta

The Islamic State terrorist group ISIS seems to grow more violent every day. Despite United States air strikes on the group, the group has not ended the violence they cause in the Middle East. As a continued response to ISIS, citing the death of three Americans at the hands of ISIS, President Obama has proposed a three-year plan to Congress to use US military force to defeat ISIS.

The plan has already drawn criticism from congress for being too vague, however. The proposed legislation would set a three-year limit on military involvement against ISIS and allow for limited ground operation, while ruling out large-scale ground combat.  Furthermore, the legislation would allow for special operation commandos in fighting the terrorist group. The criticisms of the proposal come from both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives argue that the legislation, which aims to limit the President’s war power, hinders the President’s ability to fight the group. On the other hand, Liberals argue that the proposal leaves the president with unfettered war power. Given the current state of gridlock, one could likely assume that the legislation is probably somewhere in between the two criticisms.

Given that the two criticisms are from opposite sides of the spectrum, there is more than enough room to meet in the middle. The current strategy to defeat ISIS, mostly airstrikes, does not appear to be working. According the polls, 73 percent of Americans do not think the President has a strategy that will defeat ISIS.  Perhaps, and this is all speculative, the President came to Congress to get the input of the 535 more people. Politicians were quick to criticize the president’s proposal, but the great thing about legislation is that the original bill does not have to be the final product. The President did not have to come to Congress to expand the role of the US in the fight against ISIS, but he did. Congress should respond by working with him and working across the aisle.

ISIS is a real threat now and if a new course of action is not taken, they will become a bigger threat tomorrow. The families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Kayla Mueller along with the remaining American prisoner would not want partisan bickering to get in the way of a plan that would defeat ISIS.

In my opinion, a plan to defeat ISIS should include an all of the above approach. Americans should continue to engage in airstrikes and should be open to missions on the ground, without a full out invasion like Iraq. Further, the US should continue to call for help from other countries united against ISIS. However, the US should not rule anything out right off the bat. Once an expanded military presence begins, things may change. As the fight goes on, things may change. If the President and a majority of Congress want to limit the President’s war powers against ISIS that is fine, but they should not place limits that will hinder the United States’ ability to defeat ISIS.