Last night United States President Barack Obama spoke to the U.S. nation and the world in a presidential address. He discussed the U.S. government and its military industrial complex’s strategies for handling foreign policy issues, in particular their strategy towards an attack on the group IS.
Obama declared that the U.S. mission is to “degrade and ultimately destroy IS” in the name of the security of American people.
U.S. officials call IS terrorists who pose a threat to the world. They condemn IS for killing children, enslaving citizens, forcing women into marriage, executing prisoners, and eradicating religious minorities through genocide. A more recent incident enraged Americans when two American journalists were executed; the video was circulated in an act of propaganda.
Obama stated the possibility that other Americans and Europeans have joined IS and could return to their home countries to carry out terrorist attacks.
Obama was clear about one point, which he stated with force.” If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
The U.S. beckons the world to join in its fight against IS.
Obama stated, “It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.”
He rallied international support, citing a “broad coalition of partners” to roll back terrorist attacks. This coalition of supporters was unnamed, yet Obama intimated that the Muslim and African worlds would contribute to this mission.
In a plea to Islamic citizens, he distinguished IS from the religion of Islam and Muslim followers who do not condone violence.
Invoking Ebola, Americans appeal to Africa in the hopes that she will support the United States in its plight if it helps curb the Ebola virus.
With or without broad international support, the U.S. plans to lead a campaign of airstrikes against IS. There will be no boots on the ground, but the U.S. intends to hunt down terrorists who threaten the country “wherever they are.”
Obama called IS a cancer, one that would take time to eradicate.
In his speech, no specific timeline for when the airstrikes would commence, how long they would last, what goal is outline for the airstrikes, or what would happen when this goal is reached.
There is simply no indication of when peace would be restored. An attack that has no end in sight is quite a frightening thought.
There’s also no concern for how to protect Iraqi citizens who are not involved with IS but will be affected by the bombardment of airstrikes. IS controls an area in Iraq that is roughly the size of the state of Maryland in the United States, and is home to 8 million residents, besides the tens of thousands of IS soldiers. Targeting IS may put these civilians’ lives at risk or in jeopardy.
It is a complicated endeavor to defeat terrorists, while ensuring that no harm is thrust upon innocent civilians.
Obama seems up to the challenge. Wearing a navy blue blazer, patterned red tie, and freshly pressed white collared shirt, he stated that, “We welcome our responsibility to lead… America is better positioned today to cease the future than any other country on earth.”
“We stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.”
The saying that actions speak louder than words holds great truth here. The United States boldly supports freedom, justice, and dignity in theory, but the practice of that proclamation is rarely exercised. The virtues its institutions profess are just as quickly broken in broad daylight, not once, not twice, but on several occasions.
Freedom is not realized for thousands in a country that jails more than one quarter of the world’s prisoners.
Justice is not achieved as everyday young black men are murdered on the streets and no offender punished for the heinous crime of robbing a person of their life, depriving a family a right to be loved and to love their own offspring.
And, there can be no dignity for the poor who go hungry in a land where food is plentiful, but food insecurity is higher than it has ever been. Sustenance after all must be a privilege and not a right of life.
As far as IS is concerned, American foreign policy, seems to simplify the conflict between the Sunnis and other ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria. It wasn’t long ago that the Sunnis who are fighting and joining IS in expressed discontent with the way they have been treated for years by other ethnic groups in Iraq and Syria.
In fighting IS, the U.S. is helping those ethnic groups who have previously oppressed Sunnis, who presumably will find no relief, no social justice, when IS is under attack.
Africans, Muslims, and citizens of our global community should caution against bearing arms to uphold American principles that the countrymen themselves do not stand by.