Just moments into his address to the nation on Wednesday night, President Obama succinctly defined the nature of the barbaric group that calls itself the Islamic State.
“Now let’s make two things clear,” the president declared, “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”
The United States, the president said, is now even more committed to being among those standing in its way. “Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
It is a strategy whose tactics have yet to be fully revealed.
Hopefully our actions will match the expectations of Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., who said after the president’s speech that the nation needs a strategy “that responds to these threats with force and justice.”
As Palazzo noted, “I believe one lesson learned here is that it’s just as dangerous to rush away from war as it is to rush into it.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., also cautioned that the situation we face is “complex, challenging and fluid.”
Regrettably, there seem to be few foreign policy issues that do not match all or part of that description.
“We live in a volatile and dangerous world,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. “The barbaric actions of Islamic State are abhorrent to us, and our nation must act with resolve to protect both the innocent and our security interests.”
Let us all hope that the use of force will be judicious and that justice will be swift.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.
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