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article imageOp-Ed: Congress must approve force, with ground troops, against ISIS

By Calvin Wolf     Feb 6, 2015 in Politics
President Barack Obama wants Congress to vote to authorize U.S. military force against ISIS, and may ask for it as early as Friday, February 6. Why Congress must approve this request, including the use of boots on the ground.
Last night I was at a meeting with textbook publishers as part of my school district's upcoming new textbook adoption, which is definitely due after 12 years. We teachers of high school social studies got to sit through presentations from three major publishers, primarily focusing on their online and digital resources that accompany their hard-copy books. One publisher showed us the U.S. History unit on World War II, including material about the Holocaust and its aftermath. A key question shown in the online material asked how to prevent another Holocaust.
After the Holocaust, we collectively vowed never to let something like that ever happen again. Yet, time and time again, world leaders have failed to act. They failed to act in Cambodia during Pol Pot's regime. They failed to act in Rwanda. They fail to act against North Korea and its concentration camps. Only minimally are they acting against ISIS, using airstrikes. And what is being done about Boko Haram in Nigeria?
What does it say that the last time the West reacted with force against genocide and "ethnic cleansing" was in the former Yugoslavia, when many of the victims were Caucasian? Why does the West seem to ignore genocides and crimes against humanity in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East?
The nation of Jordan is pulling out all the stops in retaliating against ISIS in response to the barbaric execution of one of its fighter pilots, a young man whose F-16 was shot down during U.S.-led airstrikes against the terrorists. President Barack Obama seems poised to join suit, preparing to ask Congress to approve use of wider military force against ISIS, reports CBS News. The request, which may come as early as today, February 6, may include a request to authorize the use of boots on the ground against the fundamentalist group.
It is a request that Congress must approve. ISIS has been engaging in activities, including the mass execution of religious and ethnic minorities and selling children into slavery, that are analogous to the genocides perpetrated by the Nazis. Equally horrific is that ISIS' brutality appears arbitrary and undirected, meaning any societal group within ISIS territory in Iraq and Syria could become the next victims. The world knows that this is occurring, but has limited its response to wordy condemnations and limited airstrikes.
Are we serious about preventing another Holocaust? Are we serious only when the victims are European? Do world leaders not realize that inaction or weak reaction only emboldens the radicals who compose ISIS?
We like to assume that our opponents are rational and open to dialogue, that they will recognize when they cannot win. We like to assume that diplomatic condemnations and economic sanctions will curb tyrants. Unfortunately, most tyrants are not rational. And of the tyrants who are rational, they do not necessarily care much about the economic well-being of their people. Does Kim Jong Un worry about the malnourishment of his people? Do the leaders of ISIS worry about limited airstrikes?
Congress must approve boots on the ground and show the world that terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide will not be tolerated and will be met with a strong response. Airstrikes are good, but are not final. Terrorists know that they can reduce the incidence of Western airstrikes by locating their facilities and activities in and near civilian areas. They can use civilian, underground, and well-camouflaged facilities. They must be rooted out thoroughly, which can only occur with ground troops.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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