October 24, 2021


In his speech yesterday outlining the reasons for a sustained military involvement in the Middle East, our President Obama delineated what sounded like a plan. Whether we like or not his policies, in a time of war there should be unity of resolve, because our young men and women in harm’s way deserve no better. Let’s be clear. Regardless of semantics when planes are bombing, thousands of armed soldiers are in the area and exposed, even if not directly involved in the conflict, we are at war.

It seems that our country will take steps to engage in an air war against ISIS targets, including Syria, will train Iraqi troops in Saudi Arabia, Kurds, and some of the more democratic elements fighting against Assad and the Islamic State forces in Syria, and will provide them with material that includes heavy weapons, and cut down their financial resources. The President spoke in a forceful and clear manner, vowing to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, even though his ambivalence showed at times. His effort to avoid comparisons to prior wars, to minimize the dangers, to celebrate his prior accomplishments, and specially to evade calling this conflict one against Islamic terrorists, not only ISIS, as part of a lengthy endeavor were more political than what the speech called for. Second guessing will be inevitable, and Obama has only himself to fault. His lack of leadership has provoked a partisan political environment that both parties are reveling in. Also the fact that for him words do not matter behooves us to wait for his actions before making a final judgment.

We can’t forget that he has in the past promised Assad’s regime demise, drew red lines, described ISIS as a J.V. team before denying he said it (4 Pinocchio’s), and called the idea of arming the same people he wants to now as a fantasy! The initial response of the media and so called experts has been mostly favorably with many conservatives wanting stronger actions, and liberals less. Both parties in Congress resented his avoiding calling for their vote, questioning his authority to act on his own. We the people understand that we are facing clear and present danger, and are aware of the risks involved in this plan of action, but support the effort and will pray for the safety of our brave men and women.
Fernando J Milanes MD