Balkis Press/Sipa USA/AP Photo
Imagine walking into Disneyland on a sunny May afternoon. While you may be prepared for the half hour line waits, one thing you were not expecting is that the number of people you would see, about 30,000, is the same number of people who have been killed or wounded by the actions of the Al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS.
“The United States has the power to stop this injustice, and they should,” said sophomore Arman Mahdavi.
The United States has taken action against ISIS terrorist forces, most recently when President Obama submitted a formal request on Feb. 12, 2015 to Congress to declare war on ISIS.
The global conflict with ISIS has escalated into what Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared to effectively be “World War III,” according to Reuters website.
If Congress approves Obama’s request, it is possible that America could enter into its first official war since World War II.
The President reminds Congress in his letter, “ISIS poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to U.S. national security.”
Furthermore, “ISIS threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens,” Obama wrote.
Opinions vary as to how Americans want Congress to respond to Obama’s request.
“America shouldn’t respond with a full scale war on ISIS, but going to war officially would set a precedent for future presidents to recognize Congress’s authority in declaring war,” said senior Jason Thompson.
“If the United States does go to war, it will show the American people that yes, the democratic executive administration and the Republican Congress can work together and get something done,” Thompson added.
Some students in support of a war against ISIS expressed greater concern for the welfare of the Iraqi and Syrian people than for retaliation for the deaths of journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
“ISIS is a threat to America, and not only that, but [also] we have the capacity to stop the suffering of the people in Iraq and Syria. America is partially responsible for creating ISIS by its Military involvement over the past 10 years, so it’s America’s responsibility to do something about it,” said Mahdavi.
ISIS, founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, protege of Osama Bin Laden, was originally a faction of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
However, the two groups separated in 2006 over a fundamental difference in ideology; Al-Qaeda was primarily concerned with creating a global jihad against apostate, or infidel institutions, whereas ISIS placed a stronger emphasis on enforcing strict Sharia law and persecuting anyone who does not conform to extremist Islamic sentiments.
The mission of ISIS is to create an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria through violent purges of the population. Its intention is to cleanse its territory of people who are not perfectly inline with Islamic law, such as Christians, Shia Muslims, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriac and Armenian Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks, and Mandeans, including any people who disobey Sharia law, and are considered “apostates” and “infidels,” according to The Warrior Scout website.
Thanks to social media, ISIS has an expansive influence in the world today and has been successful in recruiting members from Europe and America.
It is estimated that ISIS has a total of 20,000 to 35,000 fighters and an arsenal of sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, anti-tank weapons, RPGs, tanks, and Humvees
ISIS’s influence is further inflated by its abundance of funds. According to the Warrior, estimates place the group’s budget today somewhere between $100 million and $200 million, bringing in between $1 million to $4 million per day.
“If America wants to win then they’ll have to fight like they did in WWII, and I don’t think that’s a reality because the people don’t want that type of war and they don’t want to pay for it,” said social studies teacher Harrison.
Harrison continued, “I think the majority of the people in the areas affected by ISIS do not like what the group is doing, and eventually, ISIS is going to go too far and those people are gonna rise up against them. What comes after that is anyone’s guess.”