Obama's Loose Definition Of 'War' On ISIS May Lead To A Scary Trend

by Reggie Wade

Much can be said about the average American's attention span, but if there was a word to sum it up, “short” would be both a diplomatic and understated choice.

These days, Americans lack of attention span comes at an inconvenient time, with the US still embroiled in a deadly fight against ISIS.

Until now the conflict seemed to be one-sided, with ISSI suffering most of the casualties. That is, until Thanksgiving, when tragically the first US soldier fighting in campaign lost his life. Even so, the break of this news went largely unreported.

Just a month ago, Syria was one of the hottest topics in American news. Remember Omran? The Syrian child Americans couldn't stop tweeting about? As the photo emerged, Syria was suddenly part of the American consciousness. But what happened?

Well, some might say Americans were distracted by our own issues, as awful as that sounds. Around the same time, Donald Trump began to emerge as a serious contender for president elect of the United States.

On November 9, a day which will live in infamy, the orange elephant walked into the room, and like a black hole, sucked in every story and headline.

Hell, the man was just named Time's “Person of the Year,” which may be a dubious honor, depending who you ask. Despite the Trump Tornado, life goes on. But for so many, life is over, or has been put on hold because of war.

Born of the “Arab Spring,” the crisis in Syria has been a long and complex one.


When Syrian citizens protested their government, it started a bloody civil war which goes on today. And like with most Middle East conflicts, the United States reluctantly (sometimes not) joined the fray.

What sometimes becomes murky is in what capacity should the US intervene?

When President Obama first spoke of US intervention in Syria, airstrikes were the preferred method of engagement. Today the US has troops actively on the ground in this crisis.

One must imagine if Hillary Clinton had won the election.

Her Syrian policy would most likely be story number one. (Besides which designer she was going to wear to the inauguration, I mean come on, this is still America. My guess was Calvin Klein, BTW.)

But with Trump, the Syrian conflict he will inherit has gone by the wayside.

Mostly because of the controversy that surrounds every proposed cabinet and advisor pick the future president makes. When you're appointing accused white supremacists to top level government positions, war kind of takes a back seat.

And if you look at the Syrian conflict, as it's been referred to on the American side, the question becomes (at least for the US), what exactly is this? Is this a war? Or a conflict? Or a struggle?

President Obama has not called what's happening in Syria a war.

That's a tough question considering that President Obama himself has not called what has gone on in Syria a war, which sets a dangerous and unfortunately common precedent.

The president of the United States can unilaterally attack any country he or she sees fit without congressional approval. If it's a war the president wants to declare, then the Commander-in-Chief must ask for congressional approval.

If a full-on war is not declared, the president has some broad assumed and implied powers when it comes to military engagements, which in this era, includes a comprehensive and controversial drone program.


According to previous reporting by Elite Daily, "Drones are often used to target and kill individuals suspected of involvement in the planning and execution of terrorist attacks, but many of these strikes have occurred in countries with which the US is not currently at war: Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen."

Additionally, drones often kill people on a loosely based "guess." This is not just a guess of specific location, but also an estimation if the person in question is even guilty or not. This means hundreds of innocent lives are being lost at the hands of Americans who never even have to walk on other countries' soil.

The same program that has been seen as dangerous in the hands of the current Noble Prize winning president, imagine what havoc drones can wreak in the hands of Donald Trump, a man who was quoted as saying he would “bomb the sh*t” out of terror groups, as well as the proposed killing of terrorists' innocent families.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

On a positive note, the US has been fighting to push ISIS back into the territories from which it came, but what will happen to the Syrian conflict in the hands of President Trump is yet to be seen.

Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Northern Iraq are cities that are crucial to the ISIS survival in the region.

If the US, which is trying to take these regions back succeed. ISIS days in those areas could be numbered. No matter what ends up happening, the American people need to turn their attention to this global crisis before we are forced to.