ISIS: The Fight Continues in Iraq

John M.

Staff Writer

At this moment, many people are living in fear due to tragic murders caused by a group of extremists known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The group is a major threat to the security of the US and has already killed two American citizens. The US Department of Defense is still analyzing what to do against ISIS, and President Barack Obama and other foreign dignitaries have called for an end to the terror ISIS has brought to the region. People are concerned that ISIS will commit terrorist acts in America and that America will get caught in another war in Iraq.

To begin, many people do not know much about the group ISIS, its origins and its plans for the future. ISIS originally was a part of al-Qaeda and fought US troops in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2011. After the US left Iraq in 2011, the group started to gain momentum. The Arab Spring, a call for revolution in the Middle East particularly in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, gained the group followers, and they would try to overthrow Syria’s government. After taking some of the northeastern parts of Syria, they turned to attempting to overthrow the US-backed government in Iraq. As of now, they have captured parts of north and western Iraq. ISIS’s goal, according to CNN, is to establish a new state in Iraq and Syria with Islamic law similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan. From that state in the Middle East, they plan to launch terrorist attacks on the US. ISIS has already left a lasting impact on American allies and the US.

Since 2011, the terrorist group ISIS has ravaged parts of the Middle East and has massacred thousands of people. Since the end of the Iraq War in 2011, ISIS and its allies have murdered 12,068 civilians, including two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, who were beheaded in September. Alyssa McCall, a sophomore at Woodstock High School expressed her concern about the terrorist group, saying, “You just cannot go around chopping people’s heads off!” They have also killed many Iraqi Christians because they did not convert to Islam, and many fled to a mountain in northern Iraq for fear of being executed by ISIS. ISIS has also blown up churches and synagogues, places of worship for Jews and Christians, including the tomb where the prophet Jonah was buried. ISIS has been known for posting videos of their executions to internet sites such as YouTube. On September 22, 2014, ISIS released a video calling for the deaths of American civilians and Americans. This talk of American deaths concerns Coach Anita Dodd, a health teacher and volleyball coach at Woodstock High School. She predicts, “They are going to come over here if we do not go over there.” According to Fox News, a breakdown on the border could lead ISIS militants into the US. Mr. Dan Page, who teaches world geography, anthropology, ethnic studies, and AP Human Geography at Woodstock High School, discussed a border breakdown, saying, “The border with Canada is really porous and ISIS could get in easily; it would not surprise me.” Many have said that we need to get ISIS before they attack us, which has led to a possible American intervention in Iraq and Syria, a move that concerns many Americans.

With all the gab about ISIS launching attacks on America, there is also a conversation about American invasion in Iraq. The US has conducted several airstrikes on ISIS targets. On September 10, 2014, President Barrack Obama announced new airstrikes in Syria as well as training for moderate Syrian rebels; he reaffirmed that the US was not getting into a ground operation. The previous US ground assault of Iraq in 2003 took out Saddam Hussein’s regime and tried to install a democratic government. In 2011, after eight long years, the US pulled out of Iraq, for the original cause of the war was over Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), which were never found in Iraq, leading to the question of whether the US should have gone in at all. The painful memory of this war is why many people do not want another ground invasion. Mr. Jeff Wagner, the video production teacher at Woodstock High School and the tennis coach, had this to say about a US war against ISIS: “It would depend on the circumstances; howeISIS Aver as long as it’s a group effort with other countries, then yes.” Many foreign leaders, particularly of western countries, have spoken out saying that ISIS must be stopped. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said, “We have to confront the menace.” With ISIS looming with a possible American attack, people including the Republican Political Party and their supporters are trying to push for a ground invasion of Iraq.

Another point to make is that the Republican Party members are also trying to make a ground invasion seem more appealing. McCall says, “I wouldn’t mind fighting ISIS.” Although most Americans know about the Iraq War and its consequences, Americans have pointed out that ISIS is a real threat, unlike supposed WMDs that were not confirmed. ISIS has confirmed that they want to attack America and are trying to get their militants into America to carry out attacks. America has been using air strikes to take down ISIS targets in Iraq and in Syria. Eli Trepper, a freshman at Woodstock High School, said, “We should completely level anywhere ISIS is.” The US could continue to bomb ISIS; however, ISIS is an underground threat and will find ways to make plans and strike US targets. That is why many Republican congressmen and everyday citizens have called for more action, including a possible invasion of Iraq. This is a major threat to American security, and it is important for people to know about this threat because this could lead to another war against terrorism.

Lastly, ISIS is a significant threat to America and its allies, has killed thousands of people in the Middle East, and could change the political landscape of the world. On September 10, 2014, when President Obama addressed the nation, he said, “We will use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.” Although Americans may not agree on what strategy must be taken on ISIS, we can agree that ISIS is a major threat and must be dealt with immediately. It is important to continue to support our troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever else they are called to serve.

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