US President Barack Obama addressed the American public in a prime time speech on Wednesday, vowing to “degrade and destroy” the ISIS terrorist organization.
Obama has appeared weak and ineffectual against ISIS, which has beheaded two American citizens in video clips that have circulated widely on the internet. Earlier this month, the president told reporters “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with ISIS in Syria.
In his speech, Obama outlined a strategy of striking ISIS from the air, in coordination with local troops on the ground. This has proven effective in Iraq, where Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers have regained territory from ISIS.
But Obama has yet to order airstrikes in Syria, partly because he believes doing so will help the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, who is also locked in a battle against ISIS terrorists.
Instead, Obama wants to work with “moderate” Syrian rebels who will fight both Assad and ISIS on the ground. He has proposed $500 million in funding to train and arm these “moderate” Syrian rebels.
Of course, these rebels will need to be vetted to ensure they are not extremists, as the US has a habit of funding friends who become future enemies. This is not an easy or quick task, and Obama has yet to convince lawmakers since first making his request in June.
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