Should we be War-ried?

In sports, we are taught that the best offense is a good defense. In politics, however, the best offense is the best offense. As of yesterday, America has engaged in airstrikes to combat the Islamic State in Syria, which is bringing our nation to a whole other level in this conflict. We are no longer bystanders, we are no longer simply saying the Islamic State can’t continue; we are taking action to make sure that it can’t continue. Yet this effort is no meager undertaking. This first airstrike is only the beginning of a campaign that Army Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr. stated would take “years.”

Not sure how I feel about that...

Not sure how I feel about that…

The irony is this: The 2008 Democratic Candidate Barack Obama toted himself as the man who would end wars. He was the man for the job – and with that, we ushered in our new President with hearts that soared with the eagle’s nest. He dismantled what President George Bush so carelessly constructed, and we watched in awe as he kicked political ass throughout his first term. However, enter second term President Obama, a man that has far lower approval ratings and is seen more in the background and far less in the foreground. Until now. The September 2014 President Obama has decided not to take any more shit, so to speak, from the Islamic State. We elected him as the President to end our wars, and as he has drifted throughout his second term, he is now transforming into a President that is leading us into war once more. We are going back to where we came from – we have officially come full circle. And isn’t that the most ironic thing of all?

Ryan Gosling

Or perhaps it’s slightly more ironic that President Obama has enlisted the Cheney pre-emptive war doctrine – you know, the one that has let him send out those airstrike orders without actual approval from Congress. Not that Congress has much ground to stand on here. They have been fairly inactive in the need to eradicate ISIL (or the need to do much else – Congress has only been in session a total of eight days since August 1, 2014, yet on average members earn approximately $174,000 annually, so although they are meeting with lobbyists and constituents and trying to keep the Frank Underwoods of the world in line, they aren’t necessarily performing $174,000 worth of work). But that’s a different story for a different time.

Actions truly do speak louder than words, and our military action is in full effect now. We are potentially at the start of what Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen coined as the Iraq War 2.0. Yet I have to ask: was Obama’s choice to order the airstrikes really a choice at all? Many would say his actions are the most outspoken thing he’s done in a long time. But I do believe that our President could no longer sit idly by while the Islamic State grew. Its presence is no longer contained to purely Iraq and Syria, but is now threatening our Turkish and Jordanian allies. Although in similar vicinities, this war is entirely different than the wars that have defined President Bush’s legacy. His poll numbers are down, ratings of Congress are way down, and Obama had no choice but to do something fairly radical (as ironic as it may seem).

Barack Obama

He was elected as the leader of the United States, but he has not acted as our leader and in the spirit of reforming that inaction, Obama is, in many ways, revitalizing his presidency and no longer denying that America has to become involved in Syria. Members of the GOP have claimed in the past that Obama has “led from behind” (specifically in regards to Libya), but now they can no longer claim such a leadership style for our President. Our President does not necessarily have to leave office being dubbed a war president, but you can’t deny that the 2008 Barack Obama and the 2014 President Obama each have their own version of style and flair.

In the aftermath of the strikes, the military has stated that they were successful in taking out specific targets of ISIL. But not without backlash from the The Kremlin. Although Russia would like to see ISIL eradicated as well, Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the airstrikes, worrying that the United States may be unintentionally bombing the Syrian Army. Others are not so quick to throw caution to the wind either. Both Turkey and Egypt are not hastily following in Obama’s footsteps. But regardless, there is no going back now for the United States. It’s onward, upward, and most likely, inward into Syria.

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