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LeRoy: War on Terror, Part III

From the Left

By Brendan LeRoy

On Wednesday, my mother screamed up the stairs: “Brendan, Brendan! I think the President is going to declare war on ISIS!” I had not slept much for days so I acknowledged her and returned to the nap I had been awoken from.

Three hours later I decided to check up on what she had said. I checked Facebook and I found nothing; I checked Twitter and I found nothing. Eventually I made my way to Google and I found one result from ABC. The article was no more than 250 words, featuring a picture of the President with the Vice President and Secretary of State by his side. The President proposed the latest and greatest installment to the War on Terror, a ‘war powers resolution’ to Congress, the first since 2002, requesting authorization for three years of military action to defeat ISIS.

Four days later, Congress still has not acted. House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican coalition have requested greater flexibility for the military to defeat ‘the enemy.’ Democrats fear the broad nature of the resolution and request wording for a blanket prohibition of ground troops. The President said that “we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.” Perhaps this is true, and perhaps even possible a decade ago, but today it is proposing a fantasy.

This fall, some incoming high school freshmen will have been born after the September 11 attacks. Our geographical barriers on all sides protect us from witnessing the same horrors faced in the Middle East. I have not met any people recently who are gung-ho about the war as we are shielded from it entirely, a vague reality that no longer affects our daily lives. In this respect, we obsess over things such as the ‘militarization’ of the police rather than the actions of our military because it is only natural that we care about terrors against us rather than those which we commit to others.

I fail to see a great difference between ISIS which followed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the Taliban which preceded them. The CIA estimates that the group has a military power between 40,000 and 60,000. ISIS has taken advantage of the weakened governments of Libya and Egypt from the Arab Spring, eastern Syria from the civil war and collapsing al-Assad government and Iraq following American departure.

Is this not what liberals have been saying all along: The War on Terror is a never-ending war which cannot be won. We have now begun our retreat and the Middle East is returning to the equilibrium of radical Islamic governments taking control of vulnerable areas. Regardless, a Marist poll taken between Feb. 11-12 showed that a majority of support comes from Democrats. I cannot say I am surprised, the election of the Democratic president brought upon liberals a blind and obnoxious support of the war, now that it is theoretically being managed by President Obama.

It seems that all parties involved are somewhat apprehensive about entering into another ‘conflict,’ not because they dislike the idea but because they do not wish to alienate the fragile American public. The United States has quite compelling interests in the Middle-East. Following the Paris bombing, world leaders joined together in a march of solitude. Leaders from the United States did not even pretend to boost their public relations as our highest officials were much too busy in Saudi Arabia. I will let your minds wander as to why that may be, I am sure you can figure it out.

We are entering another years-long conflict full force. This is the 14th year of our engagement in the Middle-East, having acted heavily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya. The prospect of the war being extended for years should be alarming yet rather it seems we have become desensitized. Liberals balked at Sen. McCain for saying we would be in the Middle East for a hundred years and here we are, the proposition does not truly feel that far fetched.

I do not fully know how I should feel about this ambiguous war powers resolution. The fact that this president has proposed this resolution, who actively tries to hold his anti-war facade, is somewhat concerning. This being said, we should feel a little lucky. Does it actually matter if our intervention has good or bad intentions? The reality is we are not being directly affected, the world seems to side with the United States, and we live in this country which holds the power. We are secure in the land that controls the world. The gracious and peaceful will never run the world and I am grateful to live in the nation that oppresses the world with benevolence. If we lost the control of the world, who would take the world for themselves?

Brendan LeRoy is a junior majoring in linguistics.

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